Techniques to save money on your monthly phone bill

I’d like to tell you about some recent developments that will enable me to save a lot of money on my monthly phone bill and I’d also like to ask you to post any techniques you may know to help people save money on their phone bills.

I live in Canada and all the prices I will quote in this post are in Canadian dollars. FYI, the Canadian dollar is currently worth 0.72 US dollars. So to convert prices from Canadian dollars to US dollars, multiply by 0.72.

Approx 7 months ago, I bought a Samsung Galaxy S4 and signed a contract with a Canadian provider for 24 months. I pay $48 monthly (plus tax) and for that I get the following:
. unlimited text messaging
. unlimited voice calls (weekends and weekdays from 5pm to 7am)
. 500 minutes of voice calls monthly (weekdays from 7am to 5pm)
. 500 MB of data

For anyone who does not know, the 500 MB of data means that I can transfer a maximum of 500 MB between my phone and the internet. That is usually used for things like Email and browsing the Web when I am away from home.
When I’m at home, I have unlimited access to the Net using WiFi. But that requires that I have an account with an Internet Service Provider and a wireless router. I have never used my phone for email or to browse the web. I do that on my desktop PC in my home.

Recently, a number of new companies have been formed that offer a new slant on phone services. I won’t post any of their names for fear that some people may complain that I’m giving them free advertising. But I will now post a brief “blurb” from one of them that states the idea behind these new companies. Here it is:

“We get it. All you really want to do is talk, text and maybe have some data. And you want to do it for less. That’s what our unlimited plans are all about. Our plans start with unlimited local talk and get better from there. There are local, national, international and data options available with our plans. Pick the one that’s right for you.”

So, these companies offer extremely low rates for people who just want to use their phones to talk and text and also maybe use a small amount of data. Since I almost never use the Internet when I’m away from home, I have learned the hard way that I don’t need any “data”. I say I learned the “hard way” because I have been paying extra for this data for 7 months now and never once used it.

The first technique I would offer is when you initially buy a smart phone and subscribe to a monthly plan, it is much, much better to sign up for less than you need because it is much easier to upgrade later on than it is to downgrade. In fact, upgrading your plan to include more data or more monthly minutes seems to be free and easy. But downgrading is expensive. In my case, they offered me a “special introductory plan” when I first joined and then, when I discovered that I didn’t need any data and tried to downgrade, they wanted me to pay a “downgrade fee” and would only downgrade me to the regular plans which meant I would pay more for zero data than I am now paying for 500 MB monthly. That really angered me. I felt it was akin to cheating the customer but I’ve subsequently learned that although it may feel that way, it is technically legal and above board for them to operate that way. But I sure don’t have to like it and I’m so happy that I now have a way to kiss them off and say goodbye to them.

Now, I’d like to tell you about the prices offered by these new companies. I am looking at two plans. The first costs $20 monthly and includes the following:
. unlimited local voice calls (which is certainly much better than my current company which only allows unlimited calls on weekends and from 5pm to 7am on weekdays.
. unlimited incoming text msgs
. 25 cents per outgoing text msg
. 25 cents per minute for voice mail retrievals

The other plan costs $25 monthly and includes the following:
. unlimited voice calls in my city and state (In Canada, we actually have things called “provinces” which are like states in the USA)
. unlimited incoming text msgs
. 100 free outgoing text msgs (each text msg above 100 costs 25 cents per msg)
. unlimited voice mail retrievals

The $20 plan does not include any data. So you can’t use your phone to access the net at all.
The $25 plan enables you to pay an extra $10 monthly for 500 MB of data. Usage costs 5 cents per MB above 500 MB.
The $25 plan also enables you to pay an extra $15 monthly for 1 GB of data. Usage costs 5 cents per MB above 1 GB.

I need to clarify that my current rate of $48 per month includes the original purchase of the phone. But I can cancel that contract by paying them $300 (which is the amount I still owe them for the phone) and then they offer a plan for people who bring in their own phones. But the rates are substantially higher than this new company that offers the $20 plan and $25 plan.

So, my technique for saving money is for people who don’t need to access the Internet away from home (presumes they have access to WiFi when they are at home or can access the Net using a desktop or laptop PC).

It includes paying off any existing contract by paying the current provider any money still owing on the phone. Then switch to one of these new companies if all you need is voice and text and maybe a tiny bit of Internet access.

The thing that really appeals to me is that I will be paying about half as much as I currently pay. But I will get unlimited voice calls and voice mail retrievals (although I will have to pay for each voice mail). My current company wants $5 monthly for voice mails. Unfortunately, I forget exactly how much money they want for that and how much each minute costs for voice mail.

I will be very happy to kiss off my current phone service and switch to one of these new companies.