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Senior Citizen's Guide to Baltimore

Resolve to Save Money on Cell Phone Bills in 2011

While owning a cell phone has become a basic necessity, owning one can be costly if you’re purchasing your phone for the wrong reasons. While saving tends to top many lists for New Year’s resolutions, consider ways to cut costs on your cell phone bill in 2011.

With the latest versions of Droid®, BlackBerry® and iPhone® all around us, it’s no secret that smartphones are becoming increasingly popular but they are not for everyone. A recent Pew Internet survey studying smartphone use defined the primary difference between a smartphone and a basic messaging/calling phone by application use and internet capability. Coincidentally, the study found that 71 percent of cell phone-using adults are not active users of applications or “apps,” concluding that seven out of ten Americans are paying for features on their cell phones they don’t even use!

Make sure you identify how you use your phone to find the best handset for you. According to a recent survey of approximately 100 attendees at the 2010 AARP conference in Orlando, FL, over half (56%) of seniors age 55 and above describe their phone as a simple, no-frills phone used primarily for calling.  There is no sense in purchasing a phone with the latest bells and whistles if talking is your main form of communication. Plenty of carriers offer straight-forward phones but this step will only help you save if you also choose the right plan for your needs.

If you rarely use your cell phone but keep one around for emergencies and for the occasional text from your grandchildren, a pay-as-you-go plan is probably your best option. These plans allow you to budget how much you would like to spend each month on your cell phone bill. Raising the bar in quality and value in the market, three major pay-as-you-go carriers just recently unveiled $30 per month plan.

One plan for example, offers 1,500 minutes of talk time for $30 per month and includes enough texts and picture or email messages to keep up with family members. Offering multiple simple, no-frills phones priced under $100 to choose from, this plan offers the basic essentials needed to stay connected without breaking the bank.

With so many choices of various cell phones and cell phone plans, it is important to consider which phone and plan fit your lifestyle to determine the best deal for you.

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