Can consumers save money on their cell phone bills?

There are many things on which consumers may spend their money in a given month that they feel is absolutely necessary. These days, that includes cell phones and, more often, smartphones. Unfortunately for many Americans, the cost of doing so is often quite high, but there may be ways to reduce those expenses over the course of a year, and potentially save a significant amount of money.

The fact of the matter these days is that competition among cellular service providers is getting increasingly cutthroat, and consumers can use that to their advantage when it comes to getting the best possible deals, according to a report from Philadelphia television station ABC 6. In general, if people are paying more than $50 per month for their cell service and data, there's probably a way for them to save money by switching to another provider.

What to look for
One of the best ways to save money is to avoid being locked into a long-term contract, the report said. These used to be the standard in the industry and in many ways still are, but competition has become such that many service providers now offer no-contract plans that allow them to move freely from one carrier to the next in search of the best possible deal. In addition, many companies are now offering to buy out existing contracts in hopes of locking in a new customer for some time to come, so exploring one's options - even when under contract - might not be such a bad idea.

In addition, this is an issue that could be particularly important to people who tend to use a lot of data on their phones, the report said. This is where service providers can really end up charging a lot of money, so companies that allow "free" streaming of certain data-gobbling apps like Netflix could be helpful to some. However, those people may also be able to benefit by simply using WiFi networks to stream when they can.

Other areas to be cautious
However, consumers might also want to keep in mind that not all providers use the same technology in the phones themselves, the report said. For instance, AT&T and Verizon do not use compatible technology. Therefore, some people will need to be careful that such a switch doesn't necessitate the purchase of a new phone.

Of course, the tendency among anyone who is able to get a better deal on their monthly expenses is often to just spend that money on something else they may think they need. However, most experts actually advocate that the money saved be put to better use, such as by funneling it into an emergency savings account that can be tapped when financial difficulties arise suddenly and without warning, or by using it to pay down outstanding bills. In either case, this may help to create a much more secure financial foundation for any cash-strapped consumer who is looking to free up a little more money in the long term.

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