How to Slash Your Phone Bill

Cell phone bill out of control? Here's how to save
By Jason Farago,  Newser Staff
Posted Oct 14, 2009 9:30 AM CDT
Camera cell phones, top clockwise, Samsung Memoir, Sony Ericsson C905a, Casio Exilim, Nokia N97, Palm Pre in San Francisco, Tuesday, Aug. 25, 2009.   (AP Photo/Russel A. Daniels)
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(Newser) – Your cell phone plan sounded pretty good when you got that nifty handset, but if you aren't vigilant, carriers can hit you with fees and charges that will bleed you dry. PC World lists five ways wireless companies gouge you, and how to avoid them.

  1. Texting fees: Go over your limit and you'll be charged shocking fees; send just a few and you're burning money. Make sure you have a plan that reflects your actual use of texts, and kill single word texts like "OK."

  1. Two-year contracts: Unless you did it to get an iPhone, you're probably locking yourself into a carrier in exchange for a measly handset discount. Get a one-year contract, or consider a prepaid service, which can offer pretty slick handsets.
  2. Overseas calling charges: Bring your AT&T or T-Mobile phone to Europe and you'll pay more than a buck a minute, even to receive calls. Use Skype, if you can find a WiFi hotspot.
  3. Overseas data charges: Even more usurious—as much as $20 a megabyte while you're abroad, which is roughly the size of a single photo. Pick up a prepaid data package: still expensive, but not punishingly so.
  4. The fine print: Lurking in your contract are all sorts of charges for things you'll never use, such as a "roadside assistance service charge." Read the paper, and negotiate.