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Cell Phone Deals
Finding Decent Cell Phone Deals
Back when cell phones were the size of bricks, it seemed improbable that they would ever really take the telephony world by storm; ordinary landline phones seemed safe, except maybe from that newfangled Internet thingy, and even it had to use a phone line to connect. Now even that's no longer true, cell phones are smaller and cooler than Captain Kirk's communicator, and people are starting to get rid of their house phones altogether.
Whether you care to go that far or not (and it's becoming increasingly possible) you've got to admit that it's handy to be available for calls just about anywhere. Yes, you have to remember to keep the battery charged, and a cell phone is far easier to misplace than a landline phone, but those are mere quibbles in the face of utility and style! What isn't is the great variety of both cell phones and cell phone deals out there, but with a little foreknowledge and an understanding of what you need, you can navigate that minefield safely enough, and save money in the progress.
Do your homework first
Unless you're independently wealthy, then you probably care about how much money you spend on your cell phone deals. That means you'll need to research the various cell phone deals available in your neck of the woods. Just because someone mentioned a great deal they got last year, don't expect it to still be available; the cell phone arena changes constantly, especially as the population approaches cell phone saturation.
If you expect to do a lot of talking every month, consider one of those cell phone deals where you get unlimited amounts of time for a fixed price. These are especially useful for teenagers or independent entrepreneurs. The price will be significantly higher than fixed-minute plans, and higher still if you want to add specialized technology to your plan. The price will also go up if you add phone lines, but you'll often catch a break when you call other phones in your network. If you don't need unlimited minutes, shop for the best possible fixed-rate plan for about the amount of time you normally talk, and be sure to pay the extra fee for long distance so you can ditch your home phone. Finally, look for cell phone deals that give you a free phone with the plan you sign up for, and preferably a rebate too. If you're willing to sign up for as long as three years, you may get a nice chunk of change back.
Pay as you go
If your cell phone usage patterns are unpredictable, or if you just hate long-term contracts, consider getting a prepaid phone system. No contract is required, and plans often start for as low as $30 per month for unlimited local calling with nationwide providers like MetroPCS. Unlimited long-distance calling starts just a few dollars higher, and you can generally add all the bells and whistles for $45 bucks or so a month (some optional features are extra). Many prepaid providers are willing to go the extra mile to get your business, so they may offer free activation and the first month free as well -- and all this without a contract.