How to lower your cell phone bill

By Mark Bullock - bio | email

MONTGOMERY, AL (WSFA) - Have you ever opened your cell phone bill in horror? Depending on the number minutes you use, the cost can be astronomical. So WSFA 12 News went to an industry insider for tips to lower a cell phone bill.

Chris Black advises corporations how to lower their communication costs. So we asked him how a consumer can do the same. First, he says if you use your phone a lot, look into those unlimited plans.

Just make sure your carrier includes the services you need. Some charge extra for things like text messaging and email.

Even if you're not a heavy user, buy more minutes than you think you'll need. After all, those 45-cent per minute overage charges can really add up.

Tip number three: use the same carrier your friends do. With the mobile-to-mobile feature, your calls to them will be free!

"I use over 4000 minutes a month and I actually get billed for less than a thousand," Black said. "That's because everybody I do business with is on my carrier."

Black says you should also check your bill for fees for services you don't need like roadside assistance. And whatever you do, don't call 411 from your cell phone.

"A lot of people don't realize when you pick up that phone and dial 411, its nearly double what a land line costs," said Black.

To find free information phone numbers, including numbers that provide other stats (like sports scores and movie times), click on the web extra video on this page.

If your worried about your children running up your bill, there are family plans that limit the minutes they're allowed to use.

Finally, go ahead and pay the monthly insurance premiums if you're still under contract. That way, you won't have to pay to replace a damaged handset. But if your contract is up, ditch the insurance. Most carriers will give you a discount on a new phone if you agree to re-sign.