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How to find the best cell phone plan

Posted at 5:46 PM, Feb 13, 2017
and last updated 2017-02-14 16:02:48-05

If you want an unlimited data plan for your cell phone you now have another option. Verizon, the biggest wireless carrier in the United States is joining all the other major companies to offer that plan. But with everyone promising the best deal, how do you know what's right for you?

Kimberly Wachel is over her spotty cell phone service.

"It's like one bar," Wachel says. "If I wanted to go somewhere it takes a couple of minutes to pull up. If I keep walking I might manage to find five. I hope."

That's why she's on the hunt for a new carrier, and a new plan. But picking one hasn't been an easy task.

"It's kind of been difficult because everybody has the unlimited same price," Wachel says.

With all the ads from cell phone companies it's easy to see why she's overwhelmed. So how do you determine which plan is best for you? We asked Nerdwallet for help.

"It's getting harder and harder to make that call," says Kelsey Sheehy a consumer expert with Nerdwallet.

Sheehy says it's not impossible though, and the best place to start is with your own cell phone bill.

"Look at your last couple of bills see how much data you are using," Sheehy advises. "If you are on a family plan add up all of your lines how much data do you use together and then look at the plans that are out there."

From there Sheehy says look at the type of plans available, knowing unlimited might not be for everyone. Then compare prices for the plans, and look through the fine print that could affect price. Find out if it is a promotional rate, for new customers, or based on a phone trade in.

"A lot of carriers now are baking in auto-payment discounts and other things like that to the advertised pricing," Sheehy says. "And if you don't want to sign up to automatically pay your bill each month you could be paying an extra 5 dollars a month per line."

Nerdwallet has this free tool on it's website to help you find the best plan for you based on what you need. A tool that could help wachel's service go from spotty, to spot on.

Nerdwallet says because many carriers no longer have contracts you also have to figure in the price of a phone, which can often add anywhere from 20 to 30 dollars to your monthly bill.