Text messaging has to be one of the best inventions of the century. You can quickly reach a friend, relative or client, and in a less obtrusive way then calling them up. You can even join contests, send forwards, donate to a good cause, or get daily updates from a favorite store or website—all through the texts.
However, text messages can hijack your cell phone bill. In the United States, customers feel it two-fold, and are charged for sending and receiving messages. Even in Asia, where text messaging is considerably less expensive, costs can take you by surprise. Here are some money saving tips for keeping text messaging costs under control.
Money saving tip # 1: Calculate your real text messaging use.
Cell phone companies offer ‘bundled packages’ that let you pay a set amount for a certain amount of text messages. The bigger the bundle, the cheaper the cost per text.
You waste money, however, by getting a cell phone bundle that’s bigger than what you really need. However, getting a bundle that’s too small—and then paying for the excess text messages—also ends up being more expensive in the long run.
So, calculate your real text messaging use by observing yourself for a two-week period. Many cell phone models let you monitor the number of texts (just set the counter to ‘zero’). Or, you can use a pre-paid account and see how long one card lasts you.
Money saving tip # 2: Kick the ‘text-happy’ habit
Many text messages are actually unnecessary. Do you really need to send this message right now, or can you just talk to the person later on? If it’s a long text message (which will often send as two or three separate messages) maybe it’s better to email it—which also reduces the risk for miscommunication—and simply text the person to notify him or her of the message.
Money saving tip # 3: Examine your phone book.
Do most of your contacts come from a particular cell phone provider? Then you might as well sign up for that one, too, since many cell phone companies give rock-bottom rates for texts sent within their own network.
Money saving tip # 4: Ask about hidden charges.
If you’re signing up for a post paid account, ask about the costs for texting outside of the network, roaming (if you travel frequently), and the cost per text after you exceed the package.
Money saving tip # 5: Avail of free text message services
Go to the website of cell phone companies. Some have a page where you can send a text message for free. You can also use the messaging services of Google or Yahoo, or go to websites devoted to this service.
Money saving tip # 6: Get a text-only plan
If you use text messaging a lot, you may want to discontinue your voice calling plan or get another phone and use it for a text-only plan.
Money saving tip # 7: Ask kids to pay for their own phone bill
You can give your child a cell phone limit (or a set number of prepaid cards) and take any excess charges out of their allowance.
Photo from e-marcom.net