How We Saved $100 Per Month in Just 15 Minutes

Some of the links in this post are from our sponsors. Read our disclosure to see how we make money.

We've saved $100 per month, in just 15 minutes, by switching cell phone providers. If you want to save money on your cell phone bill, see how we did it!

At the heart of frugal living is finding value in the services or products you’re using. That doesn’t necessarily mean, in my opinion that you’re always going to pick the cheapest option; rather, being frugal means choosing value over price.

Well, my friends, I’ve been guilty of years of overpaying in one significant area of our lives – our cell phone bill. About a year ago I told myself ‘No more!’ and knew that once our contracts were up with Verizon I’d be running as fast as my legs could take me. The result of my quest for value is that we’re now saving $100 per month!

We’re Paying Too Much for Cell Phone Plans


When we had our plan with Verizon, we were paying right at $170 per month. In fact, in 2014 we gave them $2,035.12 of our hard earned money – coming out to $169.59 per month. I don’t know about you, but that’s a chunk of money I can easily use in many other, more value-laden ways.

The thing is, we weren’t the only ones paying that much – or more, for our cell phone bills. Take a look at some of the following numbers:

  • CBS reports the average Verizon bill is $148 per month with other major players just behind them.
  • ABC News reports the average American spends at least $1,000 per year on their cell phone bill.
  • Business Insider reports that the average cell phone bill is up more than 50 percent since 2007.

If you’re “average” when it comes to your cell phone service, you’re probably overpaying. What makes it worse is the same ABC News report points out that we’re wasting at least $50 billion per year on cell services we don’t use.

That wasteful spending was something I didn’t want to be guilty of any longer. Since we work from home, our data needs are very modest and even when we are out, we’re on Wi-Fi most of the time.

Our Solution


There are numerous cheap cell phone plans to choose from. When we got our first cell phones, that wasn’t the case. We could choose from Verizon, AT&T and TracFone. There are many more options today.

Originally, we were going to go with Republic Wireless, as we know many who use and like them. What’s not to like about the opportunity to have a $15 per month cell phone bill?

We also looked at Straight Talk as they start out at $30 per month but were a bit limited for us with regards to talk minutes on that plan. As Mrs. Frugal Rules wanted to keep her iPhone we looked for a carrier that would accommodate that desire.

After some research, we finally landed on Cricket Wireless. Cricket allowed us to bring over our own phones. Mrs. Frugal Rules bought a new iPhone (as the one she had on Verizon could only work with them), and I simply brought over the phone I was already using.

The cost for our new monthly service is $35/month after a $5 monthly discount for auto pay, resulting in $70 total per month and thus saving us $100 per month! We each get 2.5 GB of data and unlimited everything else for that cost.

The best part? If the C-note savings each month isn’t enough, there are no taxes on top of that $35. Nebraska is one of the worst states when it comes to taxes on cell phone bills, coming out at over 20 percent. However, our bill will stay at $35 per month for good, or until Cricket decides to raise prices.

*Related: Do you spend too much on haircuts? Read our guide on the best places to get cheap haircuts near me to find the best options to save money.*

We had concerns with the coverage since we’ve always been on Verizon but we haven’t been disappointed as Cricket operates on the AT&T network; even with all of our traveling, we haven’t encountered any dead zones. Cricket allows you to bring over unlocked cell phones so after a $10 SIM card charge, we were good to go.

The switch took maybe 15 minutes of our time. Not too shabby in my book. We now have the “problem” of deciding where to put that extra $100 each month. It’ll likely either go towards additional retirement savings or our new home purchase. We’ll be deciding at year-end once we see where we stand on the retirement front.

We've saved $100 per month, in just 15 minutes, by switching cell phone providers. If you want to save money on your cell phone bill, see how we did it!

Savings Can Be Had With A Little Work


It’s easy to stick with what you know. It’s convenient. It’s comfortable. My counter to comfort is to consider how much time it’s worth to you to save $100 or more each month for little to no change in the service you’re receiving? For me, the few hours of research and 15 minutes in the store I spent was well worth it.

Making your money work better for you and paying less for something without a drop in service level is a win-win in my book.

Plus, this experience has launched a new mission for me – after seeing what we can save on our cell phone bill, our cable bill isn’t far behind.


