Nowadays, almost everyone uses a cellular phone. The trend makes sense, as cell phones allow for quick and convenient communication from any location and at any time of day. However, being more connected may have its downfalls as well. First and foremost, we are paying more than ever on our monthly cell phone bills as the number of phone calls we make and text messages we send increases. And while the need for a cell phone in your personal and professional life may not go away anytime soon, there are a number of ways to reduce the cost of cell phone usage while still allowing for quick and convenient communication with your friends, family and coworkers.
Unfortunately for consumers, it is in the best interest of cell phone companies to increase our cell phone usage. These companies often find methods and loopholes for tricking us into paying more. This is why it is important to choose the correct cell phone plan. By far, the best rates are given for those with Family Plans. This works well for families or other groups of people, because you can get additional phones and minutes for reduced rates. In addition, calls to others in your family or group don’t cost you any extra minutes.
If you own a small business, consider a family plan for you and your colleagues.
On the other hand, heavy phone users may benefit most from unlimited plans. These plans allow you to call or text as much as you want and when you want for a flat fee. These plans generally cost the most, but can be well worth it if you’re on the phone constantly.
Finally, pay-as-you-go plans often work best for those who don’t use their phones very often. Be sure to check with your carrier to make sure you are signed up for the plan that makes the most sense for your phone usage. Also, don’t hesitate to compare plans from multiple carriers. Your current carrier may even be willing to negotiate your rates with you if you threaten to switch to a new company.
In addition to choosing the correct plan, always take advantage of free nights and weekends. Most carriers offer free minutes on specific days or during a set window of time on weeknights. Schedule long calls to family or old friends during these times. You can also stay connected to friends and family with free internet calling services such as Skype. These allow you to see the person you’re talking to instead of just hearing their voice (assuming your computer has a webcam), and they can even be used for office meetings and/or conference calls.
Do you sometimes need to find an address on the run? Don’t call 411. Save money by using one of the following free directory assistance lines: 800-FREE-411, 800-411-METRO or 800-GOOG-411.
Many phones with data plans have separate free services such as Google Maps. Google also offers a free text message directory service. Just send your question to GOOGLE (466543).
And, do you really need all those bells and whistles? Cut down on buying ringtones and cancel your access to caller ID and three way calling. Evaluate whether you really need your expensive data plan. Often times, email can wait until you get to your computer. And finally, if you don’t have an unlimited plan, cut down on those text messages. They cost a lot, especially if you end up having a whole conversation via text. It’s much easier in many cases to make a phone call.
At first, making some of these changes may seem daunting. Many people are used to having easy access to calling and email in any location and making calls when it is most convenient. First, think about the “good old days” of landlines or even the early days of cell phones. We got along just fine then! And don’t fret too much, because you don’t have to make all of these changes at once or even in the future. Simply finding the best cell phone plan or cutting down on a few things could save enough money to squeeze you back under your budget and make you feel better about your communication spending!