Cell Phone Plans
Though everyone in your family doesn't necessarily need a phone, cell phones are a convenient, affordable way to stay connected and can be real sanity savers. Find a family plan that is right for both your budget and your family's needs.
Whether you currently have a family plan or not, you need to shop around and compare providers to find the best plan for you. When comparing companies, don't just consider the monthly rates; also take into account the cost of adding more phones or more minutes. Ask the provider:
Are you satisfied with your current cell phone provider? If not, shop around. Talk to friends who live in your area to gauge their satisfaction with their cell phone companies. You don't want to add more lines to your current plan if your reception is shoddy and you can't get a hold of your kids when you need to do so.
If you don't think your child is responsible enough to monitor his or her minutes each month, consider a pre-paid cell phone instead. A pre-paid phone allows you to purchase a certain number of minutes ahead of time. When the minutes run out, your child won't be able to use the phone until you add more. Pre-paid phone plans cost more per minute than other plans, but are an easy way to control spending. Keep in mind, the minutes on most pre-paid phones expire, so if you don't use them, you lose them.
Before signing up for a family plan, truly understand what you are getting for your money. You need to find out if the advertised monthly minutes are really anytime minutes. Some providers will advertise a larger number of minutes, but a big portion of those minutes can only be used on weekdays during the daytime -- when your usage will likely be the lowest.
When choosing a family plan for your cell phones, consider your family's lifestyle, number of phone calls and text messages, and the amount you want to pay each month. With a little research, you can find the right family cell phone plan for you.