Tips for saving on cell phones

March 23, 2011 9:07:29 PM PDT
(If you feel your cell phone bills are getting out of control, there are steps you can take to lower your costs.

"It's really smart to review your minute use, to review how many texts you're using and to review your data plan," explains Andrea Woroch, Consumer Savings Expert for and several other saving sites. "Because some people end up getting something that they don't even use and end up spending an extra $20 to $30 a month."

Once you know which features you're really using, you might find that a pay-as-you-go plan will cost you less than a monthly contract. According to the New Millenium Research Council, that's the case for about 25 million Americans.

"They're also offering waterd-down versions of their plans, so maybe you get the voice and data, but no text. Or maybe you get the text and data, but no voice. So you can compare the plans and see where you can cut some savings down," Woroch says.

And you may not have to pay anything to text. Text Free with Voice is a downloadable app for iPhones or even the iPod Touch, and Chomp SMS is an app for Androids. Both allow you to exchange free texts with other people who have the app.

With many providers, if you don't sign a contract, the price you'll pay for the phone itself increases. But there are ways of saving on phones, too.

Search the web for unlocked phones -- which can be used on different service providers.

And also look for pre-owned or refurbished phones.

"Pre-owned just means that someone maybe had it for 30 days and then decided to return it," Woroch says. "But they still have to sell it as pre-owned or refurbished and so you can save half the cost of a new phone."

You can also trade in your old cell phone and get a discount on a new one on sites like Cell Trade USA or GreenPhone.

Woroch also suggests getting together with friends or relatives to take advantage of "Family Plan" discounts, checking to see if the company you work for offers a discount for employees, buying a phone and/or plan at a warehouse club, and using coupons and/or gift cards to purchase your phone if you shop at retailers like Best Buy or even