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3 Ways to Reduce Your Phone Bill Dramatically

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Jeff Cuellar

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Phone plans are the worst. You’re either paying too damn much for a plan that has enough minutes and data for two people to use or you’re paying too much because your “cheap” plan doesn’t offer enough data or voice minutes – and you’ll know this because you always pay extra for going over your limit.

I swear – the sadist who devises these phone plans is incredibly talented at making sure you never get the chance to have the perfect ratio of voice minutes to data for your plan.

But there are ways to you can reduce your phone bill despite the crappy plans offered by Singapore’s telcos.

Here are 3 useful ways to dramatically reduce your annoyingly expensive phone bill:

 

#1 Avoid the “Free” Phone If You Have the Cash to Avoid It

OK, so you picked up one of the most expensive phone plans out there because you wanted to get that trendy new phone that everyone’s drooling over. And best of all – you got that phone for FREE.

Well… not exactly. See, the phone isn’t really free. It cost you an expensive 2-year plan at $100+ a month that has more minutes, SMSs and data than you can possibly use.

Seriously, your usage is probably only enough to justify a phone plan half that amount – but you’re still stuck paying for an expensive phone plan.

To illustrate how much that “free” phone costs you, let’s look at the plan offered by a certain telco whose name rhymes with StinkTel.

If you want an HTC One (M8) for free, here’s how much it totals to with a 2-year $105 plan:

HTC One (M8) *Free* + $105.00 a month X 24 months = $2,520

If you pay $449 for a discounted HTC One (M8) if you choose the 2-year $45 plan:

HTC One (M8) at $449 *Discounted* + $45 a month X 24 months = $1,529

As you can see, it’s better to pay the discounted rate for that “trendy” phone than to get it for “free” with that damn expensive phone plan!

 

#2 Use the Power of Wi-Fi and STAY OFF 3G/4G!

For most of you with “cheap” phone plans, the biggest problem is going over your limit on data, minutes or worse – both at the same time.

It’s a huge hassle to experience because unless you’re checking your bills religiously every month, you’re going to carry a balance that might grow to the point that your phone company ends up calling you to pay up.

“But I’ve already paid my bill,” is what you’ll tell the phone company – but when you check your bill, you’ll see all the extra fees that were tacked onto your bill for going over your limit(s).

So what’s the simplest way to ensure you go over your limits? Use Wi-Fi every chance you get – whether at home or at your favourite cafe/coffee shop.

Seriously, just turn off your 3G/4G and log into a Wi-Fi network so that you’re not using your data. Plus, you can also use a Wi-Fi network to make calls too!

Just download apps such as Viber, Skype and Line so you can make calls for FREE with a Wi-Fi connection.

Again, just make sure your data is turned off first!

 

#3 Use Prepaid Instead

Going prepaid isn’t the most glamorous phone option out there I know. “I’m not a tourist,” is what some people might say. Listen, you don’t need to be a tourist or a foreign worker to use a prepaid SIM card for your voice, data and SMS needs.

Besides, think to yourself why tourists and foreign workers use prepaid to begin with – it’s damn cheap and convenient! Seriously, you only use what you need, when you need it, and without having to sign any damn contracts!

You only need to spend $8 to $50 for a prepaid SIM to get started.

From then on, all you’d need to do is buy top ups ranging from $15 to $50+ whenever your value starts running low.

Now, there’s some debate as to whether prepaid is really cheaper. Well, that depends on you.

If you’re someone who really doesn’t use your phone very often for calls, data or SMS’s, it’s a very cost-effective way to avoid long-term contracts where the cheapest plan is between $30 and $40. After all, a $15 top-up will beat that contract any day!

However, if you’re a heavy data and voice user – just stick with a phone plan and use the hell out of tip #2! That’s because the per-minute/per-10KB cost probably won’t be cost-effective for heavy users.

 

Final Note:  These aren’t the only ways to save cash on your phone bill. But one of the most neglected ways to save money is actually through your employer. That’s because some companies offer corporate discounts on your monthly phone bill to employees as a benefit. So ask your employer just to make sure.

 

What are some other great ways to cut down on your phone bill? Share them with us on Facebook! For even more useful information on everything personal finance, visit MoneySmart today!

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Jeff Cuellar

I'm known by many titles: copywriter, published author, literary connoisseur, ex- U.S. Army intelligence analyst, and Champion of Capua.

  • Jess

    Switching to a no-contract phone plan is great way to save
    on a cell phone bill. GIV Mobile’s affordable “Unlimited Everything” plans
    start as low as $40/month for talk, text and data and utilize the 4G network of
    T-Mobile, allowing for fast, reliable connections from nearly anywhere in the
    U.S.. Plus, GIV Mobile is the first wireless service that is dedicated to
    donating 8% of every customer’s monthly bill to up three non-profits of his or
    her choice. GIV Mobile customers can choose to donate to charities such as
    United Way Worldwide, American Red Cross, American Cancer Society and many
    more.

  • Ashley Joseph

    Just putting this out there because I think it’s ridiculous how much people pay for mobile plans:

    How to pay no more than $19.90/month for your mobile bill and get unlimited SMS,calls +6GB data*

    1. Cheap dual-sim Android phone.

    2. A StarHub MaxMobile Lite SIM card and plan ($19.90/month for 6GB of data, minimum contract 3 months). There might be a charge to activate the SIM card. Mine was $10. I’ve had minor reception issues so far concerning 3G data at certain MRT stations.

    3. A SingTel hi! SIM card. They start at $8.

    As you’re probably aware, in Singapore even if you don’t talk or SMS much, you’ve to top up your prepaid SIM card every month to prevent it from expiring. Fortunately, when you log into your SingTel hi! account, you have the option of extending the expiry date by paying a small fee. Currently, you can extend the card expiry by 60 days ($0.99) or for 90 days ($1.40).

    4. WhatsApp on your Android phone. Whatsapp now lets you make calls.

    5. Contacts who have WhatsApp.

    And that’s it. So you should end up paying, $19.90 a month for your mobile bill and occasionally extending the expiry of your hi! card or topping up an additional $10.

    A few things to note :

    1. The SingTel hi! SIM card and Top-up cards come with negligible amounts of data which expire quickly and the expiry date cannot be extended.

    2. Incoming calls are only free on SingTel hi! SIM card and Top-up cards for a limited amount of time. This means that you shouldn’t be yakking away on incoming calls. I use my SingTel hi! card for people who don’t use WhatsApp.

    3. You can receive SMSes on the MaxMobile Lite plan even though StarHub states on its website that the MaxMobile Lite plan is data only. I would strongly advise against replying to SMSes though. Don’t want any surprise charges.