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Friday, August 31, 2007

More Cell Phone Frugality

My last few posts were designed to help you cut your monthly cell phone bill. This one is a little different, as within it I consider other ways to be frugal or to save money in the realm of cell phones.

When your contract ends (or a few months before with some providers), you are given the option of renewing the contract which will enable you to get new phones. Everyone gets excited at that time of year, because it means you can trade in that trashy phone that wasn't even cool two years ago, for the coolest phone of the day. If you choose to upgrade, consider upgrading through a dealer rather than through the service provider! Through Wirefly AT&T customers can upgrade and get a Blackjack, Razr (pink, blue, black WITH free bluetooth headset), or a Samsung Sync, and many other phones free after rebates. Through AT&T these phones would cost $100, $50, and $50, respectively. There are some special terms though, check the site for those details.

If you are starting a new contract, sites such as Wirefly, Letstalk.com, Amazon, and others will give you an even better deal for getting the phones through them. You can also consider local dealers, as the face to face contact sometimes helps you to get the deal you want.

Finally, should you keep a cell phone contract, or should you try to get out of the contract and then just pay month to month? Here's my reasoned opinion. If you pay month to month, you are eventually going to need to replace your cell phone anyways. We all use the phones a lot, and they wear out. To keep paying month to month, you would have to buy an unlocked cell phone, which would mean you would pay $100 or more per phone. If instead you upgrade, and renew your contract, you can get the phone for free, and keep paying the same rate per month anyways. Basically, wireless providers charge such high monthly rates, because within your two year contract you are paying for the phone. If they give you a $250 phone for free, that means that just over $10 per month of your service plan is going to pay for the phone. If you provide your own phone in order to stay out of contract, that means you are still paying for a new phone (since that $10 per month is built into the contract price), but you aren't getting that phone. Therefore, unless you are wanting to go month to month for a few months until you change companies, or have some other reason, it seems to me to make sense to stay in a cell phone contract.

I hope these ideas help you be more frugal with setting up, upgrading, or choosing cell phone service!
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All Cell Phone Frugality Posts in this Series: Cell Phone Insurance: Is It REALLY Worth It?; Cutting Your Cell Phone Bill #1: Multiple Lines; Cutting Your Cell Phone Bill #2: Cutting the Minutes; Cutting Your Cell Phone Bill #3: Cut the Frills; Cutting Your Cell Phone Bill #4: TMTM - Too Many Text Messages; More Cell Phone Frugality
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3 comments:

Matthew said...

This is good stuff, I see teens and some people using a ton of money on cell phones. You really do not need the extra stuff.

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