Close to half of all Americans enjoy the benefits of a smart phone but many fail to consider the increased costs to maintain it. While a traditional cell phone could cost as little as $20 per month, a family of four can easily pay close to $200 per month for data alone. If you have a smart phone or are considering one, here are five tips to lower your bill:
Save on the hardware — The best things in life are free, and the same goes for smart phones — if you know where to look. Check out websites like FatWallet or DealCatcher, which post coupons and discounts on devices and services.
Save on the plan — Ask yourself if you really need that unlimited data plan. The average smart phone holder uses only 256 megabytes of data per month, but many end up paying for plans of 10 gigabytes or larger. Review your usage to get a general picture of your monthly data consumption and make adjustments to your plan accordingly. As with any purchase, don’t pay for something you won’t use.
Be prudent with apps — Individual apps are generally inexpensive, but they can add up, especially if your child has access to a smart phone. Many game apps for kids are free to download but loaded with “in-game apps” that require payment for upgrades. Either block your kids from purchasing or make sure they know not to download anything that costs money without your permission.
Reduce data-using behaviors — Checking your email or Facebook account 30 times a day is convenient, but is it worth the price? Some carriers charge as much as $15 for each gigabyte you run over, so be as sparing with your usage as possible.
Rethink the insurance — Generally, the cost to replace a lost or stolen device is higher than the cumulative cost of maintaining an insurance plan. Do the research. You may find it makes more financial sense to go without an insurance plan.
— Courtesy U.S. News & World Report