It seems like in our day and age, a cell phone or two per household is a near necessity. But it can also become a mighty expense. As our goal always is, we want to help you find ways to save in every area of life and so we thought it was time again to talk about cell phone plans and pricing. Before diving into cell phone savings, there are 5 things that you need to know and have figured out even before you start looking at phones or plans. If you don’t have this part figured out, you may get confused and locked into a plan that you really didn’t need.
With that in mind, check out these tips to help you evaluate cell phone plans and find the best value for your household.
Know What You Need
Before you start looking at cell phone plans, you need to figure out which services and features you will need. Do you need a data package? Do you plan to make a large number of phone calls and will you be making any international calls? Write down a list of everything you need in a cell phone plan and mark the items that are must-haves and the items you can take or leave. This list will help you compare plans and evaluate which one is best for you.
Compare Apples to Apples
When looking at cell phone plans, you can’t make an accurate comparison between two or more plans if they are totally different. Strip down each plan to basics that will meet your needs then compare prices and fees. After you have the basic plans to compare, you can start adding extra features and services and making more comparisons as you add things.
Individual or Family Plan
Do you want an individual line plan or a family plan? A family plan will take multiple lines and bundle them into a package. If you have a need for more than one line, a family plan is actually a better cost savings than having multiple individual plans.
Contract Plans vs. Pay As You Go
Customers who don’t want to be locked into long-term (1-2 year) contracts on their cell phone service may prefer to look for a prepaid or a “pay as you go” plan for cell phone service. With a contract plan, you can usually upgrade to a newer phone at a deeply discounted rate, but if you’re not hung up on having the newest, fanciest phone, a prepaid or as you go plan may actually be a better value.
How Much Data Do You Need?
Data charges tend to make up a big chunk of your bill on a cell phone plan. How much data do you really need? Look at each plan carefully as overages on data can become rather expensive. What will you be using data for — to access Facebook, email, watch YouTube videos, look up driving directions, etc.? Find out what your options are if you need to change your data package at any time during the billing cycle. Will there be additional fees? Will you have to wait until the end of the cycle?
Evaluating cell phone plans as you make a decision about the best value for you means doing your homework. Do a careful comparison of all features, fees, charges, and allowances on any plan you are considering before you make your decision.
Be watching for more on this series as we share ideas to save money on cell phones and cell phone plans!