It’s Officially Time – Save Money with a New Cell Phone Plan

Sick of expensive cell phone bills? Find out how to save money by with my favorite cell phone hack of switching cell phone carriers! You could save hundreds of dollars this year with this money saving tip. It only takes a little bit of time and your budget will thank you. I share how to switch cell phone carriers and what cell phone carrier to switch to.It’s official. It’s time to save money by switching to a new cell phone carrier.

If you’re still with one of the four major cell phone providers (Verizon, AT&T, Sprint or T-Mobile), you can save money by dumping your carrier.

Due to recent changes the big four carriers have made, you can no longer get a new phone for free by signing a two year contract.

Since you now pretty much have to pay full price for a new phone, you might as well switch to a cheaper cell phone carrier that provides the same service.

Here’s Why You Should Switch Cell Phone Carriers

Originally, the big four carriers would give you a free phone up front if you signed a two year contract.

All of the off-brand competitors, called MVNOs (Mobile Virtual Network Operators) that used the same network made you pay for your phone up front.

This discouraged those that couldn’t scrape together a couple hundred bucks for a new phone from saving money on their monthly phone bill.

Now that you can no longer get a free phone on a two year contract, your options are wide open for which phone carrier to pick.

You’ll have to pay full price for your phone either up front or lock yourself into a nasty phone lease and pay for the phone over a long period of time, which makes no financial sense.

Luckily, these off-brand competitors use the same exact networks as the major carriers but charge a lower price. In some cases, the off-brand competitors offer some unique services that are pretty cool.

So why wouldn’t you switch to an off-brand carrier that uses the same network and save money at the same time? If you’ve come up with a reason, I’d like to know, because I honestly can’t think of one.

My Favorite Discount Cell Phone Carrier

Personally, my favorite discount cell phone carrier is Republic Wireless. For just $10 per month, plus taxes and fees, you can get unlimited minutes and texting over the Sprint network and any WiFi network you can access.

Republic Wireless is able to offer rock bottom prices by sending phone calls and texts over WiFi networks rather than cell networks, saving both the company and you a ton of money.

You can add data to your monthly plan for just $15 per GB. What’s even more awesome is you’ll be refunded for any unused data each month on your next cell phone bill, saving you even more money.

You can only use Republic Wireless’s phones on their network, which currently include the Moto E, Moto G and Moto X. Both my wife and I have the Moto G (3rd Gen) 16GB model and it covers our needs easily.

These phones aren’t an iPhone 6S, but you’ll save a ton of money both on the phone and monthly bill by abandoning the iPhone.

While I’m not a huge fan of the Sprint Network, the ability to make calls over WiFi greatly expands the places I can use my Republic Wireless phone. Check out Republic Wireless’s website here to learn more, or check out my review here.

Both my wife and I both currently use Republic Wireless for our cell phones.

Other Options For A New Cell Phone Carrier

If you want to stick with the network you’re used to, there are a ton of other off-brand cell phone carriers you can choose. Check out the exhaustive list on Wikipedia. Here are a few highlights you may want to consider.

Verizon based carriers:

  • FamilyTalk Wireless
  • Net10 Wireless
  • Straight Talk

AT&T based carriers:

  • Cricket Wireless
  • FamilyTalk Wireless
  • Net10 Wireless
  • Straight Talk

Sprint based carriers:

  • Republic Wireless (My review)
  • Ting (My review)
  • Boost Mobile
  • FamilyTalk Wireless
  • Net10 Wireless
  • Straight Talk
  • Virgin Mobile USA
  • Project Fi

T-Mobile based carriers:

  • Ting (My review)
  • Project Fi
  • Metro PCS
  • Net10 Wireless
  • Straight Talk

How Switching Works

Your new phone carrier will be more than happy to help you switch over to your new provider. In many cases you will be able to take your current phone number with you, but be sure to double check if this is important to you.

You may be able to bring your old phone to your new network if you want to save some money up front, depending on your current phone and the provider you choose.

Contact the company you’re interested in switching to in order to find out all of the details. If you’re lucky, the new carrier may even pay some of your switching fees.

Still Stuck In Your Old Contract? Paying the ETF May Make Sense

If you’re still under contract for your old device you have a couple of options. First, you can stay with your current carrier until the contract is up and then switch carriers to save money.

However, if you’d be saving a significant amount of money each month, it may make sense to pay an early termination fee if you’ll save more than the fee over the remaining life of the contract.

For instance, let’s say you have 20 months left on your contract and your early termination fee (ETF) is $300. You would need to save $15  or more per month by switching to a new company in order for switching to be a smart financial move.

Take Action and Save Money Every Month

The best part about switching your cell phone carrier to save money is the fact that you’ll save that money over and over again each month you get your bill.

How awesome would it be to save an additional $50 or more per month in your new house down payment fund or toward your retirement? If you’re struggling to break the paycheck to paycheck cycle, $50 a month could help you start saving enough money to escape.

Definitely check out the other cell phone carrier options you have available. If you’ll save a decent amount of money, it may be time to make the switch to a new company.

Who is your current phone carrier? If you’re still with the big four cell phone companies, would you consider switching to an off-brand or an MVNO to save money? Do you have any concerns that would prevent you from switching? Let me know your thoughts in the comments below!

Photo by: MattsMacintosh Text added by: Lance Cothern

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About Lance Cothern

Lance Cothern, a Certified Public Accountant (CPA) licensed in the Commonwealth of Virginia, is the founder of Money Manifesto. You can read more about him here or connect with him on Facebook, Twitter, Google+ or Pinterest.

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