When it comes to your cell phone, do you feel like you’re paying more and more for less and less? Get the upper hand with these tips.
Step 1: Get a group discount Ask cell phone providers if they offer discounts to your employer, alma mater, fraternity or any professional association you belong to. Many do, but don’t advertise them.
Step 2: Beware of texting charges If you do a lot of texting, sign up for bulk rates so you don’t pay through the nose for them individually.
Step 3: Get a pre-paid phone If you can manage to limit your chatting to 300 minutes per month, consider a prepaid phone. It’s an inexpensive phone you buy along with a small amount of prepaid minutes.
TIP: For a nominal monthly fee, some carriers let parents limit the numbers their kids can call, the hours during which they can make calls, the number of text messages they can send, and the amount of phone-based purchases they can make.
Step 4: Downsize your plan Slash your monthly fee by downsizing your plan. Surveys show that a whopping 40 percent of pre-paid minutes aren’t used.
Step 5: Make adjustments If you know in advance that you’re going to be using your phone more than usual one month, temporarily increase your monthly minute allotment to avoid costly overage charges.
Step 6: Move in for the kill When your current contract expires, be pushy about negotiating a fierce phone and terrific terms. This is the only time you have the upper hand, and most carriers will do whatever it takes to renew you.
FACT: A survey of 18,000 people found that those who bought their cell phones online were more satisfied with their purchase than those who bought from a store.