Personal Finance

10 Minute Finance Fix: Change Your Cell Phone Plan

The 10 Minute Finance Fix series focuses on topics you can learn in ten minutes or less to help improve your personal finances. In this 10 Minute Finance Fix, you will learn how reviewing your cell phone plan and changing it can save you money each month.

Cell phone companies have created pretty good position for themselves. They require you to guess how many minutes you’re going to talk on the phone each month and then pay them based on your estimate. Some months you’re be woefully short of the number and give them free money, other months you will be way over and it will cost you a lot more money than you anticipated. It’s a classic heads I win, tails you lose scenario – either way, the cell phone company comes out ahead.

If you don’t review your cell phone usage on a regular basis, you should. You may be using far more minutes than you should be, or using far fewer.

If you’re using Verizon or T-Mobile, you can have your minutes in your web browser window. Just check out the Verizon Minutes Used Firefox plugin or the T-Mobile Minutes Used Firefox plugin to track your minutes. Both are quite useful for keeping track of how many minutes you’ve used without any effort. These both require that you’re using the Firefox web browser – there is no alternative for IE users.

Take a detailed peek at your cell phone bills. Make sure you’re not getting dinged with overage charges or other such charges. If you never see any and are using far fewer minutes than you’re paying for, that’s also a concern.

Call up your cell phone provider and ask for a plan change. If you’re going over your minutes every month, it’s almost always cost-effective to pay a bit more each month for a plan that includes those minutes. On the other hand, if you’re nowhere near your limit each month, then you can save some cash by dropping your total minutes down a bit.

I usually check this every six months or so; it takes about three minutes to figure out if a change is needed and about two minutes more to make that change. In just five minutes, I can often save $60 over the course of six months, which is a very healthy time investment.

While you’re at it, you might also drop any extras from your plan that you don’t use. I send maybe ten text messages a month, but at one time I was paying for unlimited text messaging. Dropping this down to a very small allotment of messages saved me some additional cash.

Reviewing your cell phone usage and then making changes to your plan could save you a considerable amount of money.