Cell Phones

Do a Comprehensive Cell Phone Search
Research all the cell phone companies in your area - don't forget the small companies. Often they are buying bulk rates from the larger companies and passing the savings on to you, or they are under the umbrella of a large corporation. Same service, lower bill.

101waystosave Coupon

Beware of the term "FREE"
The companies will try to entice you with free activation, free cell phones, etc. Closely examine the call charges and rate plans they are selling you to see if they fit your needs. If not, you will end up paying more in the long run.

Read the fine print
Make sure you understand every part of the contract. Read without the sales staff "explaining" anything. Take it with you and bring it back after you read it. Spending an extra ten minutes reading this could affect how much money you spend for years.

Call customer service with any questions
Never ask the sales staff! Their job is to make everything look rosy and
perfect. Get a knowledgeable person in the customer service staff and become friends with them. Ask for them by name when calling in. Only deal with them unless it is an emergency and they are not available.

Don't rush to buy
The sales staff may sell you a free cell phone, free activation, and throw in a free battery if you buy in the next 24 hours. Then they offer you a mind-numbing array of features, accessories, and packages. Before you're done you've spent $800 and signed a contract promising them no less then $150 per month for a year. Take your time. Special offers come and go and come back again.

Check between analog and digital
Digital (where available) has many advantages such as lower price, longer battery life, caller ID, mailbox, etc. Analog has more towers, and larger coverage area. Figure out which one is more useful to you.

Organize a group discount
Get co-workers and/or soloists together to negotiate a bulk deal. Just
remember to structure the contract so everyone is responsible for his/her own cell phone and usage only.

Don't shop alone
Many times another pair of eyes on the contract or someone's skeptical ears may notice something that you don't.

Take it with you to look over
Ask for literature and a copy of the contract (or legal paperwork) and
leave. Read it on your own time without a salesman looking over you. Go over it in detail with your significant other. Discuss how, when, and why you are likely to use the cell phone.

Distinguish between "want" and "need"
You will be offered many features and accessories. No matter how wonderful they sound, they may be a waste of money. Consider carefully what items are really necessary, (such as a spare battery) and which are vanity items (such as a calf leather carrying case).

Saving Tips after Purchasing

Check bills for wrong charges
The cell phone companies are large, and they do make mistakes. If you find mistakes, inform them A.S.A.P and ask for a credit

Access your voice mail from a land line
Spending time listening to your voice mail messages from your cell phone is a waste. Very often the messages can wait until you reach a regular phone. If they don't tell you what number to call for the "back door" ask your customer service rep

Carry a pager
You must pay for incoming calls even if they are from someone you don't want to talk to. Paying for a pager (around $19.95/month for inexpensive service) and giving people that number instead of your cell phone gives you the option of when, or if, to call them back. Check your incoming call charges and see if adding a pager is less expensive.

Ask for credit
If you have to pay to get a canceled check to dispute a payment, don't
forget to ask for a credit for that bank charge you'll be surprised how much credit the companies will give you to keep you as a customer.
Typical credits you may receive (Canceled check fees, Calls to your cell
phone by the cell phone company, Incorrect charges on your bill, reconnect fees, Sometimes they offer "goodwill credit" to make you feel better about a negative situation).

Call customer service with any questions
Never ask the sales staff! Their job is to make everything look rosy and
perfect. Get a knowledgeable person in the customer service staff and become friends with them. Ask for them by name when calling in. Only deal with them unless it is an emergency and they are not available (Yes, this tip is in here twice. This is not a mistake.)

Make sure the local calling area matches your lifestyle
This may be the most important thing you do

Pay the part of the bill that you are not disputing
Remember that even if you are in negotiations about certain charges you are still responsible for the rest of the bill. Not paying them can result in late charges.

Get rid of unused features
Maybe you don't use three-way calling, or caller ID doesn't matter since you never answer the phone. Go over your bill and find the features that you aren't using. Get rid of them. Often they come in groups, such as call forwarding, 3-way calling, and call waiting for one low price. If you only use two, or less, it may be cheaper to get them separately Pay yourself for introductory specials If you accept a package deal with short-term perks, such as 100 extra minutes for 3 months, set that money aside in your savings account. When the short-term perk expires, you may see a big increase in your bill, and you need to be prepared. By getting in the habit of paying as if the special doesn't exist, you get a better idea of what your "real" cellular phone bills are.

Report lost/stolen phones Immediately
If you suspect your cell phone is stolen and you wait a few weeks to report it, you may be responsible for any charges made it that time.

Find out how to call toll-free calls
Most times 1-800 is not a free call on cell phones. Many times you must dial #-800, or something similar. Ask your customer service agent. Put your payment in a savings account If you can, put aside money equal to 1 1/2 times your average cell phone bill in a savings account (Your cell phone company will tell you how much that is.) Over-pay your bill and put it into the savings account. Transfer the exact amount of the bill to your checking. This keeps your savings account active, growing, and earning interest. It also creates a float in your savings account, and you earn interest on more money Take the above a step further One person I know pays for everything with a no-annual fee credit card. He deposits all his paychecks into a savings account. When the credit card bill arrives he transfers the exact amount to his checking and pays in full.

Use free calls offered by local businesses
Many times local companies like TV stations, auto towing, radio stations, etc may contract with your cellular provider to offer free calls to their companies. If you need to call these companies, take advantage of these special numbers.

Wait to make calls from a land phone
Many times, the calls made in the car can wait until we reach our
destination.

Try to make your calls on off-peak times
Obviously business or emergency calls don't have much of a choice. Know when the off-peak times start and end. Sometimes your definition of weekends and nights differ from theirs. If you can wait a few minutes to make a call to save money.

Reevaluate your usage every couple of months
Go over 2-3 months of your cellular bill. If you find that the package plan you are paying for includes too many, or worse, not enough minutes, call and change to a different plan.

Ask for a bill analysis
If you are not sure if another plan would be better, call customer service and ask them to do a bill analysis. They will examine your bill for you and compare other plans to see if they can save you money. They can do this at any time, but this is especially important when getting ready to renew a contract

Suspend the cell phone if you're not using it
If you are not going to be using your phone for a while. If you do seasonal work and are done until next year, or you're on a trip without the phone, you can call the company and request service suspension for a period of time. Make sure to request a specific time frame (Voluntary suspension may be limited to a month or so. Check with your customer service rep.)

Remember
that you are still locked into a contract and suspension stops the clock

Call in late payments
If you are going to be late paying your bill, call them and tell them
exactly when you will send it. This may save you from late fees, being
suspended and paying reconnect fees.

 

 

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