Video:Tips to Lowering your Cell Phone Billwith Jonathon E. Stewart
With increasing functionality, as well as our reliance on them, cell phones are getting more and more expensive. Keep your bill in check with a few simple tips.See Transcript
Transcript:Tips to Lowering your Cell Phone Bill
Between handsets that can do everything but iron your shirt, and service plans that allow you to be wirelessly connected 24/7, having a cell phone these days can be a little pricey. And when your bill starts arriving in a cardboard box, you might want to start thinking about ways to trim the fat.
Start by taking a look at your past few bills, and keep an eye out for trends or patterns. Does your actual usage match up with your calling, texting, and data plans? If you're consistently using less than your allotted minutes or texts, you might consider switching to a lower plan, as long as you're careful about not exceeding your new limits.
Likewise, think about how often you actually access the internet. Pictures and texts can be sent with less expensive phones that don't require additional data plans, which can save you a bundle from your monthly tab.
If you seem to be calling the same handful of people consistently, see if your carrier offers a friends and family package that keeps these calls from counting towards your anytime minutes. And, try to make the majority of your calls in the evenings or on weekends, which are typically free for most carriers.
Avoid using directory assistance when you can, especially if you do have a data plan that allows you to access information online. And, most importantly, go through your bill with a fine-tooth comb.
While some regulatory and tax fees are unavoidable, make sure you're not paying for anything you're not using. Hidden fees and activation charges can add up quickly, so don't be afraid to call your provider to question anything you don't fully understand, and if it seems like you shouldn't be paying for it, don't.
Ask to talk with a supervisor if you're not making any progress at first, and stick to your guns. Representatives with the right authority can and will take things off your bill if you make a good case. And, it never hurts to mention your loyalty as a customer, or an offer you're getting from a competing carrier.
If you make it to the end of your contract, you might also find that you become eligible for additional perks like discounted phones and promotional service plans.
Of course, many of these discounts are available for new customers or older ones willing to re-up for another two-year stretch. Just be sure to look at what you're spending on an annual basis -- little differences in each month's bill can add up over time.
You might also consider switching to a family plan if you and someone you love plan to share the phone bill. Adding lines to an existing plan is inexpensive and can reduce your costs greatly.
Just make sure you're both on the same page about reviewing your bill together and cutting back on cell minutes or other services if necessary. And finally, while you're at it, why not save the stamp and go paperless?
I'm Jonathon Stewart with About.com.