In today’s world, cell phones are considered a necessity. The problem is that cell phone providers know how in-demand their products are, so they charge an excessive amount of money for a monthly service. If you’re on a budget, your cell phone bill can be quite costly to maintain each month. Luckily, there are things you can do to minimize your cell phone bill.

1. Review your bill.

Check out an itemized bill from your carrier and see how much you’re paying and for what. You may notice that you’re being charged a monthly fee for a service you don’t use. Some carriers provide services free for one month when a new phone is purchased. If you don’t cancel the service before the month is over, they will start billing you for it. If you don’t pay attention, you could be paying a small fee for a feature you didn’t even know existed. If you find these charges on your bill, contact your carrier right away and ask for them to be removed.

2. Get a texting plan.

Depending on your carrier, sending and receiving text messages can cost $.20 per text. While this may not seem like much, the cost can add up quickly. If you send or receive text messages and you don’t have a texting plan, you may want to look into it. These plans can start around $5 per month, and if you text, spending $5 every month can be much more cost-effective than $.20 per text. Most carriers offer unlimited texting plans. These are more expensive, but if you text a lot, it could end up being a cost savings.

 3. Get rid of your phone’s insurance.

Though it seems like a great idea, especially if you are prone to breaking or losing your phone, phone insurance is a useless fee to pay every month. The average price for cell phone insurance ranges between $5 and $10 per month. That’s $60 to $120 a year you’re spending on insurance, and if something were to happen to your phone, you’d still have to pay a hefty deductible. Instead, scratch the insurance and try to be more careful. If your phone does get lost or stolen, ask friends or family members if they have an old phone you can borrow until your contract is up.

4. Check out your current plan.

Compare your usage to your current plan. Are you paying for unlimited minutes but only averaging about 300 minutes per month? If so, you’re overpaying for service. If you don’t use your cell phone to talk that often, consider lowering your plan to less minutes. Switching from unlimited to 300 minutes per month could save you anywhere from $20 to $40 per month.

If you notice that you don’t do much calling, texting or web browsing on your phone, you may want to invest in a prepaid phone instead of a contract. Prepaid phones allow you to pay only for the calls and texts you make, which will save you money.

5. Pay attention to when you call.

If your cell phone carrier offers free nights and weekends, try and do most of your chatting during your free times. You can also ask your provider if they offer a package that offers different free calling times. For example, most carriers start free nights after 9pm. Since most people don’t use their phone after 9pm to chit chat, some carriers also offer packages that start free nights at 6pm. Though you may be charged $2 to $5 per month for this time change, it will save you money in the long run.

6. Take advantage of special promotions.

Some carriers offer special promotions to packages for their customers. For example, Verizon Wireless offers aFriendsandFamily feature that allows customers to add up to 10 phone numbers of friends or family members to a special group of people. These phone numbers are now free for the customer to call.

Remember that carrier to carrier calls are free, so if you have the Friends and Family feature, don’t put the phone number of other Verizon customers, as calls to these individuals are already free. Instead, use it for landlines or other cell phone carrier numbers you call on a regular basis.

Having a cell phone does not have to cost you a fortune. Instead, do your research and learn your calling habits. Then use that information to find the best calling plan for you. You may realize that you’re paying for features you don’t use.

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