Managing Your Cell Phone
The title says it all “managing”. For some we really have trouble with this part. We understand the term cell phone, but the managing part, well I think you need an MBA or in this case a CPMBA (cell phone management & business administration – made up of course). Seriously, have you every read your contract? Do you look at the details of your bill? Or do you just pay what you’re told? Or did you prepay?
Step one, select a cell phone and options that you will actually use and that don’t cost extra. Some plans will say it is free, but make sure it is not a trial period that you have to remember to opt out of. Once you do decide on a phone with features that you will actually use, budget it. For example, text messaging is a very popular extra. If you decide on a certain number of text messages, don’t exceed it! Or better yet, tell your friends to call you and have a real conversation, most likely this is included in your plan. Other extras like internet, music, games, email, television, car washing, house cleaning, just kidding, are not entirely “necessary”, especially if saving money is the goal.
Now, back to the plans talk. Sometimes you can get a deal on the price of a phone by signing up for a longer contract period. If contracts aren’t your thing, then a pay as you go/prepay is a very frugal and pocketbook saving option. Plus, when you’re minutes or texts are up, no more phone action until you reload.
Let’s say you are shopping for a family plan, first, I would check out providers online, second, “check out”, not sign up or buy, the phones and plans in-store. The advantages to this are; 1. you get to touch and feel the phones, 2. price compare online v.s. in-store v.s. rebates available, 3. hear and see the features that you read about online and make sure they match up. Now once you have done this, figure out what you really want or I should say need in a phone for yourself and family. Be realistic! Then call in, yes you read right, call in to an 800 number for whatever phone carrier you’re considering. The reason for this, are stores usually cannot bargain and the internet has no one to bargain with, so they must offer the posted price. By calling in you can negotiate the deal you are looking for. I have done this every year or two and it works. If you don’t get a person willing to deal, dial again, you will get someone who wants your business. One more thing to look out for, phones that require data plans with purchase. The phone may be cool, but that extra $30+ dollars per phone each month, not so much.
I hope this small pieces of advice helped. Good luck and happy shopping!
Congrats you’ve received your CPMBA (not a real degree remember)!