Do you frequently go over your monthly budget on phone bills? Media services can really add up, particularly if you’ve gone over your data or minute allowance. Use the following tips to keep your phone use strictly within budget.
1. Use a single provider for all media needs.
Do you currently pay separate bills for your landline, mobile phone, internet, and cable or satellite TV service? You might be paying more than you need to in fees to each service provider. Many providers offer discounts if you bundle all of your services into a single media package. Start shopping around to compare offers, particularly if you’re nearing the end of one or more contracts.
2. Use the same network as your friends and family.
Another way to save money on your phone calls, particularly if your friends and family live at a distance, is to use the same network. Many mobile phone service providers offer free calls within the same network, or allow you to choose a list of contacts that you’re able to contact for free.
3. Choose a plan that suits your level of phone use.
All too many of us are locked into phone plans that don’t suit our specific levels of use. You may have overestimated your needs and find that you’re paying for minutes you never use. On the other hand, you may have chosen a smaller plan to fit your budget, only to go over your minute allowance each month. It’s worth considering using a prepaid phone or plan from international providers while you figure out just how many minutes you truly use each month, particularly if you make overseas calls.
4. Avoid phone contracts.
If you rely more on email or find that you’re not much of a phone person, a prepaid plan could be more economical than a traditional two-year contract. One of the benefits of a long-term contract is that you usually get a free phone out of the deal. However, if you hardly use that contract, you won’t really be saving money at all. You can buy your own phone to improve your bargaining power, and look for a deal that allows you to pay for your minutes in advance.
5. Watch your data usage.
Many plans give you unlimited data, but if you aren’t paying for this feature you might find yourself surprised with a sky-high bill at the end of the month. Keep a close eye on your data usage and use free Wi-Fi when available. Turn off your mobile data connection, as this will prevent apps from connecting to the internet without your knowledge.
6. Block third party charges.
Have you ever taken a closer look at your cell phone bill only to see a long list of charges from companies you don’t recognise? This could be due to the practice called “cramming,” in which companies tack charges onto the bill for third party services you don’t really want or need. They may gain access when you download a ringtone or play an online game, for example, and automatically sign you up for a subscription service you’re unaware of. You can prevent these fees by calling up your provider whenever you see a charge you don’t recognise.
By taking charge of your phone use and finding a plan that best suits your individual needs, you can pay less while still accessing the services you need.