03-29-2014 04:20 AM
It’s March, and as Americans fill out their tax forms, they’re asking the eternal question: “Where did all of my money go?” This article is the third of our four-day “Pay Yourself Forward” series, offering tips and insight on how saving money on small, everyday expenses can turn into a pile of savings for your long-term goals.
Right up there with death and taxes, an eye-popping smartphone bill seems like an unavoidable certainty of life these days. It doesn’t have to be, though. Follow these tips and you’ll slash the costs and fees connected to your calls, texts and data downloads.
Switch off cellular data
Charges for cellular data are the silent bank account killers. Apps for mail, music, video, shopping, weather, maps and games all gobble up gigabytes, and you may not even realize it. Know your data plan and stick to it to avoid overage charges. On most networks, it takes only 30 seconds and a free text message to check how much data you’ve used during the billing cycle. Additionally, most smartphones give you the option of switching off all cellular data or controlling the settings for individual apps.
Use free Wi-Fi
If you’re in a mall, airport, coffeehouse, restaurant or any public area, check to see if you’re within a complimentary wireless hot spot before you use your phone. If so, connect immediately.
Call less, Skype more
With apps like Skype® and FaceTime®, you can connect with friends and family for free – as long as you’re using Wi-Fi and not a cellular network. The same applies for text messaging on apps like Viber® and WhatsApp®.
Shop for carriers
Loyalty with friends is great, not so much with your cellular carrier. Shop around for better deals, and don’t just look at plans offered by the big names. As long as you still live in the same region, federal regulations allow you to keep the same phone number when you switch carriers. Some local providers offer cheaper plans and more responsive service. The big key here is to ask for a provider’s coverage map and compare it with the places where you’ll be using your phone.
Consider a contract-free, pay-as-you go service. Nearly every major carrier, and many smaller ones, now offer these types of plans. The advantage to contract-free is that you can get unlimited service for an extremely low monthly rate. The disadvantage is that buying a new phone is much more expensive because most traditional contract plans give you a deep discount off the retail cost of a handset.
Check out the rest of the retirement savings infographics.
Financial advice provided by USAA Financial Planning Services Insurance Agency, Inc. (known as USAA Financial Insurance Agency in California, License # 0E36312), and USAA Financial Advisors, Inc., a registered broker dealer.
You must be a registered user to add a comment. If you've already registered, sign in. Otherwise, register and sign in.