Written by Spotloan

Staying connected is a necessity, there’s no arguing that. But, many of us wonder if there are any budget-friendly cell phone alternatives that make staying connected more affordable? How do we stay connected with our families, friends, and colleagues without spending a fortune? Thankfully, there are plenty of budget-friendly cell phone alternatives that will help ease the burden. From usage-based coverage to income-based cell phone plans, staying connected can be more affordable than you might think. 

4 Tips to Identify Budget-Friendly Cell Phone Alternatives

1. Compare Prices From At Least Three Different Cell Phone Providers

If you are searching online for: what is the best cheap cell phone plan, a good place to start is by comparing prices from at least three different cell phone providers to save money on your cable package, slash your cell phone bill, or identify budget-friendly insurance options. Doing a bit of research to compare prices can also help you find any income-based cell phone plans that are available in your area. Different providers offer state-based income incentives. 

For example, T-Mobile’s lifeline program offers discounted services to low-income families in nine states and Puerto Rico. AT&T and Verizon wireless also offer their own lifeline programs. But what if you’re wondering: how do low-income families get free phones? If that’s the case, the best place to start is the Assurance Wireless website where you can confirm that you meet the eligibility requirements and search by zip code to see if you’re eligible for their income-based benefits.

2. Don’t Fall for the Cell Phone Plan Upsell

Most American adults pay a premium for an unlimited plan when they’d get by just fine with a much smaller plan. Over half of Americans with unlimited cell phone plans consume less than 10 gigabytes (GB) monthly. Recognizing your needs and sticking to them can help you save hundreds of dollars every year on your phone plan alone. Don’t let your provider convince you that you need an unlimited plan if you know that you max out at 2GB every month, and you have rollover data when you’re done. 

If you work from home, you’re likely connected to the Wi-Fi all day most days anyway, and you’ll never make a dent in that unlimited data plan. If you don’t work from home, but you connect to the office Wi-Fi every day and your Wi-Fi at home, the same still applies. And if you’re not sure how much data you use, you can quickly and easily check your month-to-date data usage in your phone’s settings and match up your phone plan accordingly. Evaluate your needs regularly, so you’re only paying for what’s really necessary.

3. Ask About Cell Phone Plan Discounts

Different providers offer different discounts and incentives to bring on new customers throughout the year. There are the obvious ones, like loyalty discounts, but then there are plenty of others that you may not have thought of, too. Accounts with things like long-term contracts, paperless billing, pre-pay, family plans, and multiple phone lines often come with significant discounts. And most providers offer teacher, military, and student discounts, as well. Each cell phone provider is different. Ask around to find the discounts that benefit you the most.

4. Consider an Up-and-Coming Cell Phone Provider

It comes as no surprise that the major cell phone carriers, like Verizon, AT&T, T-Mobile, and Sprint, have the highest prices. They’ve built their reputations over the years, grown, expanded, and regularly raised their prices as they attracted more and more customers. Don’t fall for the hype. Many newer providers that aren’t quite as recognizable yet, like Yahoo Mobile, Mint Mobile, and Metro by T-Mobile, operate on the same reliable networks as the big guys. 

They offer the same level of coverage in most areas, but the difference is that they charge a fraction of the price. Millions of American adults have been reevaluating their spending habits and asking: what is the best cheap cell phone plan? The key to finding it is thinking outside the box. You may get lucky and find an incredible deal with one of the most common cell phone providers. But you’re more likely to get lucky by giving a developing company a chance, asking fearlessly about discounts, comparing prices, and choosing a plan based on your needs.