How to Save on Smartphone Data Plans

/ BY / Personal Finance

If you're like more than half of all Americans, you own a smartphone. Smartphones let you use your phone to do much more than just make a call or send a text—with a smartphone, you can check emails, surf the web, get directions, and much more.

But convenience like this doesn't come free. Smartphones require an additional data plan on top of your monthly fee for use of talk and texting; these data plans typically average about $40-50 a month or more.

Luckily, you can still own a smartphone without breaking the bank. These tips will help you save on your smartphone data plans

Shop around.

There are many smartphone data providers, and they’re all competing for customers. As a result, some offer significantly better deals than others. Don’t make any spontaneous decisions, and research all carriers and what they offer carefully before selecting a plan.

Don’t assume “unlimited” is best.

Many cell phone providers are dropping their unlimited data plans and instead selling plans based on each GB of data used. Some carriers still have “unlimited” plans, but these are becoming more and more rare. However, if you’re tempted by an unlimited plan, make sure you know how much data you actually use. Most people use less than 1 GB per month, so there’s no need to spend more for unlimited data you won’t use anyway.

Don’t go over.

This may sound obvious, but you can save money on your smartphone data plan simply by staying within the limits of your plan. Most smartphone providers will send you free text messages warning you if you are close to your data limit. If you find yourself consistently going over or running out of data before the end of your billing cycle, you may want to upgrade your plan. This is much cheaper than overage charges, which can add up quickly.

Connect to wi-fi spots when possible.

Providers only charge you for data you use while on their network. You can keep your monthly data use down by connecting to a wi-fi or wireless access point while at your home, work, or any other place that has a wireless network. This will help you save money by allowing you to purchase a plan with less data each month.

Consider a family plan.

You can often score major savings by buying in bulk, and smartphone plans are no exception. If you have more than one member of your household who uses a smartphone, you can save a great deal by getting a family plan. These plans offer a certain amount of data for one monthly price, and it’s cheaper than purchasing separate data plans.

Ask about discounts.

There are plenty of discounts for smartphones available. Many employers (especially larger companies) offer monthly discounts of up to 15% if you get your plan from a certain provider. Most providers also offer military, senior citizen, and automatic payment withdrawal discounts to name a few, so be sure to ask before you sign the contract.

Negotiate your plan.

Believe it or not, you can negotiate for a better deal on smartphone data plans. The best times to negotiate added perks or savings into your plan are at the end of your contract or while comparison shopping for a new provider. Most companies are willing to throw in a few incentives or offer some sort of discount to get or keep your business. Depending on how savvy you are at negotiating, you may be able to get activation fees waived, or they may match discounts from other providers.

Shop around for the best deals on cell phones. Online cell phone shops like offers free smartphones and other free cell phones that are not available on carriers' official web sites. These money-saving tips will help you enjoy the perks of a smartphone without eating up too much of your monthly budget.

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Please note your financial situation is unique and our tips & advice presented here may not be appropriate for your situation. recommends that you seek different advice & opinions from your own accountant or financial adviser who understands your individual circumstances before making any important decisions or implementing any financial strategy.