Thursday, October 13, 2011

How to Decrease Your Cell Phone Bill

The cost of owning a cell phone is exceptionally high when compared to other items that we use on a regular basis. In fact, most cell phone bills exceed monthly utility bills. However, the cost of owning a cell phone isn't usually enough to deter everyone from having one. Instead, they just find ways to afford the smartphone of their dreams – even if it means picking up a few extra hours at work.

Owning a cell phone, however, doesn't have to put you in the red every month though. There are a few easy ways that every cell phone owner can decrease their monthly bill to make it more affordable:

Inquire About Incentives

Many people lose out on receiving discounts on their phones simply because they never ask. If you feel that your cell phone bill is too high, call your service provider. You may find that you are eligible for discounted plans or other services that could reduce your cell phone bill by 15 to 50 percent.

Choose a Prepaid Phone

One of the biggest expenses of a cell phone, is the plan the service provider provides itself. Contracts with service providers are often expensive and binding, and charge outrageous fees if you were to ever need to break your contract. To avoid high monthly fees or expensive contracts, consider getting a prepaid phone. Prepaid phones these days are as high-tech as many contracted phones, and are much more affordable.

Limit App Purchases

Apps make owning a cell phone fun, but they can also quickly run up your bill – especially if you've got kids on your plan. While each app may only cost a couple of bucks, downloading multiples can quickly add $20 to your cell phone bill. To avoid having extra high charges to your already high bill, set a budget for your monthly app purchases.

These days, it seems nearly impossible to get by without your cell phone. However, many would be more than happy to get by with a cheaper monthly bill. Be smart when using your phone, and always make sure to look over your monthly bill for accidental charges. Doing so will not only allow you to fully enjoy your cell phone, but it will also keep a few extra bucks in your pocket for savings.

Friday, October 07, 2011

Reading Bills All the Way Through, Even if They Look Right

For most bills we get, there’s an accompanying statement. Whether it’s a check at the restaurant, a cell phone bill, or a tuition bill; most will have an accompanying breakdown of charges. Sometimes we read these bills over to check them, when we know exactly how the breakdown should look, but rarely do we exert the same diligence when the situation is reversed.

Restaurant checks and cell phone bills are a case in point. When my wife and I go out to eat, even if it’s just the two of us, I almost invariable glance over the tab before adding a tip and signing my name at the bottom. I check to make sure that each of our entrees are listed, that our drinks are there, if there were any, and that nothing extra has been tacked on. That last point is the most important, because it’s the only reason most people read through their bills – to make sure that they are not being overcharged.

It’s the same thing with my cell phone bill, although I look over the statement less frequently because I never remember every call I made that month. Without a recollection of the details, I’ve always figured, why bother looking the bill over? After all, there’s no way to double-check the phone company’s records if I don’t know what I’m looking for in the first place. As a result, I only find myself looking over phone bills when the total balance seems unusually high. Maybe there will be some suspicious and random long-distance call, which I can then use a reverse phone lookup to track. Or maybe I simply failed to pay the full balance last month.

But there’s something to be gained from looking at a statement even when the bill looks right, and when there’s no suspicious long distance calls, and when there’s no remaining balance from the previous month. You probably know what I’m getting at here.

Just like the act of underlining makes someone more engaged with the writing, the simple act of reading over a statement makes it harder to mentally separate the phone calls you make every day and the check you write twelve times a year. By reading over the summary, and by seeing your charges slowly add up, you can more effectively learn to cut back calls and reduce needless phone expenses. My wife and I have been trying it out. At the very least, it will prepare us to read the bill judiciously in the case when our daughter becomes a teenager. ;0)