How much do you pay for cell phone service each month? What could you do with an extra $100 per month? What’s one cost you’ve wanted to cut but have avoided reducing?


The following two tabs change content below.

John is the founder of Frugal Rules, a dad, husband and veteran of the financial services industry whose writing has been featured in Forbes, CNBC, Yahoo Finance and more.

Passionate about helping people learn from his mistakes, John shares financial tools and tips to help you enjoy the freedom that comes from living frugally. One of his favorite tools is Personal Capital , which he used to plan for retirement and keep track of his finances in less than 15 minutes each month.

Another one of John's passions is helping people save $80 per month by axing their expensive cable subscriptions and replacing them with more affordable ones, like Hulu with Live TV.

Latest posts by John Schmoll (see all)


  • Mark@BareBudgetGuy says:

    Well done! I will be very surprised over the next year or two if people are still paying $100+ for their plans.

    • John Schmoll says:

      Thanks Mark. I’d be surprised as well, though people like what they know so it wouldn’t surprise me to see many still paying it.

  • Kim says:

    Interesting that Cricket uses AT&T. Republic and Straight Talk don’t work where we live because Sprint is non-existent. I will have to check and see if that one is available. We get partial reimbursement back for our cell service from Jim’s job but it would be nice to save more.

    • John Schmoll says:

      Sprint is pretty much crap in our area as well. I thought the same thing about Cricket and AT&T. The latter had tried going the route of starting their own no-contract option, but it didn’t work as planned so they just bought out Cricket and put them on their network.

  • Natalie @ Financegirl says:

    I’m sort of a brand-snob when it comes to my technology. I only buy Apple and I haven’t left Verizon – ever. I’ve had the same phone company since I was 16! That said, I get a major discounted bill since I’ve been there fore so many years. It used to be that my employer paid for my bill, but after the job change I had recently, I pay about $65 for internet, phone, and text. It’s worth it to me (and I don’t have cable or anything, so this is my biggest expense).

    • John Schmoll says:

      My wife is very much the same way. That being said, you can have the iPhone and still have very similar service for a bit less. ๐Ÿ™‚ But, without cable I can see your thinking. One thing to keep in mind – Verizon recently announced they’re beginning to offer no-contract options so that could potentially save you more money once your contract is up.

  • Holly@ClubThrifty says:

    We have used Republic Wireless and Ting. I like both! We currently have Ting and each of our bills fluctuates between $28 – $35. I can live with that!

    • John Schmoll says:

      I really wanted to go with Ting as I hear they have really good customer service but Sprint isn’t very good in our area so it knocked them out.

  • Michelle says:

    Wow great job! So many people overspend when it comes to their cell phones each month. This is an area we are reevaluating as we want something cheaper but we also need service all over since we are in an RV.

    • John Schmoll says:

      Completely agreed Michelle. I can see how that’d be a challenge if you’re going to be in a lot of remote areas.

  • Melissa says:

    We haven’t made the switch yet, just because Sprint doesn’t have great coverage where we travel, but I recently called Verizon and got my bill lowered by $20 AND added additional data (that we really do use). So that’s not bad! ๐Ÿ™‚

    • John Schmoll says:

      Nice work. Like I said above, you may want to check out some of their no contract options they’ll be coming out with. I’m not certain on what they’ll be like for data but is worth checking out.

  • Scott Alan Turner says:

    Nice! I would love to move from AT&T but we are grandfathered into their unlimited data plan. Even though our two phone family plan is $160/month we use a ton of data. I’d love to try Cricket but I think we would end up wiping out the savings with the $5/gig extra data use.

    • John Schmoll says:

      We were in that same spot with Verizon and stupidly upgraded and getting rid of that grandfathered status a few years ago. That being said, I can understand staying with AT&T if you’re a heavy data user – hopefully more options will come out in the near future for heavy data users that are lower in cost.

  • Deb says:

    Love this idea. We want to do the same when our contract w ATT is up. Question- where did you buy your unlocked iPhone from? They are so expensive it practically wipes out the savings on the monthly cell phone plan.

    • John Schmoll says:

      You should Deb – it’s a great way to save some money each month. ๐Ÿ™‚ Great question – we bought it from a store we found on Ebay. We were hesitant to buy it from there, but the store had over 15-20k reviews and had a really good rating. The phone was $350ish – $400. After 4 months we’ll be in the clear since we’re saving $100 on the switch. That being said, I know Amazon can be a good option as well. Cricket sells phones as well, but they keep them if you leave.

