Cell phone bills are already expensive enough, but unfortunately most of us can’t live without our cell phones so we are at the mercy of our carriers. There are steps you can take to ensure you aren’t wasting your hard earned money on charges that are completely avoidable. Many of us might find ourself in the habit of not checking our monthly bill, especially if we view our bill online. It is important to take a close look at your bill so you can identify unwanted charges. You would be surprised by what you can find on your cell phone bill. Below we have highlighted 5 instances where you can save yourself money. If you want to cut down your bill and keep your money in your pocket the don’t do these 5 things!

Don’t Use 411

Calling 411 to get information is a huge waste of money. The companies are charging $1.99 per call these days. These charges can add up quickly and really increase your bill. There are other alternatives to using 411 when you need a phone number or address. As a matter of fact, there are a variety of free services out there that won’t result in a higher bill. Here are three options available so you don’t have to rack up your bill with 411 charges:

  • FREE 411: 1-800-FREE-411 (373-3411) If you don’t mind listening to a 10-second ad first, Free 411 lives up to its name, giving you free business and residential listings (which can optionally be delivered via text message).
  • Google: (46645) Google provides a text message based service which allows you to get all kinds of information. All you do is send a text message to the number 46645 with the information you wish to obtain. For example, if you are searching for a Target in Columbus, Oh you would create a text message with the following information: Target Columbus Ohio. You will then receive a text message back with all the Target locations in Columbus Ohio. To narrow down your search you can use the zip code instead: Target 43212.
  • GPS Navigator: If you use a navigator app that gives you turn by turn directions, most apps I’ve used will also give you contact information along with the address of the location. There are many GPS Navigation apps that are free if you want to avoid paying for this service too.
  • Web Browser: Now that smartphones are taking over this world, most of us have access to a full web browser. You can search for anything via the internet and avoid a 411 charge.

Don’t Cancel Your Contract

Canceling your cell phone plan while still under contract will result in getting hit with the dreaded early termination fee. This fee can cost you several hundreds of dollars. Verizon Wireless has an ETF that will cost you $175 up to $350 for advanced devices. You can avoid this fee by waiting until you are out of contract before canceling your service. There are a few ways you can get out of your contract early and avoid the fee, but this is not the norm.

Don’t Go Over Your Minutes

Cell phone companies are charging $0.45 per minute when you go over your allotted minutes. At that rate, if you go over your minutes your bill could easily double or triple. If you exceed your minutes just by 100 then you are looking at an extra $45 tacked onto your already high bill. You can avoid this by monitoring your minutes. Every company allows you to check your account online or from your device. If you discover you have gone over your minutes and you call your cell phone company before your billing cycle is up, they will usually work with you. Often they will be able to change your plan for the current month, allowing you to avoid going over your minutes. It’s always better to make the call before you billing cycle is up, as opposed to when you have already received a bill showing extra charges for exceeding your minutes.

Don’t Forget To Suspend A Lost Phone

In the event your phone is lost or stolen, be sure you call your cell phone company and ask then to suspend the line. If you don’t do this and your phone ends up in the wrong hands, you could end up with unexpected charges on your account. If your phone is missing, most companies will go back and cover any unwanted charges that occurred in the last 24 hours of the phone missing. However, if you wait a week to notify your carrier, chances are they will not cover a weeks worth of charges. Carriers even have 24 hour hotlines available for you to report your phone lost even in the middle of the night. Don’t forget to do this or you could have a high bill on your hands.

Don’t Sign Up For Text Subscriptions

If you have ever signed up for a text subscription where you receive updates like horoscopes, sports scores, ringtones, etc. then you know you will get hit with a monthly fee. Sometimes people sign up for these things by accident, not realizing they are going to get charged. I have seen charges ranging from $9.99 to $29.99 a month for these subscriptions. Often you will see t.v. commercials asking you to text a certain word to a 5 digit number and in return you will receive some sort of information like your horoscope. If you read the fine print at the bottom of the screen you will see the subscription details that show how much you will be charged monthly for this service. It is a complete waste of money, especially since you can get apps for free that provide you with all the same information. If you ever receive updates to your phone on a daily or weekly basis then you have probably signed up for one of these services. You can stop the service by responding to the message with the word STOP.

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