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Save Money on Your Cellphone Bill

As carriers scramble to attract customers, it’s a good time to change plans

The average American spends about $1,000 a year on their cell phone bill, but some industry insiders estimate about $50 billion is wasted annually on parts of the plan they don’t even need or use. So how do you know if you are getting the most bang for your buck?

Somehow, in the past 20 years, cell phones have evolved from a convenience to a necessity. An expensive one. As the devices have become more integrated into our lives, monthly mobile bills have swelled. According to a recent survey by Cowen and Company, a financial services firm, the average customer of one of the Big Four cellular providers (AT&T, Sprint, T-Mobile, and Verizon Wireless) spends more than $90 per month for individual service—and the figure is $111 for iPhone owners. (Prepaid phones were not included.)

The good news is that the cellular-service industry has changed in the past two years. Big providers are offering new plans that decouple the cost of monthly service from the cost of the handset, and they are competing to steal each other’s customers. Meanwhile, smaller providers are pioneering new ways to keep costs down—and winning fans as they do it.

Follow these steps to reduce your cellphone bill:-

1. Drop the contract

In the current wireless market, the worst buying decision you can make is to lock yourself into a multiyear contract. Sure, signing on for two years of service to put a $650 iPhone 6 in your pocket for just $200 may seem like a good deal at first. But it’s cheaper to buy the same phone through an installment plan, where you pay for the handset through monthly, no-interest payments over a couple of years. The line access fees on installment plans are typically lower, and you won’t have to put any money down.

2. Add up your data needs

Once you’ve freed yourself from your contract, it’s time to find a better deal. Start by calculating the data requirement for each of your devices. (These days, plans focus on data more than voice. Say bye-bye to unlimited data plans and hello to dirt-cheap voice minutes and texts.)

3. Make Your Calls for Free

Get more mileage out of your minutes by making free calls whenever you can.Viber, Skype Mobile and Textfree are all free apps that allow you to call anyone else who has the app for free.

4. Track Your Talk Time

Do you go over your minutes each month? Then, it’s time to start tracking your talk time. Sign up with overmyminutes.com, (a free service) and you’ll receive an e-mail or text message to let you know when you’re about to run out of minutes.

5. Use the Same Plan as Friends and Family

Many cell phone service providers offer free in-network calls or allow you to choose a small group of in-network friends and family that you can call for free. So, get all of your most-called people on one plan, and you could save big.

6. Switch to Unlimited Texting

Text messages can cost 10-cents a piece (or more) to send and receive. Youch! If you do a lot of text messaging, a plan with unlimited text messages is definitely the way to go.

7. Log On to WiFi

Streaming videos and downloading large files over a cell network uses a large amount of data. If you have a smartphone or other mobile device without an unlimited data plan, you typically get charged extra when you exceed your monthly data cap

Purchase the plan that is right for you, based on your minute usage.If you don’t use very many minutes, or use your phone mostly in the evening or on the weekend, choose a plan that provides minutes during the time you use it. If you rarely use your phone, consider a pay-as-you-go plan.

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