Yes, we’re all busy and we get inundated with email and snail mail, pretty much to a point where keeping tabs on the important stuff is a challenge and a time waster. One source of frustration for me has always been managing the cell phone bill. I’ve had it with paper billing and my email bills seem to get lost in my junk mail, sometimes resulting in a forgotten bill payment – that’s frustrating! But do you actually check your cell phone usage and billing?? I suggest that you do and you’ll likely save yourself a few $$ – this is crucial for businesses who manage multiple accounts and likely pay out huge $$ every month.
Since I’ve recently established a new phone plan, I decided this is the best time to get organized. So how to save huge $$ on your mobile plan?
Here’s a few pointers that I suggest to anyone:
- First of all, if possible don’t buy a new phone unless you have to.. this is where the carrier gets control of you, typically via a long term account. Bring in your own phone, buy a used one online or get an existing phone unlocked – I recently unlocked an iPhone 3GS and it was a breeze (ping me if you want help). With so many new devices there’s a ton of fine, cheap used ones out there – get unlocked if you can! PS: unlocked means you can use the phone with any carrier (almost)
- Look at the discount carriers – here in Canada we have Fido, Virgin Mobile, Koodo and others – they are lower cost, no frills, but owned by the big carriers, simply branded under a different name, typically to go after the younger crowd. They have great deals though!
- Stay out of the contract! I can’t say this enough, when you have no contract you are in charge, otherwise the carrier calls the shots. With no contract you can barter for a better plan, better rates etc…
- Figure out what you need and where you spend the most $$. Turns out for one of my lines the need for long distance calling was huge, thus a plan with a 3 cent a minute rate anyplace in NA was crucial. For another plan, unlimited text messaging was key. Know what you need.
- Monitor your usage and your billing. If you are approaching a ceiling on data or voice usage you can upgrade your plan (typically online) and save huge extra costs. Check your usage at the mid-point of your billing cycle – oh, and make sure you know what your billing date cycle is! Look at your usage – after a months usage I realized that I could get away with a 500MB data plan rather than 1GB – that saves $10 a month + tax on each line.
- Look at all the charges on your bill! I looked min 10 page bill over and found $80 in first month charges that shouldn’t have been there.
- Finally, use WiFi.. save on the data by using WiFi whenever possible… trust me, I’m a “power” user and can get away with less than 500MB a month on my iphone plan!
- Know when your free calling time is and whene evening actually starts. If you need more voice time, don’t use your mobile when at home, use free calling via Skype or use the new, very cool free calling feature now included with google Mail – its awesome although you will need a microphone.
- Oh.. and when you travel out of your country (especially between Canada/USA) remove your SIM card, disable roaming in your settings and make sure you aren’t using data. Use WiFi when you roam out of your territory and grab yourself Skype mobile and a skype user account for calling over WiFi. Smartphone users, grab a free texting app like TextNow for free text messaging over data (WiFi) its priceless!