At a time when we're all looking for places to cut in our monthly budgets, here's an interesting thing: Many of us are paying more for our wireless phone service than we did last year, and we make sure to pay our wireless bill on time every month.
Letstalk.com, a wireless product and cell phone service comparison web site, surveyed 500 of its customers and found that a majority are paying more for their wireless bills this year than they did last year, mostly because they have increased services. Many have switched to smartphones, which require data plans, so they can check email and use the web for other services. More than half (56 percent) said they are paying more this year, and a new smartphone and the services that they require were the main reason (45 percent), though increased text messaging (20 percent) and talking more on phones (19 percent) followed.
Also, 75 percent said they pay their wireless bill on time because they don't want to risk not being able to use their phone to keep in touch with family, friends and work contacts.
Delly Tamer, CEO and founder of Letstalk.com, says wireless bills may be going up because other bills are going down as we use cell phones for more than just making calls. Survey respondents definitely believe this bill and service is too important to ignore: 64 percent said they need their phones to stay connected to family and friends, 40 percent say the phone is crucial to stay in touch with employers, and 28 percent said they rely on them because they gave up their land lines.
Still, no matter how important cell phones have become in our day-to-day lives, don't pay more than you need to for them or for monthly service. When shopping for phones, comparison-shop via sites such as LetsTalk.com and phonedog.com, and check out reviews there and on Yahoo! Tech. Make sure to ask which phones are free with two-year service -- you'll be surprised to find that a phone that cost $150 one year ago may now be free because new phones are unveiled all the time.
Some other tips:
Review your plan to make sure you are signed up for the right one that fits you or your family's needs. If you don't need unlimted texting, don't pay for it. And vice versa, if you find you or family members are text-messaging more than you expected, switch to a texting plan that will cost you less. Also, make sure you are not paying for services you don't need or want.
Don't sign up for an insurance plan unless you have good reason to believe you or your teens will damage or lose phones often. The plans often do not cover every mishap that befalls a phone, and you can end up paying for a service that does not deliver what you need in the end. If you do opt for insurance, read the fine print so you will not be disappointed.