Cell phone plans
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Cell phone plans: Are you getting rung up on charges?

While choosing a cell phone can be a daunting task, finding good cell phone plans to go with it can be even more confusing. But careful consideration and planning can save you hundreds of dollars yearly.

Here are some tips to help slash your monthly bill:

1. Take me to your leader

Your first contact at your cell phone company may not get you far. Request a manager or, better yet, ask to speak to customer retention. Play up how long you’ve been a customer. If you’re new to that carrier, mention deals on cell phone plans that other carriers are offering (be as specific as you can). Competition has recently risen a notch with a fourth national carrier option, so you may be able to land a sweeter deal.

2. Time it right

Timing is everything, particularly on cell phone plans. The best times to ride the wave of deals are the back to school and Christmas periods, when carriers fight to sign up new customers. Check out this monthly guide to when things go on sale.

3. Location, location, location!

It isn’t just gas that varies wildly in price by city and province. Where you live may determine what you pay for your cell phone plan. A 2017 report found that Vancouver was among the most expensive three cities in Canada on tier 1 and 2 plans. Provinces such as BC are drastically more expensive than provinces such as Saskatchewan and Quebec. For example, an unlimited calling, 5 GB data plan offered by one carrier costs $65 in BC, but goes for a mere $49 in Quebec and only $45 in Saskatchewan. Shop around! If you are moving to another city for school or work, compare the prices of where you live versus where you are going to see which location offers the cheapest plans.

4. Share the love (and cost savings) with your family

Some family data plans can save you significantly over individual cell phone plans. Just make sure the data limits will be enough for the whole family.

5. Be wary of the free phone

Companies love to tout the free or cheap phones they offer. However, nothing is usually free and a cheap phone often comes with a more expensive plan. Buying your own device will almost always work out cheaper than paying monthly. Try to stick with bring your own device (BYOD) plans.

6. Get connected

Supplement your cell phone plan with free or low-cost calling and texting apps. These will make use of your data and WiFi connections to reduce your costs. Apps like Fongo and Text Now can reduce the amount of minutes and data you need, and can also reduce your long-distance charges. Ensuring your phone’s auto WiFi connection setting is always activated can also cut your costs.

While lack of competition in Canada leaves us with some of the highest cell phone bills in the world, a little research combined with some saving strategies can prevent us from ringing up huge charges.

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