— -- The average American spends about $1,000 a year on their cell phone bill, but some industry insiders estimate about $50 billion is wasted annually on parts of the plan they don't even need or use. So how do you know if you are getting the most bang for your buck?
Todd Dunphy used to work for Verizon but now runs Validas, a company that helps businesses cut down on wireless waste – and his practices can be applied to consumers.
Dunphy worked with the Wilson family on "Good Morning America" to figure out how they could cut down their costs, which run high with dad Ron often traveling internationally, mom Keri selling kitchen tools from home and 14-year-old Halle phoning a friend or two on her prepaid line. The Wilsons' bill racks up to $195 a month, and is only set to go higher with 13-year-old Landry joining soon.
Dunphy's first tip? Know your limits. Apps like My Data Manager track your data usage and set off an alarm when you're close to your monthly max so you don't incur additional charges.
"Streaming is definitely the most dangerous thing you can do over the carrier network," Dunphy warned on "Good Morning America."
Next, let free websites like WhistleOut.com do the work for you. Tell them what you need and they'll tell you if your plan is the right fit or if there's a better one out there. Dunphy is soon launching a new app called Wireless Butler that will analyze your cell phone bills and do free side-by-side comparisons to other companies or new rates within your current carrier.
Dunphy and his team analyzed the Wilsons' bill, and found that while Ron often uses his Internet data by streaming sports games online, Keri pays to get online, too, but never does.
"That will save them around $240 every two years," Dunphy said of cutting out Keri's portion.
Before you sign up for a plan, watch out for mystery charges. The Wilsons had an "iPhone 6 impact check smoke" item that was just fancy language for an iPhone case.
"You don't pay $3 a month for something that most likely over two years is going to cost you $72," he said.
Finally, keep up with your carrier's latest promotions -- even if you're already a customer -- because you may be able to cash in.
"That [promotion] is also available to you, but they never come out and say, 'Hey, 40 million subscribers, this is better for you,'" Dunphy revealed.
Using these methods, Dunphy found the Wilsons a new offer with a big return -- $720 over two years in savings, to be exact.
Get Dunphy's help with your cell phone bill by emailing his team at firstname.lastname@example.org.