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Cell phone bill too expensive? Here's how to lower it

Farnoosh Torabi

Farnoosh Torabi

If your cell phone plan includes talk, text and data, you’re probably looking at an average annual bill of $1,800, according to Consumer Reports. And in New York, taxes, alone, reportedly make up one third of our cell phone bills.

While some costs are fixed, here are 5 ways to trim your monthly bill and save.

Size It Right

Most of us overestimate our cell phone usage and buy oversized plans. In fact, we waste more than $330 a year for unused text, minutes and data, according to BillShrink.com, a cost-savings Web site. If that’s you, check out BillShrink to help find a better fitting plan.

Bank on Friends & Family Plans

A “Friends and family” plan can often include anyone you know – a roommate, partner or neighbor – and the savings are significant. For example, a T-Mobile family plan starts at $60-per-month for two people, whereas an individual plan starts at $50 a month. The savings: $240 a year.

Use In-Network or Mobile-to-Mobile Minutes

What five people do you call the most? If you share the same carrier with these folks, your calls could be free by signing up for an “in-network” minutes plan with your provider.

Pay as You Go Prepaid

Phones typically cost 10 cents per minute plus a small daily access fee each day the phone is used. It’s a smart option if you’re on a tight budget, or if you’re a parent who needs to control your child’s cell phone usage. Just make sure whatever plan you choose allows you to rollover unused minutes to the next month.

Text For Free

Text messages can really add up if you’re not careful. While unlimited plans can run you $20 a month there are ways to text for free. Apps like TextFree Unlimited and textPLUS 4, for example, lets iPhone users send and receive unlimited texts for free. Blackberry users can also message fellow Blackberry users for free using the “BBM” or Blackberry Messenger app. 

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