Whether you’re looking for the hottest new toy or just want to save money on your monthly bill, there are plenty of ways to trim the overall cost of your cell phone. Follow these simple tips to save money and stay connected:

Evaluate your needs

  • Look closely at your monthly usage to make sure you’re using what you’re paying for and aren’t incurring overage charges.
  • Review rollover packages to see if you can save money on your voice plan.
  • Do you really need an Internet plan or a data plan? If you don’t travel much or spend your days at a computer, you may not.
  • Is a smartphone right for you? Don’t buy a phone just because it’s popular. There are plenty of cool, inexpensive phones that can meet your needs.

Avoid costly calls

  • Making toll-free 800 calls on cell phones is not free. You’ll be charged for the minutes used.
  • Calling 411 from your cell phone can be costly.
  • Use free online directory services like www.411.com or www.whitepages.com to find the number you need.

Avoid extras

  • Downloads like ringtones, software, video streaming, and games use up a lot of data, so think twice before purchasing them.
  • Add-ons like phone cases, car chargers, and other accessories can tack on unnecessary costs.

Stay up to date on offers

  • Shop around for the best deal on the phone you’re interested in.
  • Contract prices can vary depending on length of commitment; signing a longer contract could save you money over time.
  • Buying a new phone when it’s first released is generally more expensive; simply wait a few months for the price to come down.
  • Voice and data plan prices change frequently, so if you’ve had your plan for a while, check out the cost before you renew.

Consider pay-as-you-go plans

  • If you are a light user or only need a phone for a certain period of time, purchase an inexpensive phone and pay separately for minutes and texting.
  • Pay-as-you-go plans offer built-in budget control—you can’t use more than you’ve paid for.

The customer is always right

  • Don’t be afraid to ask for a better deal; the phone carriers would rather charge you less than lose you to the competition!

We can get so caught up in the excitement surrounding the latest gadget that we forget to look at what we really need our phone to do. Even if you just make a few seemingly small changes to your monthly cell phone usage, you can save yourself a good deal over time.


© 2012 Commonwealth Financial Network