How to Choose a Cell Phone Plan?

Pay more to pay less is my Rule of Thumb when choosing a cell phone plan. The nature of the cell phone industry and rate plans (monthly cell phone calling plans) is if you don’t pay more to pay less then you will end up paying more and getting less.

Why Pay More to Pay Less

The old let me start with the cheapest plan and I'll upgrade if I find I am going over my minutes is definitely out. The reality is you aren't going to want to renew or extend your two year cell phone contract after being in your cell phone plan for a few months, nor are you going to want to pay more to technically pay less. So the first thing you want to do is look at the cell phone plans that are higher than the entry level plan which is usually 450 minutes a month. If you do the math, 450 minutes a month divided by 20 days a month, as you most likely have nights and weekends included which won’t use your peak or daytime minutes when you are talking on Saturday and Sundays. So a 450 minute cell plan is basically like 22.5 per day. I know you are like I am not going to talk on my phone 22 minutes a day everyday, but unless you are on one of Sprints Free Incoming calls, your minutes are being used whenever you make or receive a call and are generally rounded to the nearest minute. So if you talk 1 minute and 5 seconds you are charged for 2 minutes. Who really talks a minute or less anyway? So your child calls everyday to say they got home and that takes up 4-6 minutes and then you call your spouse everyday to say that you are on your way home from work, then that adds another 4-6 minutes, then you call in to check voice mail for the calls you missed when you were in the store or in appointments or in a poor coverage area or on another calls and that takes up another 4-6 minutes. So now you could already be at 15 minutes a day and you have not even spoken to anyone else. Additionally, peak or daytime minutes usually start at 6 am and last until 8:59 pm so that is also a very long day.

Over the Top Overcalls

The overcall rate if you were to go over your allotted cell phone plan minutes is about 35 cents per minute. So let’s say for example you had a 450 minute plan and you used your phone for just 1 phone call or 3 minutes a day extra for half the month (10 days). That would be 10 days x 3 minutes x .35 minute overage which would equal $10.50 in overcall fees. While it doesn’t seem like much, you just paid $49.50 for 480 minutes when you probably could have simply upgraded to the next plan on the rate card which is $49/month and gotten 600 minutes (or an additional 150 minutes/month). Then you could comfortably use your phone each month and have a predictable bill instead of trying to be disciplined and cut calls short to try to stay within your allotted plan minutes.

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NOTE: If you are talking to the same person throughout the day like your spouse or your child then you should strongly consider a family plan, meaning 2+ phones that share a cell phone plan that shares minutes and also provides unlimited calling to one another. It may cost you somewhere around $70 a month but will be very well worth it. Because then it won't matter how many times a day you talk to each other or how much you are calling each other, you won't be paying anything extra.

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