BUSINESS | MONEY

How to cut your phone bill in half

Michelle Baltazar

In Australia, some people are paying as much as $240 on their monthly phone bill. That's the cost of a cheap return flight to Manila. Here are some handy tips to slash your phone bill and have some funds saved up for that holiday in Siargao.

A recent survey of 2,085 Australians shows that one in 10 suffered from a mobile phone bill shock in the last year – with some being charged as high as $240 for the month.

Aussies are definitely living life online: the main reason for bill blowouts is due to excess data charges. For Baby Boomers (aged 59+), the shock comes in when the bill is at $148 per month while for Gen Y, the bill usually spikes to $240 before the panic sets in.

The average monthly phone bill is around $44.

“The fact that bills double our base plan aren’t ringing alarms bells means we just expect to pay add-on fees, and that’s a worry," said Alex Kidman, tech expert at finder.com.au.

 “The reality is, with the right plan and a good understanding of charges, bill shock can be avoided, or at least occur less frequently.” 

Women have a lower bill shock threshold than men; a bill of $200 would make them uncomfortable compared to $231 for men.

“Ignorance is not always bliss. Phone usage deserves your attention,” said Kidman.

How to slash your phone bill 

  • Get an app that monitors your data usage so you can check what apps are chewing up the most data. You can find a few options on iTunes or Google Play such as My Data Manager, Data Man and Data Monitor. Samsung has a built-in feature under 'Data Usage'.
  • Shut down applications when they’re not in use. You don’t want them to be doing updates or refreshing in the background, this hidden cost catches people out all the time.
  • Review your plan and make sure you’re actually on the plan that suits your needs best. Some plans offer as much as 15GB for the same fee as a plan that only offers 9GB. Make sure you take advantage of the most competitive offer in the market.
  • Change your Facebook settings to remove the ‘auto-play’ function from your feed. That way only videos you’re really interested in viewing will play. 
  • If all else fails, go on a digital detox. Do you really need to be online 24/7? Nominate two days in the week where you are completely offline. Keep your phone handy for emergency purposes only.

 

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