A prepaid phone plan is a great way to keep your mobile communication costs from sky-rocketing out of control. It’s also a great choice if you’re traveling abroad. Just as this New York Times article points out, most pre-paid plans starts as low as $40 dollars a month. You might want to avoid the major carriers if you’re really trying to save money. The top cell phone service providers often offer prepaid services that look good on the surface, but hook you into larger costs down the road. As one C.Net author points out, “There are some catches you should be aware of before you ditch your old plan for a low-cost one offered by your carrier.” Here are some tips for stretching out those precious prepaid minutes.
1. One of the best ways to avoid going over your minutes or burning through them too fast is to let your friends and family know that you are on a prepaid plan. Most prepaid plans either charge you a nominal fee for all calls or a small per minute rate. To avoid going over the limit, send a text to your contacts and let them know that your plan is only for emergency use. Some phone services offer off peak calling times at cheaper rates. You can tell your contacts to reach you specifically during these times and you will save a bundle.
2. Another way to make your prepaid minutes last longer is to only receive incoming calls. Some prepaid plans don’t charge you anything at all for incoming calls and texts. You can call anyone you want to get in touch with, but don’t let the call go to voicemail. Be sure to disconnect the call first. Then, when your friend or family member calls you back, you can benefit from a free call. This only works with an agreed upon plan between yourself and the people you’re contacting. Remember that there is no guarantee that a random person will return a missed call.
3. You can stretch out your prepaid minutes by using mobile apps that don’t incur usage charges on your prepaid plan. Skype, for example can allow you to make calls and texts in certain circumstances without charging you extra on your prepaid account. You can also use Viber and WhatsApp to contact your friends and family outside of those coveted prepaid minutes.
4. Last, but not least, you can simply avoid using your phone. There are other ways of getting in contact with people. You can arrange for predetermined times to meet up and communicate online through Facebook or Twitter. You can access these sites on your laptop and keep the prepaid minutes for emergencies.