Do you think you’re paying too much for your cell phone? Would you like to change that? A mere fifteen years after cell phones were first introduced to the public back in 1977 with only 2000 customers, 60 million people now have cell phones. It’s now t a $30 billion a year industry. If you don’t want to contribute any more to that $30 billion than is absolutely necessary, read on.
A JD Powers and Associates report states that the average basic service cell phone package costs $63 per month, and those with more advanced features runs an average of $77 per month. Keep in mind that is for a single phone. Multiply that by each individual contract your household has; technology doesn’t come cheap. Don’t despair! Here are five easy ways to cut your monthly cell phone charges-without feeling like you’ve been transported back to the dark ages.
1. Think twice before buying a smart phone. There are plenty of great phones on the market that allow you to call, text, take and send pictures, search the web, and take advantage of all sorts of great apps for less money. Case in point: ATT Mobility charges smart phone users a minimum of $15 for 200 MB of internet usage per month, while customers using phones with most all of the same capabilities can have unlimited usage for $10. That’s a $60 a year difference. Speaking of phones, don’t buy a phone based on how cute it is. Buy for durability and how easy it is for you to operate. Just like anything else, there are some products that are simply better than others. The same JD Powers and Associates report mentioned above reports that Sony Ericson, Samsung, and Motorola make the best phones on the market.
2. Don’t buy ring tones. Ever. Several online websites has thousands of ring tones that are absolutely free. No strings attached, no limit on how many you can select, and nothing to sign up for. Just search for your favorite songs or tones, download and save. The end.
3. Take advantage of family plans. With one primary account holder, most providers allow you to add up to 4 additional phones for around $10 a piece per month (plus taxes). You can also take advantage of bundling your features to spread the cost of unlimited texting and other added features between plan participants. Wirefly.com is one arguably the best site on the internet to comparison shop for the cellular provider and phone plan for you.
4. Do the math. Many young couple find themselves paying out money unnecessarily for two separate phone plans. They don’t want to pay the early out charges most carriers charge for breaking your contract. But think about it…if each person is paying $75 for their phone plan, and that amount could be reduced by approximately $60 a month, that’s a yearly savings of $720! Compare that to the usual $200 to $300 charged by the major cellular service providers for canceling a contract before it expires. That $400 to $500 dollars will go a long way toward paying down student loans, credit card debt, or next year’s vacation.
5. Take advantage of little known discounts, and rethink your plan. Employees of the postal system are entitled to a 25% discount with Sprint, while all other federal employees get a 15% discount. Many credit unions, as well as companies that manufacture components used in cellular technology or those associated with the marketing of cellular services are allowed 10-15% discounts, as well. Check with your provider to see what, if anything, you qualify for. As for your phone plan…do you really need 1000 anytime minutes? With unlimited calling to people in your network, and the roll-over plans that have been adopted over the last few years, just about everyone could take a lesser plan and shave $10-$15 dollars a month off their plan.
This article was contributed by Darla Nicole. Darla writes about credit card rewards and deals. A popular choice for college students with large cell phone bills is the Citi Student Dividend card which offers 5% cash back for utilities.