Monday, October 06, 2008

Times Are Tough, Cell Phones Are Free

Just about all of us are feeling the pinch these days. The business forecasts you see on TV indicate that we're heading into a recession, not out of one. That suggests that it's time to batten the hatches and start conserving cash for tough times to come. Here's one idea on how to keep hundreds of dollars in your wallet and still get the cellphone service you want and need.

Chances are that you do your cell phone shopping at an official carrier store or one of the big box office supply stores or electronics retailers. Regardless of where you drop in to check out the phones, these stores all have one thing in common. They're likely going to charge you for your cell phone.

So? Isn't that the price of getting a new model phone? You buy the phone and sign a contract for monthly service, right?

Nope. Not if you want to get the best phone deals, you don't. A little understood standard in the wireless business is that the cellular service plans cost the same regardless of where you buy them. But the price of the phone is up to the dealer. You can pay $500. You can pay $50. Or you can pay nothing for the phone. Your monthly service plan will cost the same, depending on how many minutes you need and what add-on services you sign up for.

So why would you not want a free phone? It's the same phone regardless of where you get it. You'll pay the carrier the same price for service every month. But if you shop smart, you can pay a lot less for that cell phone. You can get many models for free. Some even have cash back rebates. How's that sound?

OK, let me give show you some examples of popular phones that you can get for free or with a rebate right now. By the time you read this, the offers may have changed. That's life in the cell phone biz. But there are always some models on special offer with prices at $0 to -$50. That's $50 cash back. So here we go as of today...

What you need to do is check the current specials at Cell Phone Plans Finder and then search for the phone model you want if you don't see featured it on the front page. Or just browse around and see what catches your fancy. Your big problem is going to be picking just one.

Well, actually, you don't even have to do that. You can get a family plan and have all sorts of different phones on it. Potential savings? Hundreds? Thousands? It all depends on how sophisticated your tastes are and how many phones you order. Now stuff that money you save under the mattress or put it in the bank before you go blow it on something else.

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