You may think that deciding on the right handset is the hardest -- and costliest -- part of shopping for a new cell phone or smartphone. But the plan you choose is just as important. After all, you may spend hundreds or thousands of dollars on cellular service over the life of your phone, so finding cheap cell phone service can save you lots of dough.
Should You Go Prepaid?
A prepaid phone plan is one of the best ways to save money on cellular service. Instead of signing a contract and paying for a certain monthly plan, you only pay for the minutes you use. And, as an added bonus, you're not tied in to a lengthy service contract. Still, a prepaid plan is not for everyone.
If you decide that a prepaid plan is for you, you have several options. Most of the major carriers offer prepaid options.
You also can find prepaid plans from smaller carriers.
Should You Buy an Unlocked Phone?
An unlocked phone is one that does not come with cellular service, and is not "locked" to a certain cellular carrier; you buy the phone and then supply the service yourself. It's another way to get contract-free -- and often cheaper -- cellular service. But, keep in mind that buying an unlocked phone is very different from buying a prepaid phone. You supply your own cellular service to an unlocked phone. And, while the service may be cheaper over the lide of the phone, unlocked phones themselves are typically very expensive, costing hundreds of dollars.
Should You Sign a Contract?
There's no doubt that avoiding a lengthy contract with a cellular carrier can save you money, but, sometimes, committing to a service contract is the way to go. If you absolutely have to have the latest and greatest phone, for example, you may be forced to sign a contract in order to get it. But not all contracts are created equal.
If you decide that a contract is right for you, shop around before signing on the dotted line.
Is a Family Plan for You?
If you have more than one cell phone user in your family, you may be able to save money by opting for a family plan. A family plan only works if everyone in the family is using a phone from the same wireless carrier, but if you are, such a plan can offer significant savings. You may be able to share minutes between family members, make free calls to one another, or add additional lines for as little as $10 per month.
Can You Get a Discount?
Did you know that your employer may make your eligible for certain service discounts? Or that, if you're a senior citizen, your bill might be reduced? Ask your carrier to see if these discounts apply, or to find any others that might make for a lower monthly bill.
It's Not Too Late!
So, you're already tied into a lengthy service contract, paying big bucks every month for your cellular service. You're not out of luck yet! Did you know that one of the best ways to save money on your cell phone bill is to ask? That's right: ask. Simply call your cellular carrier and ask them to reduce your bill. They're more likely to say yes than you might think.