Even though you are charged a monthly fee, additional charges could
drive your bill much higher. If you are keeping your bill on a budget,
here are a few tips that will help.
- If you are on a tight budget, choose a plan with low monthly fee
and low minutes. You can still use a landline phone or payphone
for the majority of your calls.
- Limit the use of your cellular phone to check voicemail. You
will be charged airtime.
- Do you really need the additional features like call waiting,
text messaging and call forwarding? Unless they are included in
your plan, you will be charged extra for these. If you are paying
for a feature but do not use it, contact your carrier and drop
it. Do not keep paying for a feature you don’t use.
- Caller ID might pay for itself if you have a minimum plan.
You can use it to screen out calls that you do not wish to receive.
This will reduce your airtime usage.
- Since incoming calls counts against your airtime, be cautious
about giving out your cell phone number.
- Unless you get a really good promotional offer, stick to a
1-year contract. Your usage needs may change or you may find a
better deal after the contract expires. Cellular providers spend
$300 to $400 for each customer they sign up. They want to lock
you in for as long as possible.
- If you do not have a nationwide or network plan, be careful
about calling outside your home coverage area. The roaming and
large distance charges will really add to your bill. You will
also be charged for roaming and long distance with incoming calls
received out of your coverage area. In some areas, you may pay
roaming charges even if you have a nationwide plan.
- Pay attention to the clock when you call during the week. The
weekday off-peak hours are limited, often 9 pm to 5:59 am (varies
by carrier, check your plan for details).
- Choose the right plan. If you are overpaying for more plan
than you actually need, you are also overpaying in taxes, which
can be 15-20% of your total bill.
- If you need to make a change in your plan, do it during the
first month of your plan. If you wait, you will be locked into
the contract. Carriers have deadlines for changes. If you make
changes afterwards, they add months to your contract.
- When selecting a phone, start with your budget. There are usually
rebates and promotions that result in a free basic phone with
service. You can pay much more for a phone loaded with features.
Features to consider: weight, size, if you can read the numbers
on the screen, paging service, two-way radio service, customized
- Keep an eye on all the charges on your bill. Sometimes you
may be charged for a feature or service you did not request.
- If you sign up for a plan with a rebate, do not forget to mail
in the rebate card.