Going over your cell phone limits is a quick way to blow your budget. Fortunately, there are many small changes you can implement that will make it easier to stay underneath your minute caps. The following tips can help you create a smart and effective budget that you can stick to.
#1: Set the alert
Make sure your phone sends you an alert when you are approaching your minute limit. Some phones have alerts that you can set in the settings menu, or you can use a provider application or a third party app to track your minutes and send the alert. Just make sure to set the alert to let you know when you are approaching your limit so you still have some minutes left to budget to get you to the next billing cycle.
#2: Opt for a prepaid service
If sticking to your limits is too much of a willpower strain, consider opting for a prepaid service. These will cut you off automatically when you reach your limit, unless you make the informed decision to purchase a small block of extra minutes. This ensures there are never any surprises on your next bill.
#3: Customize your plan
Customize the plan so you only get the services you need. Opt for plans with more talk minutes over data, for example, if you are an infrequent user of the data on the plan. In other words, only pay for the services you need.
#4: Check out your other limits
Some plans allow you to switch out usage so that you have more freedom in how you use the plan. For example, if text and talk are separate, and you tend to talk more than text, see if your provider will lower your text allowances in exchange for more talk minutes.
#5: Take advantage of WiFi
Did you know that you don’t need to use your minutes to make calls if you are connected to a a WiFi network or your Android or Apple phone? Apple phones automatically support WiFi calling, while Android supports it if the carrier allows it. Even if it isn’t supported, you can use certain apps to make calls on the WiFi network and save your minutes.
#6: Look at sharing plans
Friends and family plans can be a major money saver if there is someone on your plan that doesn’t use that many minutes. Generally, these plans provide more minutes the more participants, but these minutes are shared. This aids the heaviest users without penalizing light users.
#7: Use a landline or computer
Don’t use your mobile minutes when you have an alternative. You may use up minutes checking voicemail from your mobile, but there will be no charge if you dial into the mail box from a landline. The same goes for data – don’t call information and waste minutes to find a restaurant’s hours if you can look it up online and you have an active WiFi connection.
#8: Negotiate your contract
When your contract is up you generally have two choices – continue to enjoy your old phone plan out of contract, or go back under contract. If you opt to go back under contract, make sure you negotiate with the carrier to get a plan that provides more minutes at a good cost.
#9: Look for hidden discounts
There may be some hidden discounts available that can enable you to afford more minutes. Many employers have agreements with carriers to provide employee discounts. You may also qualify for a discount if your are a service member, alumni of a certain school, credit union member, or belong to certain clubs or organizations.
There’s no reason to go over your minutes every month. A little bit of planning combined with research and helpful tools can keep you on track.