Hidden cell phone fees: Is there something you’re missing? – words Al Woods
Image Courtesy Of Gilles Lambert
How did any of us ever survive before the invention of the cell phone? Today, you are very much in the minority if you do not own a cell phone. The unlimited resources offered to us right in the palm of our hands is unbelievable.
But, the cost of owning a cell phone can be quite pricey. There are some good no contract unlimited plans available out there, but you need to do your research ahead of time. It seems like our cell phone bill fluctuates each month and we don’t seem to notice why. There are some mischievous charges floating around on your monthly bill that you need to start paying attention to, as well as things your cell phone may be doing that you are not even aware of. The same can be said about our smartphone security. We could be allowing other people to benefit from what we are paying for.
Below are some of the extra charges that could be increasing the cost of your bill. Depending on your service plan and phone type, some of these may not exist on your bill, but there is a good chance you will notice some of them.
Keep a Close Eye on “Unlimited Data” Plans
Most of the cell phone companies stay true to their “unlimited data” plans, but there are still some that could be charging you for data that you don’t even realize that you are using. If you don’t currently have an unlimited data plan, there is a good chance you may exceed your monthly limits and see your bill skyrocket. This can be quite frustrating, especially if you have been cautious with your data usage.
You can research the cost of purchasing an unlimited data plan from your cell phone network. Other companies offer a fair usage policy that is outlined in the smallest of print on your cell phone bill. Which, I’m guessing, most of us choose to ignore reading it. That is where they can get you.
The biggest culprit in charging up the data is the usage of our apps. We think that we shut down the apps properly, but in most cases, we are not. And it’s costing us money. Apps may be updating and downloading new features when we are out of the data area, which begins to eat at the data. The use of your GPS could be on at all times and the ability for the phone to check for email updates frequently is also eating away at your data.
To put a halt to this, check out your settings on your phone and look for the “Background App Refresh” feature and disable it. Most phones will give you the option of shutting everything off or just some apps. There are also some programs that you can download on your phone to minimize the use of your data.
This could be one of the first sneaky components chewing away at your data while your phone is sitting in your pocket. Check all the settings on your phone to make sure you know exactly what is running and when.
The need for speed! 4G gives you that speed that you desire. But, it could be coming at a cost to you. Download songs and apps at the speed of lightning. Because of this high speed ability, it will go through your data just as quickly.
You will need to look at your data allowance before switching to 4G. You will want to consider beefing up your data with the addition of 4G because of its quick burn through of your data. You will want to be aware of when you are not in a wireless area. When you don’t have access to WiFi, it is very important that you don’t use programs that will really chew up your data. For example, it would be in your best interest to not stream videos when you are outside of a WiFi area.
And, similarly to what was mentioned above, be aware of what programs are running behind the scenes. Having programs download updates while you are not in a WiFi area can really cost you in the end.
As adults, we can be very careless. Triple that thought if you have children and teenagers that own a cell phone. Salespeople will lure you into buying insurance for exactly those reasons. But, the cost that you pay each month could really add up on you.
Now, you may say it is completely worth it knowing the person who owns the phone. If you do purchase insurance, keep an eye on the fine print to make sure you are not getting ripped off. Keep an eye on claim time frames and if theft is covered in the insurance.
The Guardian suggests putting money aside each month and creating your own insurance plan at home. By putting aside an affordable amount of money, you will have finances available to you to pay for any unexpected cell phone damage. This will require self monitoring. If you don’t feel that you can do that, then trying to find an affordable and worthwhile insurance may be your best bet.
Know What You Are Paying For
This may sound simple enough, but it is time consuming to really figure out how your cell phone bill is being broken down each month. If you feel that you are paying too much, it is worth your time to really break the bill down.
There are many instances where we are not using all the data provided to us or are not using the minutes provided to us. If you realize that you are not meeting those numbers, reduce it on your bill. By reducing your data number or lowering the amount of minutes allotted to you during the month will decrease the cost of your bill.
The same can be said for the opposite of underusing the number provided to you. If you continuously go over your allowed data and minutes, give the cell phone company a call and negotiate a plan. It costs more for you to go over then to increase your number. Avoid getting caught in that situation.
Understand the Job of a Salesperson
It is no secret that a salesperson wants to sell you the best cell phone available and get you to purchase the best plan possible. They are just doing their jobs and want to make money off of you. Don’t fault them for that. However, respectfully challenge them to explain everything they are trying to sell to you.
Have them break down exactly what you are being charged for and what a typical monthly bill will look like. Go into the situation knowing what the phone is going to most be used for and take it from there.
Don’t get scammed into adding extra things that you really don’t need. If they see that you are just not accepting everything they are trying to sell you, they will back off. You need to be proactive instead of being reactive.
Cell phones have revolutionized the world and their capabilities are only going to increase with each and every passing year. We are going to want to keep up with the changing times, but we want to make sure our pockets aren’t taking the biggest hits with the new phones. Be smart and know what you are paying for. The extra time you set aside to really dissect where your money is going can save you hundreds in the long run. And, who couldn’t use a few extra hundred bucks now and then?