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Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Save On Phones

I have been doing a lot of management with my family phone plan lately and just wanted to share some of the things I have learned to save some money on your bill. I also got some parts of this from a friend who had some shortcuts for these. If you have any other tips, please feel free to comment with your ideas. These are from my dealings with Verizon, but most should apply to other carriers as well.

  • Data. Corporate vs. Personal Data plans. Both offer unlimited data, but the personal one is about $15 per month cheaper. The corporate one is needed if you need to access corporate servers (i.e. Exchange for work email sync). Personal one works fine for things like Gmail and web browsing.
  • Data. If you choose to go with a lower level data plan (like pay-as-you-go), check online before the end of your billing cycle. If you are using enough, you can save by moving up a level before the end of the month to get the bulk discount. Drop back later if you no longer need as much data.
  • Text. If you have enough lines/minutes on your family plan, it may make sense to add the unlimited text. Call support (Dial *611 from your cell phone or (800) 922-0204) and ask for your options. They saved me $5 a month and that increased all 4 of our lines to unlimited texting.
  • Text. If you are not on an unlimited text plan, check online before the end of your billing cycle. If you are using enough, you can save by moving up a level before the end of the month to get the bulk discount. Drop back later if you no longer need to text as much. Not doing this one month cost me an extra $60. You can do that from your phone for free by using: #DATA + Send and you should get 3 text messages from Verizon (FREE)... with the data on mins, text, data, M2M and other stuff.
  • Voice Minutes. Check online throughout the month so you can catch overuse before it costs you too much, but for sure before the end of your billing cycle. If you are using too many minutes, you can save by moving up a level before the end of the month to get the bulk discount. Drop back later if you no longer need to talk as much. You can do that from your phone for free by using: #MIN + Send
  • Friends and Family plans. Some plans have this feature. You choose up to 5 (or 10 depending on the level you have) non-verizon phone numbers that you call frequently and calls to these numbers do not count against your plan minutes. Your home landline should probably be the first one you add.
  • Online. Login to the Verizon wireless website or whoever your cell phone carrier is. You can check all of your current usage and get a list of all calls/text/data used for past billing cycles. You can save this to a spreadsheet. Very handy if you lose or damage your phone and are trying to recreate your contact list (but of course you know that you really should back up your phone).
So there you have my tips for saving a few dollars on your cell phone. I hope they help you, and if so, please say thanks by leaving a comment here. You can also pass along a link to this posting on Twitter, FaceBook or any other social media site that you use.

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