Saving Money on Your Cell Phone Bill

I got my first cell phone for a high school graduation present in 2005. It was pretty exciting as I had never owned my own phone and it allowed me to be connected with the rest of the world. My family all went on a plan together and my first phone was one of those Nokia bricks that were virtually unbreakable. Now I've upgraded to a touch screen phone, and there are many more options that are available. As Peter Parker's (Spiderman) uncle once said, "With great power comes great responsibility". I',m pretty sure he wasn't talking about cell phone usage but even still, the better your phone is, the easier it is to rack up the fees. Here's a few ways to rack up cell phone fees and ways you can stay away from paying tons of overage chages.

Texting Fees

I am a texter. I generally send about 2000 texts per month. When we first got our phones, we signed up for the 1000 texts a month plan. We soon realized that upgrading to the unlimited texting was the best option for us. Rather than spending tons of money on overage charges, or trying to keep track of our texts, we decided that the extra five bucks a month to ensure unlimited messaging was worth it. It definitely was considering if I was still on the 1000 texts a month plan I would be going over by an additional 1000 a month. If you aren't a texter at all, there are ways to turn off your messaging plan all together so you don't have to deal with those fees. If you can limit yourself to a certain amount of messages per month, then by all means sign up for thr 250 or 1000 texts a month. In my own life, it's just not possible.

Overage Fees on Minutes

My sister and I were/are in long distance relationships, which means that we are often times on the phone. She is getting married in less than two weeks so she'll no longer be in a long distance relationship, but during that time, we both used a lot of minutes talking to our significant others, and those minutes added up quickly. We've gone periods of weeks before where our minutes were used up before the end of the month long period, and were unable to use our phones unless we wanted overage charges tacked on. Thankfully we don't generally get to that point (we have free minutes after 9 PM), but there have been months where we have paid dearly for our mistakes. Case in point, our bill is supposed to be around $100 a month, and we ended up spending $350 just a few months ago...ouch. Calling people during free time and weekends is generally a great way to save minutes on your monthly bill. It's especially important if you are on the plan with someone else. Check often to see how many minutes are left to make sure you don't go over. Using up all your minutes early is one thing, but tacking on overage charges after that is something that should be avoided.

Phone Apps

I have an IPhone now with work, and I have to say that the amount of Apps that are available for downloads is staggering. I could not believe how many are offered. As a matter of fact, there are books that have been written on the many apps that are available to the public now. There are many Apps that are fun to download and fairly cheap, but be careful. Constantly downloading cheap apps can add up in the long run, and you can spend a lot more than you originally anticipated. There are some cheap apps that I think are definitely worth downloading. I mean come on, who doesn't like a rousing game of Angry Birds? I just downloaded an app called loopy that I learned about through Lee Taylor, the Young and Free Alabama Spokester. It's a great find for musicians, and at $2.99, it's a steal. Still, be careful about what you buy and determine whether or not it's a good investment of your money. Are you going to use that app after a few weeks? If not, it's probably not the greatest idea to spend money on it, even if it is just a few dollars.

Consumer Reports put out a great article on how to avoid cell phone bill shock, and how to avoid those pesky fees at the end of the month. Cell phones are great, and I can safely say I would have no idea what I would do with myself without mine. I'm sure you could say the same. Even though today's cell phones are great and technology can make our lives easier, beware the cell phone fees!

Have you had to pay an outrageous amount of overage fees ever?

Seth P.