Ten tips for saving on cell phones bills

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Ted Sullivan
Monday, May 11, 2009
— Cell phones can be expensive, and money is tight.

But cell phones are commonplace in today's world, and most people feel they can't live without one.

Cutting cell costs is another way to save.

Here are 10 ways to save money on your cell phone bill:

1. Reduce the number of minutes you buy. Track how many minutes you use each month. Find out if you can get a cheaper package within the number of minutes you use. A cheaper plan might fit your needs. And keep track of how many minutes you've used to avoid overage fees. Meanwhile, monitor your daytime minutes and night or weekend minutes.

2. Get a family plan. A lot of cell companies offer a discount if you sign up more than one person on one account. If everyone in your house has a cell phone, consolidating plans is a good way to save money. Check with your provider.

3. Mind how many text, picture or video messages you send. The cost of texts is cheap, usually about 20 cents a message. But it adds up. Video or picture messages cost more. If you love texting, sign up for an unlimited text package at a fixed cost. Chances are, the fixed cost is less than paying per text.

4. Take advantage of company promotions. If your cell carrier is offering new deals with more minutes or friends-and-family, in-network calling, take advantage of it. Cell companies often will give existing users the same promotions if they renew their contracts.

5. Use a prepaid cell plan. Many companies offer pay-as-you-go cell service. If you don't use a cell often, this might be a good way to avoid more expensive options. If you tend to go over your minutes, a prepaid cell will prevent you from paying overage fees.

6. Shop around. Different cell providers offer competing plans. The number of minutes, phones, data and other packages vary widely. Find the plan that fits your budget and lifestyle.

7. Restrain from impulsive temptations to download ringtones or subscribe to video games and other applications. They might be only a couple bucks, but they add up. And it's easy to lose track of the monthly and one-time fees. So cut back on the extras.

8. If you use the Internet on your cell, be aware of the charges for the number of pages viewed or megabytes used. The Internet also sucks up airtime minutes. Those of you who must have Internet access can search for a flat-rate data plan.

9. Watch out for roaming charges. If you talk outside your coverage area, you can be charged extra for roaming minutes. Roamers should get a nationwide plan to call from anywhere.

10. Don't use a cell phone. Believe it or not, people still live without carrying a phone 24 hours a day. We all did it not long ago. Plenty of land line carriers offer service for much less than cell carriers.

Last updated: 10:28 am Thursday, December 13, 2012

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