Posted on July 12th, 2012
The cell phone has become a necessity, rather than a luxury, in modern lifestyles. However, it can be an expensive necessity if you don’t pick a strategy that will ring in some savings, too. A cell phone plan can quickly zap the most conservative budget when plans don’t account for roaming charges, extra minutes, or other special features like web surfing. Smartphones, in particular, can ding the wallet when buying them as they cost more or, if you get them free, you end up tied into long service contracts that obligate you to pay whatever fees a service provider adds on later. Here are a few ways to reduce the hit to your monthly income by following some easy steps.
Think Beyond Phone Companies
Your first stop might be the local Sprint or T-Mobile shop as the most logical place to buy a smartphone. However, instead of going direct to the phone manufacturer, you can try a generic retailer like Costco to see if they carry the brand and model that you like at a lower price. Don’t assume you can get the best price at the phone store. Shop around to see where the best deal is for your brand.
It goes without saying that the plan can end up being the most expensive part of purchasing a phone. You can get a free phone by signing up for one- or two- year contracts, but it might not be the best deal if you within a few months you want to trade up. When comparing plans remember to check the 3 m’s: minutes, messages, and megabytes. Look at both prepaid and automatic payment plans. It can be some services come with no text messages, and others come with unlimited text messages, but few minutes. Choose a plan that best fits your lifestyle and how you want to use the phone. You may find you don’t need extra minutes because you use your phone mostly for sending texts.
Get Free Wi-Fi
Browsing the Internet on a phone is cool, but costly on some plans. You can save some money by hooking into free Wi-Fi spots around your city than won’t end up on your phone bill. Use a laptop with Wi-Fi to do Skyping and make outgoing phone calls over your computer for free. Use whatever technological advantage you can to get the same service, but either cheaper or free.
Look at Member Benefits
Some employers offer their employees technology discounts. If you actually work for a phone company they will typically also offer a purchase discount for a phone. If your employer can’t help you reduce the cost of a cell phone with a discount and you are a student, try seeing if your school has any discounts available. You may be limited to certain plans or phones, but you can get a discount of up to 20 percent just for asking. If you don’t know where to find out if your employer offers discounts, you can always Google the brand of the phone and “employee discount” or “discount” to see if you can get one.
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