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Nine Ways to Save on Cell Phone Bills
These days it seems that everyone from 'tweens to grandparents has a cell phone. Many people even have two cell phones, as they use one for work and one for personal use. Still, consumers should not confuse the accessibility of cell phones with the affordability of these useful gadgets. Instead, consumers should take care to choose the cell phone plan that is best suited to their budget and lifestyle so that they can speak comfortably without overpaying. Here are some quick and easy ways to reevaluate your cell phone usage and determine if you can save on your cell phone bill with a new plan:
- Evaluate your cell phone usage. One of the best ways to save on cell phone bills is to make sure that your monthly package is the one that is best suited for your lifestyle. College students without a landline phone, for example, may do best with an unlimited plan. People who seldom use their phone may be better off with a prepaid cell phone through which you can pay only for minutes used, without being required to purchase a package. Consumers who use their phones mostly at night should consider a more affordable package with less daily minutes but free nights and weekends, or a package in which the 'free nights' start earlier in the evening. These days, many cell phone companies allow users to switch plans without extending their contract- it is worthwhile to inquire whether your service provider will let you switch to a more cost-effective plan.
- Keep track of your minutes. While it's easy to get lost in conversation on your cell phone, it's also easy to keep track of your minutes and make sure that you're not going over your monthly allotment. Most cell phone companies enable customers to check their minutes for free. Computer savvy consumers can also check their minutes at various websites or by downloading one of several Firefox extensions designed expressly for this purpose.
- Skip the insurance. Sure, everyone has an accident once in a while, but how many times have you actually broken your phone irreparably more than once during a cell phone contract cycle? If you own a reasonably-priced cell phone you may be paying more for insurance than you need to be. With most insurance plans ranging from $3-$5/month, you'll probably pay for insurance what one new phone would cost you. Unless you have a fancier phone, having insurance is probably an unnecessary expense.
- Consider a local-only plan. If you don't usually call people out of state or if you don't plan on taking your cell phone out of your own area, you may be able to find a localized plan that can save you a bundle. Instead of looking for packages that offer nationwide service, ask for one that offers only local calling.
- Ask your friends which cell phone provider they use. Many of today's cell phone plans offer free in-network calling. By polling your friends and family about which provider they use, you may get insights about which plans are the cheapest as well as how you can cut back on minutes by calling your friends for free.
- Opt for a family plan. Many family plans make it easier for people to stay connected and offer great deals for people who speak to each other regularly. If you have several cell phone users in your family, switching to a family plan can be a good way to save on cell phone expenses.
- Reconsider text messages. Do you send or receive text messages regularly? If so, consider a plan that offers unlimited text messaging. If you never send text messages, make sure that you're not paying extra for this service. And, of course, if you purchase a text message package, make sure that you don't go over your monthly message allotment.
- Ask your employer if they have discounts with certain service providers. Some large firms or government agencies have arranged for employee discounts with certain cell phone providers. Find out if your company offers such deals and take advantage of them.
- Forgo the ringtones. Having a personalized ringtone may not sound expensive if it's only a few dollars a month, but these dollars can add a lot to your cell phone bill over the course of a year. Remind your teenagers that they can save on their cell phone bills by giving up their ringtones in favor of standard ringing options.
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