  • DC @ Young Adult Money says:

    When I hear of $170 cell phone bills I cringe. I’m assuming that was WITHOUT the cost of the phones included? My newest thing to gripe about is the cost of phones. It’s crazy how expensive they’ve become, and the “free phone with contract” deals are starting to go to the wayside since companies like Cricket and Republic are putting pressure on companies to have no-contract plans. The only bad news is “free” cell phones are going to the wayside.

    • John Schmoll says:

      Believe you me DC, I cringe typing that number out lol. The phones were “subsidized” so we didn’t pay the $600+ at the get go, but they still got us with the high monthly prices.

  • Andrew@LivingRichCheaply says:

    I didn’t really have much of an incentive to switch since I was “only” paying $55 with AT&T under a family plan, but after finding out that Cricket has the same coverage as AT&T, there’s no reason not to switch. Since I don’t need to upgrade my phone every 2 years, I don’t care much about the subsidy…plus it seems like the big carriers are doing away with that anyway.

    • John Schmoll says:

      Yep, same exact coverage map – they’re directly on the AT&T network. I think you’re right about the subsidies going anyway, it’s inevitable in my opinion.

  • Shannon @ The Heavy Purse says:

    Sweet! An extra $100 a month isn’t too shabby. Cell phone bills have never been a huge issue for me because they were either paid by our employers or were a business expense. We do pay for Lauren’s phone, which I’m okay with because that means Mom can monitor her texts. ๐Ÿ™‚

  • Chonce says:

    I’ve tried Cricket Wireless and Straight Talk. Currently I’m with Republic Wireless paying around $12 per month for my phone bill and I love it. I’ve never been picky about phones (even though I do like to keep somewhat up-to-date)and I’ve never had an iPhone so as long as it’s a smart phone I can deal with it. The extra savings is great and I use mine to put toward debt payoff and use for other things that are important to me.

  • Kayla @ The Jenny Pincher says:

    I’m in the middle of BFE over here, so even though I’d love to lower my cell phone bill (currently $103/month for 1 phone), I’m concerned about the lack of reception here.

    • John Schmoll says:

      Completely understandable Kayla. The one time we’ve had spotty service was while driving in western Nebraska so it’d likely be the same for you. ๐Ÿ™

  • Brian @ Luke1428 says:

    $100/mo…wow…that’s some big savings on a cell phone bill. Nice job! We are at @$120/mo with ATT and that only looks to be more with my daughter needing a phone soon. It is so easy to get locked into deals and not want to shop them around. It takes so much energy.

    • John Schmoll says:

      Thanks, I was pretty happy to see that savings. I shudder to think of what it’d be with others on the plan but hopefully there will be better options when our kids are older.

  • Dillon says:

    I was just looking into Cricket! Definitely going to make the jump. Just deciding on which phone, since my phone no longer will connect to wifi, hence needs replaced.

    I believe the $5 prepay discount is only if you have 1 line. If you have multiple lines it goes to their ‘Group Save Discount.” So $10 off the 2nd phone, $20 off the 3rd, $30 off the 4th, and finally $40 off the 5th.

    So if you do the basic plan it would be:
    $40 for 1 phone
    $70 for 2 phones
    $90 for 3 phones
    $100 for 4 phones
    $100 for 5 phones!
    Each lines gets its own data, so the more phones you have the lower the cost per line.

    • John Schmoll says:

      Thanks for stopping by Dillon! Good point on the extra lines. I forgot to point out that we each have our own accounts to get the discount.

      That being said, be careful in buying the phone directly from Cricket. We had numerous reps tell us the phones they sell only work with their network so you may want to look at an unlocked phone if you think you might leave Cricket in the future, or want to have the flexibility to do so at least.

  • Tonya@Budget and the Beach says:

    That actually sounds pretty good since I already have and love the iPhone, and it’s an AT&T phone. But I have a contract with AT&T so I wonder what the consequences are for breaking it. That being said, as least its only $70 and not over $100. And and I get 2gigs of data.

  • Jocelyn says:

    Great article, I just saved $50 per month by switching from Unlimited Data to 5gb as I have wifi at work that I use, and wifi at home.

    thanks for this!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *