In a modern economy in which the Internet and everything mobile-related are everywhere, you may find yourself using your cell phone more frequently than before. Considering that things like shopping as well as picture and video viewing can now be done via a cell phone, paying attention to your data usage and cell phone plan are essential to prevent the kind of nightmarish scenario that happens when your cell phone bill is not what you expected. To diminish your mobile phone bill, you should get a better deal or use employee or school discounts. You also can find a new plan – with the existing provider or a new one – consider a prepaid plan or use family discounts.
1. Select the Right Cell Phone
The choice of handset is a critical topic when it comes to saving money on your cell phone bill. Even if we disregard things like usage and data, you wouldn't get the same monthly bill if you chose a smart phone versus a basic phone. In other words, your cell phone has a direct impact of the kind of cell phone plan you can sign up for.
To choose the right cell phone, consider things like monthly minutes you plan to talk, data-meaning web surfing and data access-text messages, foreign-bound calls and tethering, which means plugging your cell phone into your PC to access data. Talk to your cell phone carrier about the terms and conditions of the device you want to purchase. Beyond billing considerations, you should also pay attention to other things when purchasing a cell phone-including design, display, locked vs. unlocked, call quality, size, data speed, controls and battery life.
2. Threaten to Leave Your Existing Provider
If you're not satisfied with your current cell phone bill, call your phone company and threaten to leave. Typically, cell phone companies spend much money on attracting clients-it's called customer acquisition costs-so they are reluctant to let them go. If you call with a dissatisfied tone, the customer service rep generally would put you through a "disconnections" department, which basically means retention. The person with whom you will speak will be empowered to give you much better deals than those advertised, simply because he or she wants to retain your business. Timing is essential, though; the "disconnections" department rep will only listen and give you a deal if your contract is near expiration. If you are six months into a 24-month contract, forget it!
3. Sign No Contract
Don't sign a contract with your cell phone provider, so you have the ability to switch services and change carriers when you want. You may have to pay off more money for the cell phone device, but that high upfront cost will be mitigated by the lower bills you would get later on. A no-contract service agreement is different from a prepaid contract, though. With a no-contract deal, your service provider continues to bill you each month and you enjoy the same benefits as a contract customer, but you retain the flexibility of leaving at any time-with no penalty.
4. Choose Prepaid
With a prepaid plan, you only use what you pay. What a great way to limit your cell phone tab and save money on your overall communication expense! For example, if you sign up for the Verizon $60 per month plan-one of the best in the company's prepaid plans-you can get a reliable and state-of-the-art Smartphone as well as 500MB of data. The good thing about a "Pay as You Go" plan is that there are no minimum charges so if you don't charge-that is, prepay-on a specified date, then your plan lapses.
More generally, a prepaid plan might be the best solution for you if you have difficulty keeping a lid on your cell phone bill - especially if you can't help calling that Facebook friend you so like but who lives thousands of miles away from you, for example. With a prepaid plan, you pay as you go, meaning if you fail to pay the bill on time, your service is disconnected. You purchase a device with the provider, get a number and pay a specific amount, say, $40, to cover your communication expense for the following month. That's similar to types of landlord-tenant arrangements in which the tenant pays rent one month in advance.
5. Get a More Advantageous Deal
You should get a new, better deal if you think that your current plan does not mesh with your spending limits or is not in sync with your lifestyle and communication patterns. For example, if your plan grants you an unlimited number of minutes on weeknights and all day on weekends, and you typically do all your talking during the day, the plan obviously does not fit in your lifestyle and working patterns. So, you should try to switch to a plan that is more advantageous and convenient, typically with another provider. The top cell phone service providers currently are AT&T, Verizon, Sprint and T-Mobile, but a mishmash of smaller, more nimble players now is entering the market. So talk to your provider to see what options are available, and make a decision based on your needs and the provider's products and services.
One last thing: once you have settled on the package that you think is right for you, compare the different offers from all the operators to make sure you are getting the best deal overall.
6. Take Advantage of Employee and School Discounts
If you are a parent, you certainly would want to keep tabs on your children, trying to know everything from academic performance to after-class sports program, teenage partying trends, social network habits, and everything else in between. The good news is that some providers grant discounts and rebates on phones and plans that underage children subscribe to. The same is true for employee discounts, so contact your company to learn more about telecommunication services in general, and employee discounts for cell phone services in particular. If you can get both types of reductions – employee and school – you would be on your way to cell phone paradise because you basically would have a reasonably low rate when compared with the general public.
7. Find a New Plan – With the Existing Service Provider (If Possible)
Cell phone service provision is a highly competitive industry, and this situation prompts the bigger players – and the cohort of smaller ones vying for the top spot – to constantly innovate and propose new products and services that wow clients and make the providers' investors laugh all the way to the bank. If your current plan doesn't suit your needs, ask your provider about other plans or whether your existing plan can be tweaked to meet your situation. Believe it or not, cell phone providers typically have room for pricing flexibility, and they would grant a good deal if you just call, explain your situation, be polite to the customer service rep, and ask for a lower-rate, hopefully better plan.
So the bottom line is that you should regularly contact your carrier and ask a customer service representative to make sure you have the best package that suits your usage. Remember, it can be expensive to go over the set call minutes, but you are also losing money if you are well under the limits and it may make sense to move to a cheaper monthly rate.
8. Use Family Discounts
Family discounts also can be a great way to save cash on your cell phone bill. The concept of "family" in this context is relatively flexible, so be creative and add to your "family" people with whom you typically do not share a blood connection but consider "family' anyway. Think of Thanksgiving dinners and how thereafter you just realize you have so many relatives you have never seen, heard of, or talked to before. The goal here is to increase the number of people subscribing under the family plan, so that you can spare some change and pay a lower bill. Talk to your service provider about family rebates and discounts as well as the terms and conditions governing these discount programs.
Reviewing your cell phone bill regularly gives you a unique opportunity to create and develop a bill-reduction plan that helps you save money down the road and preserves your lifestyle while delivering the highest quality of communication to you and your correspondents. When it comes to mobile phone usage, money-saving techniques include employee and student discounts, prepaid plans, plan amendments and better deals.