7 Ways to Save Money on Your Wireless Plan

1. Bring Your Own Phone (BYOP) and Avoid the Phone Upgrade

    Let's face it there is basically no cheaper way to save money on your phone plan in Canada than to bring your own phone. Thanks to changes in the Canadian wireless code of conduct, consumers now have the right unlock their phone from their mobile carrier. This means you can take your phone with you whenever you change carriers. Alternatively, if you don't currently have a phone, you can purchase a pre-owned one for a lower cost.

    Often when you get on a contract plan, you're paying significantly more month-to-month for the new phone you bought. For example, according to one article [1] a "Gold Plan" with Virgin Mobile can cost $85 per month. Compare this to a BYOP plan of $70.00 a month for the same data and minutes. If you don't need a new phone that’s hundreds of dollars you're saving each year.

    Let's say you do need a new phone. That same phone plan can save you money on a new phone in the short-term. With that deal you could get $500 off of a new phone in the first two years and you've only paid $360 for a $500 discount up front. Except, there's a catch: if you bought your current phone on a contract over 2 years ago the odds are you are still in the plan that is charging you as if you haven't paid your phone off yet. That could be an extra $360.00 every year. That kind of money could better spent elsewhere including:

    • 7 date nights with your sweetie
    • 90 California rolls
    • Or 100 cups of quality coffee.

    The bottom line is: the simplest way to save money on your wireless plan is to bring your own phone.

    If you are currently in need a of a new device, check out our collection of certified pre-owned devices at emobilehub.com. Let us help you save money on your plan and your device purchase.

    2. Don’t Be Afraid to Switch

    Now that it’s so easy to switch cell phones, it's good to consider some of the many promotions, discounts, and opportunities carriers are offering to new customers. Some of these deals for switching include [2]:

    • discounted monthly plans
    • buy-one-get-one-free cell phone offers
    • family plan discounts
    • major discounts on monthly handset installments

    The main thing to be cautious about is if you're still paying off your cell phone on a contract. In this case you want to weigh the costs against the benefits to see if an early termination make sense for you or if you should wait until your contract has ended.

    3. Pay for What You Need

    You could be paying $100 or more on a fully unlimited cell phone plan right now, but are you sure you are using everything you're paying for? A lot of people succumb to the allure of unlimited data but with the ever-growing availability of free/accessible Wi-Fi in cafes, work, or at home you may be buying more than you need [2]. This goes the same for unlimited minutes - if you're paying for more than you need you might be losing money.

    One option is to log in to your cell phone account and check your latest bill to see how much data you’re really using, and how many minutes you use on a monthly basis. For example, you might only be using 5 gigabytes of data on unlimited data plan or maybe you're only using 200 minutes of talking outside of evenings and weekends. If you're paying for more than you need it's worth doing an audit and seeing if you can reduce your bill. Fortunately, with a lot of carriers make it very easy to adjust your plan to what you need.

    4. Avoid Phone Insurance

    Phone insurance is probably the worst investment you'll ever make. In order to understand why, it's probably best to think about the reason for insurance in the first place. Typically, people take out insurance to offset risk for expenses they wouldn't be able to handle by themselves. Some examples include, life insurance, house insurance, and car insurance. If we think about car insurance as an example, the reason we have to buy it is because very few of us could cover the possibly multi-million-dollar expense of a major accident. This goes the same for unexpected loss-of-life and income covered by life insurance, or major damage to a house with house insurance.

    To be more specific, let's consider what you're getting when you insure a phone. iPhones have better price retention and a lower depreciation rate than any other phone on the market. The iPhone 10 for example lost $62.00 in value after its release from January to September 2018 and then it lost another $138 between October and December 2018, following the release of the Apple keynote. At a market value of $1000 [3] that is a 20% depreciation rate in one year!

    Now let's imagine you get cell phone insurance on this iPhone 10 using the above example. After 2 years Your iPhone 10 has lost 40% of its value and is now worth $600. During that same period assuming your cell phone insurance cost you $10 a month [4] you have now paid $240. That is 24% of your initial purchase or 40% of the current value of your phone. So, assuming there are no damages to your phone in the first two years, which for most people is more likely than not, you've just paid almost half the price of your phone for peace of mind. ‘But’, you might say ‘what if I damaged my phone and I don't have insurance’. In many cases the cost of repair wouldn't be much more than you would have to pay in insurance. Alternatively, if the cost of repair is too high, you could always default to purchasing a used phone or using an older device you're still hanging on to.  

    5. Add Multiple Lines

    This may seem counter intuitive since you're adding costs to your bill by adding one or more lines. However, bundling the cost of your bill with other people can reduce the amount each person pays. Here's how it can work:

    Verizon's 8GB plan, for instance, is $90.00 monthly. But if you have 4 lines sharing the same plan this price drops to $37.50 per line before taxes fees and device charges [5].

    For an American example, you might consider AT&T’s Unlimited and More plan which is $70.00 per month (after autopay discounts and before taxes and fees) but if you have four lines on the same plan, the cost per line is only $40.

    So what does this look like for you? There are two common options you can bundle with your family, or bundle with your spouse and kids. If your parents have a wireless plan with the same carrier, or carrier you would consider joining you can ask him to add you to their line. Alternatively, if you're married and or have kids you can save money by putting your whole family on the same plan.

    6. Buy New, but Not Too New, or Wait for a Deal!

    If you have decided to buy a new phone it's good to plan strategically and wait for a good deal. In general, some good tips to buy a new cell phone include [6]:

    • buying a slightly older device at least 6 months to a year old and one week to one month before the announcement of a new release from Apple, Samsung, LG, or Google.
    • If you're looking to buy a brand new device, look to place an order during the pre-order period for new releases. Pre-orders are generally possible 2-4 weeks after the device release announcement.
    • Keep in mind that there are typically sales during new device launches. Savings of up to 50% could be taken advantage of at this time. These launches are typically announced in September and February to March for Apple and Samsung respectively. 

    7. Switch to Pay as You Go

    If you don't use your cellphone a lot on a regular basis you can slash your monthly bill by switching to a prepaid carrier. Here are some examples [5,7]:

    1. Freedom Mobile offers 1.5GB Talk + Text Plan for their best Smartphone plan which is $24/month
    2. Koodo offers $15 Base Plan with Boosters for their best Talk and Text plan for only $15/month
    3. SpeakOut from 7-Eleven offers a $100 365-Day Voucher for an Emergency Phone Line at an unbeatable $100/year

     

    References:

    [1] https://www.whistleout.ca/CellPhones/Guides/Best-BYO-Plans

    [2] https://www.whistleout.com/CellPhones/Guides/5-Ways-to-Save-On-Your-Cell-Phone-Bill

    [3] https://www.bankmycell.com/blog/phone-depreciation/

    [4] https://www.wirelesswave.ca/en/mobile-protection-plan/

    [5] https://www.nerdwallet.com/blog/finance/lower-cell-phone-bill/

    [6] https://www.whistleout.com/CellPhones/Guides/Best-Time-to-Buy-a-Phone

    [7] https://www.whistleout.ca/CellPhones/Guides/Best-prepaid-cell-phone-plans