Tips to save on your cell phone plan

July 14, 2009 12:11:37 PM PDT
A recent survey finds that as the recession deepens, as many as 60 million Americans are trying to cut cell phone costs.

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It is a necessity in today's connected world, but cell phones can be very expensive. Figuring out how to save can be confusing; consider that the four major carriers offer 210 plans and those plans have optional add-ons.

"Matter of fact there is about 10 million combinations of add-ons and plans that you can come up with among just the four national carriers," said BillShrink.com founder Schwark Satyavolu.

Satyavolu created BillShrink.com to cut through the confusion:

"You can either import your bill or manually estimate your usage," said Satyavolu.

Then the computer does its thing analyzing your usage and comparing, in this case, more than 7 million plan combinations. It even takes into account signal strength. The result: one customer could save $830 over two years by switching plans. Satyavolu says most people can save.

"On average, we find 8 out of 10 people are paying too much for their wireless service, often by $300 or more dollars," he said.

For customers who use a cell phone sparingly, prepaid plans can be the best way to go. There's no contract and no early termination fee.

"With a prepaid plan, they could go with $20 a month if they chose to and they can save a lot of money," said Best Buy's Genaro Alvarado.

Another tip: you can avoid those extra charges for dialing information; instead call 1-800-FREE-411 or 1-800-GOOG-411. It doesn't cost a dime.

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