How to Save Money on Your Phone Plan

Andrea Lewis - Saturday, June 17, 2023

Every dollar you save is a dollar you can apply to better, more sustainable choices. Ok, I admit it, I was lazy. And that laziness cost me about $2000 in the last three years because I continued to pay full price with Verizon for years after I knew there were several less expensive choices out there. Finally one day recently, I decided this was going to change.

The choices I saw mentioned most often were Mint Mobile, Tello, Consumer Cellular and Visible by Verizon. They all have reduced price plans that can fit the needs of the majority of users. The chart below gives you a quick look of the range of plan cost each company, for a single person, in early May of 2023:

CompanyCost per MonthCarrier
Mint$15-$30T-Mobile
Tello$10-$29T-Mobile
Visible$25-$35Verizon
Consumer Cellular$20-$35T-Mobile and AT&T

My impression is that phone plans change often, depending on market forces. A few plans require prepayment or contracts, while most don't. Before you start shopping, look closely at your recent bills to see how much data you actually use, since that is basically what you are paying for, along with speed. Most people don't use more than 5 GB per month, so stop paying for more data and features than you need!

It will take some time to read the details and figure out what you want. Some plans include international calling, while others don't. Some might even throttle you down to 2G after you have used up a certain data allotment. If you decide to change carriers, you may want to talk to neighbors to see if they get decent reception from that carrier in their house.

Once you decide on a plan, pick a day when you don't have too much going on because it will take a bit of time and focus to change over. Get the directions and study them a bit. Once you start seeing the savings every month, you'll wonder why you ever waited to make the change.

person with phone

eSim/Sim card

First see if the service offers eSim and if your phone accepts eSim. If you can't use eSim, you'll have to order a Sim card from the new carrier before you start the process to change over.

Even if using eSim, you will need to remove your existing Sim card, assuming you still have one. Since I was using my existing phone, I did not have the special device to do this. I checked YouTube to see how it is removed and they suggested using a paper clip to release it but all that did for me is bend and cause frustration. Then another person suggested an earring post and that worked perfectly.

person with phone

Refurbished Phones Save Money and Reduce Waste

It's up to all of us to deal with phones responsibly. We should keep them for several years as long as they fulfill our basic needs. At the end of life we should be sure to dispose of them responsibly so that they don't end up in landfills.

According to the EPA, one million mobile phones contain a total of 75 pounds of gold, 772 pounds of silver, 35,274 tons of copper, and 33 pounds of palladium. Palladium is a precious metal that is most commonly used in electronics to make electrical contacts. It is a material used in the manufacture of watches, surgical instruments, and more.

More than five billion of the estimated 16 billion mobile phones possessed worldwide will likely be discarded or stashed away in 2022, experts said Thursday, calling for more recycling of the often hazardous materials they contain.

If you need to replace your existing phone, you can save lots of money by buying a refurbished one. We just purchased a perfectly good refurbished Apple SE for less than $250. This is obviously a much more sustainable option than buying new, and doing this also allowed us to update to something newer. The cost savings, increased sustainability and the upgrade was a triple win that felt really good.

At the same time you get the new phone, you may be able to get credit for your old phone. Check with your new carrier and they will provide information about that. Be sure to back up and erase your phone before you give it up to anyone. You can find instructions online for your type of phone. Even if your phone is not worth anything to your carrier, check online to see where it can be donated or recycled.

You really can save money and reduce waste at the same time with no pain.

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