Right now a lot of people are tightening belts concerning money and one way to save cash is by using a pre-paid cell phone instead of post-paid. Here are some tips to maximize minutes and minimize hassle.
1. Check voicemail from another number
On many pre-paid phones it chews up minutes checking your voicemail. Solution: Check it from another line. Call your cell phone number, wait for the greeting, press star (*), enter your voicemail password then press pound (#). You’ll be able to log right in and take all the time you want without using any minutes at all. And you can keep your phone free for use while checking voicemail.
2. Do not register the phone with the provider’s web site
Pre-paid phone companies strongly urge you to register the phone with their web site for one reason – to spam you. Don’t fall for the convenience of buying minutes online if you can. Buy your minutes with cards from local retailers instead.
And no, you don’t save any cash buying online compared to retail because you still have to pay the tax no matter what method you use, so you might as well buy the card(s) in the store.
3. Avoid using text alerts from other providers
You lose either time or "text allowance" each time you receive a text message alert. Don’t bother with these.
4. Do not "tie in" your phone with your instant messenger.
Many instant messenger services allow you to "tie in" or "link" your IM account with your cell phone. For those with unlimited messaging this may be fine, but for pre-paid, not so much. Sure, it may be convenient but it will chew up time/allowance for text messages fast.
5. Buy an identical phone just for the battery.
Your pre-paid phone was most likely inexpensive. If it was a Motorola W175g for example, the phone probably cost you only ten dollars.
Buy a second phone just for the battery. When you get it, don’t bother activating it. Just plug it in to the wall and keep it on charge for a fresh battery. When the battery in your primary phone runs out, swap out the batteries and ta-da, extra battery when you need it.
STRANGE BUT TRUE: If you were to buy a battery outright for that same 10-dollar phone, it can cost up to 30 dollars. Why bother when the entire phone is 10 and you get the same battery with an extra "charger" (the other phone)?
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