As a generation that is constantly struggling to get by economically, finding the cheapest cell phone plans is not just important – it’s a necessity. And yet strangely, many from amongst its ranks still do not have a handle on how they can maximize the value they are getting out of their cell phone contracts.
But it doesn’t need to be this way. There are a few easy things that millennials can do to get under the hood of carriers’ plans to ensure they are maximizing the services they receive from their cell phone deals – without paying a single penny more than necessary to get them.
Know Your Needs & Then Evaluate Your Options
Most cell phone plans have three major aspects to them: voice minutes, text messages, and data. Depending on what you are looking to get out of your phone, there are many different configurations of them available. It’s a good idea to do an audit of your current usage (you can use your most recent three billing statements as a guide) and then evaluate your options.
As an example, US Cellular offers contract plans that have unlimited voice calls and text messages, plus the following data options: 2GB for $50/mo, 6GB/mo for $60, or unlimited for $70/mo. That means if your audit shows your data use is below six or two GB per month, you can save between $240 and $480 over the lifetime of a two year plan.
Your Credit Score Can Impact You Cell Phone Plan
A cell phone plan is a long-term contract, and so carriers will perform a credit check before you can sign up for one. If you are a millennial struggling with the burden of student debt, this can come as a rude surprise.
If you find yourself struggling to get approved for a contract, prepaid options might be the best cell phone plans for you. These are month to month arrangements that still provide a lot of value for consumers. For example, T-Mobile has a large variety of prepaid plans – some of which still come with unlimited voice, text, and data.
Know the Ins And Outs of Your Contract
Carriers do a lot of things to make you feel like leaving them is simply not worth the trouble. The classic example is the idea of the early termination fee (ETF), designed to dissuade you from taking a better arrangement elsewhere. To be sure you are making the best economic decision for yourself, it’s important to be aware of the potential penalties you might incur.
However, it should also be said that although these might seem intimidating, there are still usually ways to extricate yourself from them. If you do incur an ETF while making a switch, many carriers will pay them for you – the value of your business is much higher to them than the fee.
Millennial Cell Phone Contracts: The Bottom Line
At the end of the day, millennials should find themselves in a great position vis-a-vis cell phone carriers. Unlike older generations that aren’t always sure of how they use technology, millennials have no problem knowing exactly what they want out of their mobile device.
Ultimately, it should only take them a little bit of effort to look at the cell phone plan deals available and choose the one that is right for them.