Do you regularly rack up charges from exceeding your maximum monthly data allowance or number of minutes? Tired of accumulating long-distance charges to make international calls? Looking for a new phone or plan? Keep the following in mind to avoid paying for excessive charges or useless extras.
Live together, save together
If you have multiple family members, see if you can merge their plans onto one account. With many providers, subscribers on the same account benefit from perks like unlimited texting or calling between account members. This is particularly suitable for a large family or if you keep in touch with relatives often.
Some cell phone service providers offer a data usage notification service. They will send you a notification warning you about your data usage before you exceed your monthly cap. If you really don’t trust yourself to manage your own usage, consider switching to a prepaid plan. This way, you’ll only use what you’ve already paid for.
Personalize your plan
It may be tempting to get an all-inclusive plan with unlimited texting and country-wide calling. However, you can still avoid overage charges if you have a smaller plan. Simply select the right add-ons according to how you use your phone. Worried about not having enough data? Remember to switch off your data connection anywhere you have Wi-Fi access. (Why waste your paid data when you can surf the web for free and save it for later?). If you’re browsing at home, in a café or at work, you can likely take advantage of this.
Take a moment each month to check your usage habits, including texts, calls and data. You’ll then avoid paying for something you don’t actually need. Are you planning on going on vacation? You’ll probably use more data and make more calls while traveling. Therefore, consider getting an add-on just for the length of time you need, without switching to a more expensive plan. Do you make a lot of long-distance or international calls? Finding a provider that offers a long-distance or international calling add-on can help you avoid paying full per-minute rates.
Skip the extras
Sometimes, simpler is better. Insurance might sound like a great safety net to invest in if you should damage or lose your phone. But consider this first: what are the chances of that actually happening? Sure, some of us may be particularly clumsy or absent-minded. But if that doesn’t apply to you, paying for any repairs may be outweighed by the cost of phone insurance. If you do decide that insurance is worth it, keep in mind that it will be more expensive for newer phones.
You can also minimize your monthly charges through your bill itself. Though a few dollars per month for a paper bill may seem insignificant, it adds up in the long run. Another opportunity to save is by signing up for automatic payments. (This is particularly handy for the particularly absent-minded folks mentioned earlier, if you happen to consider yourself one!). That way you’ll never have to worry about forgetting to pay and then getting charged a late payment fee.
Know your rights
Have you heard of the CRTC’s Wireless Code? If not, it’s worth taking a few minutes to check it out. As a mobile plan subscriber, you are entitled to various rights when purchasing a phone and any accompanying services. For instance, you can cancel a phone contract for free after 2 years, regardless of its length. This document also limits additional data and roaming charges and allows for a trial period for your new phone.