A recent survey showed that a massive 85% of Americans now have cell phones. With the average consumer now so dependent on this technology, the telecom companies are really raking in the cash, but what about the rest of us? How is this reliance affecting us financially and what can we do to ensure that we are getting the biggest bang for our buck?

With just a few small few steps we can all get all our bills in order:

1. Make sure you are on the right price plan

Being on the wrong price plan is a mistake that we have all made at least once. We get over-excited in the phone shop and before we know it we’ve minutes, texts and internet usage coming out of our ears! Seriously, how many of those 1000 free texts that you paid for last month actually got sent? Half? A quarter? Even less?! Why pay for something that you are not using? Many providers will let you change your plan if you have been with them for a certain period of time. Give them a call (if only to get rid of some of those minutes!!) and see if you are eligible for a downgrade.

2. Use your messenger service

A lot of cell phones have now integrated a messenger service into their handsets. This allows people who have the same handsets to instant message each other without charge. Certain brands of smart phone have really taken off to the extent that many of your friends and family will share the same make as you, so if you have this feature on your phone then be sure to make the most of it. In my case it’s the Blackberry.

3. Always check your bills

How many of us actually bother to check our phone bills? Who wants to sit down and meticulously go through lists of telephone numbers and figures! This may not be the most exciting job in the world but it will be 2 minutes extremely well spent as you check that you are receiving your full entitlements in terms of pre-arranged discount packages. You will also see where you are being charged additional amounts if you are going over your allowance. It may be that it was the last 3% of minutes of calls that cost you 50% of the bill, and that is information worth knowing!

4. Use a landline for local calls

As landlines have seen a rapid decline in recent years, many of the deals offered have become increasingly generous. Out of sheer habit we now reach straight for our cell phones to make outgoing calls, even when we are just as close to a landline! If you have a landline with a generous deal (it could be free local calls or perhaps you can select x number of landline numbers to call free of charge at any time) then be sure to make full use of it!

5. Find the right phone insurance

With smart phone handsets costing many hundreds of dollars, you need to ensure it offers adequate protection but check the cost your provider is going to charge for Cell Phone Insurance before agreeing to the price plan, as over the duration of the contract this seemingly small addition could make a huge difference!

6. Turn off your internet when traveling!

We all know someone that’s been stung by roaming charges whilst traveling abroad. In some parts of the world the industry is clamping down on these exorbitant charges but always err on the side of caution and make sure your internet is switched off before leaving the US.

Dan Holt – I work with the cell phone insurance website www.mobileinsurance.co.uk. I am also a keen technology enthusiast and pride myself in my ability to always get the most for my money, particularly where communications are concerned!

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