budgets / Life

How can you manage a cheap iPhone bill? Here’s how.

Pumpkins, apples and the Apple iPhone 5 – which one of these are not like the other?  Many buyers reached out to get their hands for the iPhone 5 which made it’s debut before the peak of the Autumn harvest. If you were one of them, regardless of for you or for someone else, this can bring a variety of emotions from excitement with the veteran iPhone user to a whirlwind of stress to the iPhone convert or new iPhone user.

Stress not. Receiving your first bill (or second or third bill if you’re a new user as the first bill is usually higher because of the activation fee) can be just as easy to manage as Apple’s user-friendly interface. The key is to practice self-control and be thrifty.  It doesn’t sound easy at first especially with all of the bells and whistles, but is anything easy at first?

That’s one reason why I held back from getting my first iPhone. However, when I found my thoughts remain fixated on one for several minutes and watching YouTube videos on “How can you live without one?”, I still don’t know how to answer that question now that I have one. It’s essential for someone that like myself that likes organization and I like how my bill remains under $80/month.

Here’s what I’ve found works for me:

  • Check data usage like a hawk: Data usage can be located under the Settings App. Click Usage and cellular usage. As I have Verizon, you can also access this under My Verizon which gives you the latest updated information on how many minutes you have left, how many messages you used and how much data you used.  This information is convenient to have because it can help you determine how much money you should be spending a month vs. where you can actually be saving money.
  • Subtract how much money you shouldn’t be spending: If you find the bar on your minutes and/or texting plan is consistently low each month, you can consider these alternatives. If you’re not a heavy texter, cut out texting and that’s $10 saved right there. If you wants to save $ on texts, consider telling your text-hungry friends about free texting apps like Pinger. You’ll still receive texts but they’ll be free.
  • If you don’t talk on the phone as often, check out Google Voice which lets you answer calls and texts for free. Some restrictions do apply.
  • Buying a monthly data package is required can be expensive – but most of the time, most users don’t need the largest amount of data and a lot of users will even be surprised by how much data they collect just by checking their data usage.  If you’re on a budget and practice self-control, you should be able to get by fine with between 2GB-4GB.
  • Use wi-fi to save money on data (otherwise data charges can run up easily) – but you still need to buy a data plan.
  • Decline Roadside Assistance and the wireless plan’s maps app which is a few more dollars saved each month. You can use Google Maps for free and if you break down on the road, most to all auto insurance providers should have you covered.

When it boils down to adjusting your costs for your new iPhone, monitoring your minutes, texts and data usage is crucial and most helpful when it comes down to budgeting your new phone. If this still won’t fit for you and your budget, stay tuned next week when I talk about my experience and the advantages of using a prepaid phone.

What other tips do you have to share for cutting iPhone (or smartphone) costs?  I know I basically shared a lot of information which is helpful for individual smartphone users but how many readers out there are budgeting smartphone costs on a family plan? How do you make it work?

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