Cell Phones & Plans

Whether you're trying to save money on buying a new phone, looking for the cell phone plan that gives you the best balance of value and cost, or trying to find ways to cut down your monthly cell phone bill...this is the section for you.

In addition to these specific cell phone tips, be sure to review our general tips for saving money on Electronics, where we cover topics like comparison shopping, product reviews and more.


  • Compare cell phone plans
    There are no shortage of options when it comes to cell phones and cell phone plans. Be sure to shop around to get a good idea of what you want and what the deals and incentives are. A perfect place to start your search for a cheap cell phone [...]
  • Regularly evaluate your cell phone plan to find savings opportunities
    Billshrink will analyze your bill or use information you provide to evaluate your plan, and give you personalized tips to save money. Or, you can do it yourself! Each month, look at your cell phone bill and note the number of minutes used. If you [...]
  • Avoid cell phone overage charges
    Get into the habit of checking your remaining cell phone minutes toward the end of each month to ensure you don't go over (and get hit with those hefty overage charges). Most providers make this easy enough to do either by logging into your [...]
  • Don't call 411 directly from your cell or landline phone
    Although it's easy to dial those 3 little numbers when you have a question, you're going to pay for it (sometimes as much as $1.99 per call). Rather than dialing 411 directly, call 1-800-GOOG-411 or 1-800-Free411 to get the same info without the [...]
  • Beware of extra charges with cell phone use
    Remember when cell phones were just used in case of an emergency? Now, texts, video calls, ringtone and video downloads and other features are all there for your entertainment, and to increase your bill. Limit the use of these services and [...]
  • Text from your smartphone for free
    If you are paying for data services and can send e-mail from your phone, then you can "text" that way too! Just send an e-mail to a special address and it will come through as a text. Then when someone responds, you'll get an e-mail back from them. [...]
  • If you already have a contract, consider extending it, upgrading it or even switching providers
    In addition to comparing cell phone plans, you'll also want to consider the pro and cons of renewing your contract versus switching to a new provider. If you've been with your current provider for awhile, you might be eligible for a free or [...]
  • Check for a corporate discount on your cell phone plan
    Check with the cell phone provider to see if your company gets a discount. Even if it's a personal phone--and not one you use for work--you still may be eligible for discounts. If the cell phone provider doesn't have your company listed as one that [...]
  • Figure out how many minutes you need
    Take a look at your current cell phone plan to check: 1) the average number of minutes you use per month 2) what time of day you typically use those minutes Pick your new cell phone plan accordingly. For example: most people want a plan that [...]
  • Cell phone plans with rollover or unlimited minutes are best
    Cell phone plans that allow you to keep your un-used minutes (often called rollover minutes) will save you money on your monthly bill. That way, if you have a 'light' month, all those un-used minutes get rolled over to the next month when you'll [...]
  • Get a free or cheap cell phone
    Many cell phone companies offer free or substantially discounted cell phones when you sign up for a specific service plan. Having said that, make sure you pick a cell phone plan that works for you since that's where the real money is spent. A free [...]
  • Save money on cell phone accessories
    Unless you're getting a great package deal, don't buy accessories at the same time you buy a new cell phone. Instead, shop around. You may be able to find the same accessories for a cheaper price at Amazon or a discount store like TJ Maxx. If you [...]
  • Family cell phone plans are a bargain
    You’ve probably heard the slogans to add an additional line for just $10 more. We'll, we're here to tell you, this is a great idea for families who talk to each other a lot. Share a plan and minutes and you’ll save over buying two or three [...]
  • Prepaid cell phone plans are great...sometimes
    If you only use your cell phone occasionally, a prepaid plan is probably the cheapest option. They can be great for kids or seniors who want the security of having a phone, but won't be using it frequently. Prepaid plans are also great for [...]
  • Two year contracts get you better deals on cell phones
    Since cell phone companies prefer a longer commitment, they offer better deals when you're willing to sign up for a two-year contract rather than a one-year contract.
  • Keep your cell phone plan simple
    Cell phone plans offer every option under the sun: insurance, road side assistance, special ringtones, games, video, internet and so on. The cheapest option is to keep it simple. The second cheapest option, is to add on only those services you [...]
  • Skip the insurance on your cell phone
    Along the same lines as our "keep it simple"recommendation, phone insurance is rarely a good investment. If you pay $5 per month, that's $60 in a year. Then add in a $50 deductible and the "free" replacement phone just cost you $110 [...]
  • If you text a lot, add Unlimited Texting to your plan
    If you're paying for every text, the charges add up quickly--especially if you're sending and receiving them all the time. See how much your provider charges for unlimited texting. Chances are, it'll be a lot cheaper. If the unlimited option is [...]
  • Ask about free incoming texts
    Most cell phone providers will charge you for both incoming and outgoing texts. If you plan to get an unlimited text plan, this isn't an issue. If you don't, however, it's worth asking your potential provider what their policy is. While you can [...]
  • Email rather than calling
    Ok, this tip falls into the 'common sense' (instant messaging, facebook, twitter, etc.) are all free and they all help you keep in touch just as well as calling. Start typing and save yourself the cost of those valuable cell phone [...]
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