Not too long ago, cell phones were a luxury reserved for the rich and famous. Today, they’re everywhere. Many users consider them necessities, and they seem to go through withdrawal if they forget them at home or lose their signal.
Anyone can survive without a cell phone. But they are very handy to have. They give us a way to communicate with friends and family from virtually anywhere, and to call for help in the event of an emergency. Those bills can add up in a hurry, though.
With all the different plans available, you might be surprised at how many cell phone users are paying more than they should. Are you one of them? Here are some ways you can talk for less.
* Avoid buying too much phone for your needs. If you won’t be browsing the Web, why pay extra for a phone with such capabilities? Compare the available phones and find one that has the features you will use and not a lot of extra ones.
* Re-evaluate your service plan from time to time. If you find that you’re not using nearly all of your minutes, see about switching to a cheaper plan. If there are several phones in your household, a family plan will probably be the best deal. If you don’t use your phone very much, a prepaid plan could save you money.
* Keep an eye on your texting habits. Are you sending lots of texts each month? An unlimited texting plan could save you money. But if you’re doing more texting than talking, consider making calls instead of sending messages. It will probably be less expensive.
* Run the numbers on your insurance plan. Unless your phone is a top-of-the-line model, you might pay enough over the course of your contract to buy a new one. If that’s the case, drop the insurance and save up that money. If something happens to your phone before the contract is up, put it toward a new one. If not, buy something else.
* Use night and weekend minutes to make calls when you just want to talk. Most companies offer unlimited nights and weekends, and if combined with free long distance, you can call and catch up with old friends and far-off family at no additional charge.
* Check each bill for incorrect charges. If you find something, call your provider and dispute it. Even if it’s only a small charge, it could be something that is billed each month.
* Don’t call 411 from your cell phone. You’ll pay even more for it than you would from a landline. There are many free directory assistance options available, such as 1-800-FREE411, that will cost no more than a regular local call.
* Take advantage of in-network calling. Some providers offer free calls among their cellular customers, or let customers choose some numbers that they can call for free. Calls to these numbers will not use up your package minutes.
* Watch out for roaming charges. Some providers even charge them on nationwide plans if you are in an area away from that provider’s towers. There should be an icon on your phone that lets you know if you are roaming. If you see it, avoid making calls unless it’s an emergency.
Cell phones are one of those modern conveniences that we can’t seem to live without, but they can nickel and dime you to death if you let them. Having the right service plan and being aware of all possible charges can save you lots of money.