Consumer Reports: How to save on your cell phone bill

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Consumer Reports shares how you can save on your cell phone bill. (WLS)

If you're paying more than $50 a month per phone line, it may be time to find a better deal. Consumer Reports shares tips on how to save on your cell phone bill.

Monica Mautner's family has four smartphones, and she does whatever she can to reduce her bill, which runs around $250 a month.

"I think it is ridiculous. I just find it an astronomical amount of money for a cell phone," Mautner said.

She took a good first step recently by ditching her two-year contract. All the big phone carriers now offer no-contract plans, and Consumer Reports' Mike Gikas says that's the way to go.

"With no contract plans, the access fee for each phone is lower and you have the freedom to change carriers whenever you want," Gikas said.

Be sure to check other providers' plans to see if you can save. A Consumer Reports' survey found almost half of those who switched phone service providers in the past year saved $20 a month or more.

"Pay particular attention to your data because that is hands-down the most expensive part of any bill," Gikas said.

If you stream a lot of videos, consider T-Mobile, which allows you to stream from Netflix, HBO, Hulu and more without using up data.

"If you do change carriers, you may have to buy a new phone. And most likely at full price. Fortunately, no-interest leasing and financing options are available to ease the pain," said Gikas.

Leasing is generally the cheapest option for people who like to have the newest phone. But if you plan on buying the phone, most carriers will let you pay for it in monthly interest-free installments. Once you've paid it off, you'll enjoy a lower bill.

If you use only a moderate amount of data - about one gigabyte a month - and use Wi-Fi whenever possible, a smaller carrier might be your best bet. Check out Consumer Cellular or Ting. They earned top marks for value in the Consumer Reports ratings.

All Consumer Reports Material Copyright 2015. Consumers Union of U.S. Inc. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. Consumer Reports is a not for profit organization which accepts no advertising. It has no commercial relationship with any advertiser or sponsor on this site. For more information visit
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