Prepaid phones are becoming more and more popular because people are looking at options other than expensive long term contracts. According to a recent article in the New York Times, so-called “flagship” phones have a starting cost of $600 even without a contract. Prepaid phones are a great option if you don’t want to have an expensive start-up cost, you have middle to low credit or you’re traveling abroad.
Although buying a prepaid phone might be cheaper than a next generation smart phone, you will have to be creative in order to get the most out of your plan. You can quickly run through your minutes and the cost of constantly topping up will eventually catch up with you. Here are a few tips to consider:
Let your family and friends know ahead of time that you are on a prepaid plan. Don’t send a text message; send an email and cc everyone that you might call in the near future. This will help others from making random calls to your phone or staying on the line longer than necessary. Another way to clue them in on your calling needs is by calling them first and hanging up the line before anyone picks up. Most carriers won’t charge you for a call that didn’t go through, but your friends and family can return that call for a smaller fee. Some prepaid phones even allow for free incoming calls.
Another helpful tip is to limit the amount of time that you use your prepaid minutes. You can download apps to your phone like Skype, Viber and Whatsapp. These apps take up lots of storage space, but they will reward you in the amount of prepaid minutes you will save. These services have some free calling features and often their rates are quite competitive with the other major phone service carriers. For example, you can call your family on the prepaid plan, but keep in touch with your friends through a cheaper mobile application like WhatsApp. You’re sure to earn more cool points that way.
Just because you have a prepaid plan doesn’t mean that you can dodge data storage and usage charges. A recent review of smart phone prepaid plans by ComputerWorld noted that most prepaid plans start with 2GB to 5GB of high speed data usage. If you’re accustomed to spending time on Facebook, Instagram or Youtube, then you’ll run through that data plan rather quickly. You can make the most of your data plan by limiting the amount of time you spend online. That is easier said than done in this digital age, but with a bit of discipline, it can be done.