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5 Easy Ways to Slash Your Cell Phone Bill in Half

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The topic of how to save money on cell phone bills is a crucial one, since many of us are tired of paying a small fortune for new cell phones and wireless service. Help is on the way: With a little extra effort, you can lower your bills and streamline your services so that you can spend your [hard-earned extra money on other things.

Not convinced? These easy tips can save you hundreds per year without sacrificing the convenience and features you love.

1. Shop around for phones.

A recent study shows that a whopping two-thirds of cellphone users buy their phones at their carrier’s store. Folks often assume that they’re getting a better deal as an incentive for signing up for service there. The truth? Researchers were recently surprised to find that prices for the same exact phones are often lower at Target, Best Buy, Sam’s Club and other stores that sell electronics. So before you buy your next phone, compare prices at Shopper.com and Shopping.Yahoo.com to ensure you’re getting the best deal.

2. Find a cheaper service plan.

Haven’t compared prices in a while? Don’t assume that just because your current carrier was the cheapest six months or a year ago, it’s still the lowest-priced plan around. Most companies offer new plans and new-customer incentives all the time. Take a look at the latest offerings at MyRatePlan.com to see who’s currently got the lowest prices for service.

3. Ask if you qualify for discounts.

Many cell phone carriers offer rates that are 5 percent to 10 percent lower for teachers, students, military members, union members, seniors and folks who participate in certain groups or work at certain companies. Have a family plan? If one person qualifies for any of these discounts, typically everyone on the plan gets it, too. However, most times, the sales representative won’t bother to bring up these potential discounts, so be sure to ask about them.

4. Eliminate contracts.

According to a just-released survey of the best and worst cell plans, respondents were happier with no-contract/prepaid cell phone service — for instance, from Straight Talk, Net10 and TracFone — because they cost less (you can get unlimited voice/text/Web for around $45), have fewer restrictions and no termination fee. Find the best prepaid plan for you and your family at PrePaidReviews.com.

5. Don't pay for what you aren't using.

The average cell phone user pays for six hours of unused minutes a month. Contact your carrier to find out about lower — and cheaper — usage plans.

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