Debt Solutions for Costly Cell Phones
These days it seems nearly impossible to live without a cell phone. For many of us, having a cell phone is a necessity. But while you may not be able to survive without a cell phone, you can live without those expensive phone bills. Here are some key proactive debt solutions you can use to keep your monthly cell phone costs at a manageable level.
Find the Best Cell Phone Plan
Canada has some of the highest cell phone costs in the world, with many people struggling to keep their bills affordable. It’s not uncommon for monthly phone bills to range upwards of $100 per month because of data usage and the cost of the phone itself. While you can’t set the price of phone plans, you do have the power to negotiate with your service provider and reduce your overall monthly costs.
There’s a common assumption that customers are locked into contracts with their service providers. This isn’t true. If you are currently in a plan that you find hard to manage each month, don’t be afraid to contact your service provider about switching plans. Cell phone providers don’t want to lose their customers to the competition. Providers will often allow you to adjust your plan or provide discounts to your existing account.
If you are in the market for a new phone, make sure you do your homework before signing on to a new plan. There are many cell phone plan options out there, so don’t feel limited because you are currently with one provider. You may find another provider offers a better plan that works for you.
As you shop around, be mindful of the additional costs of the plan that are not advertised. While a provider may be promoting a low monthly rate, this may not reflect the full cost associated with purchasing a new smartphone on a contract. And while many providers will spread the cost of the phone over a term such as 24 months, this does drive up the overall monthly cost. There are usually other costs as well that may include a protection plan and account setup fees.
You should also consider whether you need a new phone or just want a new phone. While the newest version of a phone can be fun to play with, the novelty wears off quickly. Many people jump to purchase the latest version, which isn’t always a smart financial choice. Much like a new car, new smartphones are expensive, and their value depreciates quickly. You may also have to pay off the remaining balance on your current phone, making the new smartphone purchase even more expensive.
If your contract is up but your phone is still in good condition, ask your provider about their “BYOP” plans: Bring Your Own Phone. Since you are no longer paying for the cost of the phone itself, you can reduce your bills considerably.
Monitor Your Usage
Another tip is to ask yourself how much data you currently use and whether your plan makes sense. Are you paying additional fees because you go over your data each month? Streaming music on your way to work can easily use data quickly. Another culprit is the background data that apps drain when you’re not using them. Check the settings of your phone to see which apps are running in the background and turn off any that you don’t frequently use.
Another possible debt solution when considering your monthly cell phone costs, is to contact your service provider and request to be blocked from going over your monthly data allowance. If you want to manage this yourself, most smartphones now have a feature that will alert you when you are reaching your data limit. And some providers can send you a text when you are nearing your limit.
Know Your Rights
The Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission, more commonly known as the CRTC, created the Wireless Code to help consumers better understand their rights in regards to their cell phone plans.
This Code provides consumers with flexibility in their contracts with cell phone providers. For example, after two years, you have the right to cancel your contract without having to pay cancellation fees, even if you have agreed to a longer term. Or, if you are unhappy with your cell phone purchase, you can return your phone within 15 days, or 30 days if you are a person with a disability.
Making an informed purchase, watching your phone usage, and knowing your consumer rights, can move forward with a cell phone plan that works better for your budget.
Do you find yourself in over your head with what should be a manageable monthly expense? We would love to talk to you about debt solution options that can help you start fresh with your finances.
Speak with our Licensed Insolvency Trustees today about how you can have a brighter financial future.