If you are like one of the countless American’s who have to deal with the monopolistic telecommunications, you’ve probably dealt with the same problem I had today. I walked into the local Verizon store and purchased a two year contract with the iPhone 4. I have seen everyone walking around with the little black device and felt like I should get in on the commotion. The first thing I do when I get home is check out some blogs about how to use my new device. I should have guessed at the store that the first thing I would see is an ad for the iPhone 5.
Most people feel like their cell phone contracts take control of their communications options. While it may be tempting to always buy the flashiest new mobile apps, it can come back to hit your budget. Here are some ways to make sure your communications equipment doesn’t have to involve two cans connected with a string:
Purchase Within Your Price Range
Phones have become a necessity in our modern society. While most companies hit you with exuberant fees and hidden charges, there are some ways to get around paying too much.
You can always purchase prepaid phone plans for your family. This allows you to have control and use only the minutes and data you actually use. Having 500 minutes a month sounds great, but if you only use a hundred, prepaid phones give you the chance to only buy a hundred so give them some consideration.
Buy a phone that doesn’t do as much stuff. Smartphones are cool, but they break and require a lot of maintenance. If you purchase a non-smartphone, you will have a more reliable and sturdy device. Finding specials can be a huge help for a tight budget.
Take it to eBay
If you have already made a commitment to a phone company by signing a contract, chances are the device that came with it is obsolete. If you want to purchase the newest version of a smartphone, you might be spending over six-hundred dollars on the latest innovation. If you visit a site like eBay, Amazon, or even Facebook marketplace, you can find excellent deals on the newest technologies. Be careful because most companies will not offer insurance on devices purchased off-site.
Get a Family Plan
If you have an individual contract with your phone company, your bill can skyrocket up to a hundred dollars. By pooling together with your husband, wife, children, family members, or even friends, you can bundle together and purchase a family plan. This can save you up to forty percent on your monthly bill. It’ll create a little extra headache, especially if you involve friends, but the savings should merit the extra effort.
Buy Fewer Apps
Playing Angry Birds and watching movies through Netflix is an awesome way to use your smartphone. While these apps may say they are free in the Android Market or App Store, they can cost you money at the end of the month in data charges. Verizon and AT&T are starting to charge customers going over their data plan while Sprint is still sticking to the unlimited plan. Be sure to watch what you are downloading and how often you are using your apps.
Consumers need to become smarter about how to deal with telecommunications companies. By treating the employees who work at the retail locations with courtesy and respect; you can always get the best offers and deals.
Photo Credit: John.Karakatsanis
This post was included in the Carnival of Personal Finance.