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How To's
Lower Your Monthly Cell Phone Bill

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June 30th, 2009

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Create a list of ten of your most contacted people.

Next to each person on your list mark their carrier unless they have a land line. Tally up because this simple research can save you loads of money over time. Many cell phone carriers offer free in-network calling.

New accounts: The carrier you choose is the most important decision you’ll make. Choosing the right carrier saves you money, time, and will help power any additional services you demand such as web browsing.

Existing accounts: You might want to consider switching carriers if your contract is ending and you are burning up valuable minutes that could be avoided with in-network calling.

1. Research carrier reception in your area

After all, what good is a cell phone without reception? Dropped calls can be frustrating and not receiving calls can be the worst.

New accounts: Use hub sites to determine the best choice before choosing a carrier.

Here are some other great tools straight from the source:

Existing accounts: If “dead spots” get in the way of normal use of your phone you should use the tools above to see if another carrier can offer higher quality service in your area.

2. Evaluate your features/needs

Chances are you or someone you know has one of those fancy phones with TV, radio, or turn-by-turn directions because they installed a trial and are now being charged monthly. Get a fresh bill and check it twice for add-on services that are useless and cancel them. If you disagree with charges on your account don’t be afraid to call your carrier and dispute them. Although add-on features are usually considered cheap, don’t forget that they add up quickly and can be easily forgotten.

New accounts: Choose your features wisely, try to think about what you must-have and write them down. In some cases selecting too few features can end up costing much more if you plan on upgrading to accommodate your new requirements. With your list of required features in hand you’ll be able to make a smarter decision during the next step.

Existing accounts: Review your bill and perform spring cleaning… don’t be afraid to dispute charges if something seems out of place.

3. Choose the right phone

In terms of hardware most carriers have very comparable phone models if you look closely. After you have you have selected a preferred carrier locate a phone that suits your needs.

New accounts: It is imperative that you select the right phone… after all– it’s your personal sidekick. Choose a phone that meets your requirements from step 3.

Existing accounts: Ignore this step if you are satisfied with your hardware. If you are not happy you might be eligible to upgrade your cell phone. Since you already know what bothers you, choose a device that is strong in those areas without sacrificing in others.

4. Plan for the right plan

Determine your coverage to determine your carrier. Where do you live? Where do you work? What is your typical commute? Do you need to make calls out of the country?

  • How many voice minutes do you use each month?
  • What is the makeup of those calls? What % of your calls are to people on same cell phone network? Most carriers have mobile to mobile within their networks and is free. (free minutes)
  • Do you always call the same people? If so, you should consider a plan w/ “Favorites” like T-Mobile MyFaves or Verizon Wireless friends and family. HOWEVER, be choosy with the people you pick as your favs. Customers select based on affinity rather than call usage. The best way to save money is to select your “faves” based on usage, rather than the heart. You may think it best to add your child, however, if only speak to him/her once a day and the length of the call only lasts a minute or two, perhaps you should think about adding your Lawyer, doctor, or accountant instead…you may not talk to them daily but those calls can last well over 30 min! Most Verizon Wireless plans include 5 friends and family, but some plans can go all of the way up to 10 friends and family members!
  • What % of your time on your cell phone do you spend talking at nights or during the weekends? If you mostly talk at nights & on weekends, you may not need a plan with many minutes since most have free nights and weekends. If you primarily talk after school/work between 6 pm – 9 pm, select a plan based on your daily usage but choose the add-on feature to make your free unlimited nights start earlier. For most carriers, nights start at 9 pm, however Sprint offers an “early nights and weekends” feature for only an additional $5 per month and you can start making calls as early as 6pm.
  • Do you need to make international calls?
    • Calling –If you need to call someone who is outside of the U.S, you may want to select an optional int’l calling feature. Costs may differ according to country and can be expensive without a calling package.
    • Traveling – make sure your carrier has coverage in the countries that you will be traveling in.
    • Call your carrier and ask them what the least expensive way to use your phone internationally will be. For an additional fee, they may be able to provide a discounted rate during your time abroad.

Shop Now for Phones from AT&T Wirelesss, Sprint, T-Mobile and Verizon Wireless.

Related posts:

  1. How To Dispute Your Cell Phone Bill
  2. JD Power Analyzes Average Cell Phone Bill
  3. Cell Phone Basics
  4. How To Block a Phone Number from Calling your Cell Phone

2 Responses to “Lower Your Monthly Cell Phone Bill”

  • Like this article says, it’s important to plan for the right plan. On my old contract, I did not have the right plan at all because I kept getting charged ridiculous overage fees. A friend of mine suggested I try prepaid, and I couldn’t have been happier that I listened! Now I have Straight Talk, where I pay $45 a month for unlimited talk, text, and web. It’s way less than my old plan, and best of all I don’t have to pay overage fees ever again! Definitely worth a look.

  • John Quick
    June 9, 2010

    Do you need the Black berry Data plan to have a blackberry pearl?

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