Lowering our wireless bill was hands down the easiest part of my quest to trim our bills. Our contract runs out in September, so I’d been toying with the idea of unlocking our phones and taking them to a budget carrier. I priced out the various options, and then it occurred to me to check back with Verizon and see what their plans looked like today, as opposed to almost two years ago when we signed up with them.I know a lot of people hate Verizon, but then, a lot of people hate AT&T, and a lot of people hate Sprint, and so on. We’ve been pretty happy with Verizon, though, primarily because we live in a tiny town surrounded by mountains, so there’s a lot of the local area that gets pretty terrible cell coverage. You’re more likely to get a Verizon signal up in the mountains around here than you are to get an AT&T signal. If you have Sprint, you’re phone’s pretty much useless as soon as you leave town.

So I wanted to stay on the Verizon network, I just wanted to pay less for our cell phones, which were currently costing us $130 a month for talk, text and a shared 3GB of data. 3 GB is actually quite a bit more than we need, unless we’re on vacation. Our house has wifi, the colleges we work at have wifi, and we’ve only had smartphones for two or three years, so we never got in the habit of overdoing it with data on the go.

It took me about three minutes on the Verizon website to discover that their Verizon Plan would let us share 3GB of data for $45, plus $20 for each of our phone lines. That’s way less than $130 a month, and when the fall rolled around and we were through with summer travel, we could step the data back to 1GB, saving another $15 a month. Not only could I change our plan online, but I could retroactively apply the new plan to the previous month, resulting in a refund. The whole thing took about 20 minutes.

But it gets better. Last week, Verizon announced that they’re raising prices on their Verizon Plan. Most people seem nonplussed about this change, though current customers are grandfathered in to the previous rates. Me? I’m thrilled about the change, because the new prices come with a change in data tiers. The lowest data tier used to be 1 GB for $30 a month (plus $20 per line). We usually use less than 1 GB a month, but we often cut it pretty close, and downgrading to that tier would save us $15 a month, but would also require keeping a closer eye on data usage, something I don’t particularly want to spend time doing.

Now, the lowest data tier is 2GB for $35 a month (plus $20 per line). 2 GB is plenty for us, and if we go over when we travel, we can buy an extra gig for $15. Plus, the unused data rolls over from month to month (though only for one month–you don’t get to pile up data indefinitely). When we come back from our August trip, I’ll bump us down to the cheapest tier and cut our monthly bill by $10 more.

I’m endlessly amused by Verizon’s description of the S plan size:

Sure, we’re mostly on wifi, but there are two of us, and 2GB will be more than enough. What exactly do people do on their phones to require so much data?

Anyway, the moral is that I really should have done this ages ago. $40 per person ($45 right now) isn’t quite cut-rate for wireless service, but it’s not bad, and living in the middle of nowhere as we do, our budget options are a little limited.

Since we don’t have access to the really cheap options, I’ll have to live vicariously. Anyone have a good story about drastically slashing their wireless bill?

Bill-busting tally

Bill New monthly total Savings
High speed internet $38 $42
Wireless service $92 $37
Wireless service after August $82 $47