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Consumer
Fees pile up for cell phone users
WASHINGTON (10/19/09)--Looking for extra cash? Adjusting your cell phone habits may be your best bet. While $50 is the average monthly bill for the more than 255 million cell phone users, according to the U.S. Census Bureau (reuters.com Oct. 12) many pay more than they bargained for. How you use your cell phone may affect the total cost each month. Depending on a user’s service contract, accessing the Internet from a Web-enabled phone, using text messages, and even calling directory assistance can mean additional costs beyond the agreed-upon monthly service fee (cbsnews.com Oct. 8). Here are three ways to save on your monthly cell phone bill:
* Call online.Limit cell phone use by making calls through a Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) service. You must have access to the Web through a digital subscriber line (DSL) or a cable modem, but the costs per call are typically much less expensive. Some providers even offer free service. Costs, call quality, and technical requirements vary depending on the provider. * Shop around.Looking for a cell phone plan? Go online to compare devices, contracts and services. Be sure to understand how making changes to your service will affect the contract. Visit with sales personnel for the carriers you’ve identified to ask specific questions and test phones to narrow your choices. This will help you find the best service and cell phone for your needs. * Track usage.Check your cell phone provider online and review your account often. Typically you can view minutes used during the current billing cycle and plan accordingly to avoid additional fees. Many cell phones also have settings that allow users to see how many minutes they have used, and even alert users when they reach a certain amount.
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