Top Cell Services and Savings

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One user explained, "Between my wife's and my cell phone, we're paying close to $200 a month."

Another said, "Of course, it's ridiculous. It's absolutely insane. But you can't live without a cellular phone."

It's an expense nearly everyone puts up with, but Consumer Reports says there are several ways to save.

Rosalind Tordesillas with Consumer Reports says, "The traditional two-year contract may not be the best choice for value.

Initially you get a big discount on the phone you pick. But moderate users may be paying a lot more for service compared to a prepaid plan."

Consumer Reports' staffer Monique Little cut her monthly bill by more than half switching to a prepaid plan.

Monique explains, "It saves me about $100 a month."

In a recent survey of more than 58,000 Consumer Reports subscribers, prepaid Straight Talk earned high marks. The company advertises unlimited talk, text, and data for $45 a month.

Even if you're in a traditional contract, a good way to save is to check your bill to make sure you aren't paying for more data than you use.

Rosalind says, "Of the people we surveyed with a monthly data allowance, nearly 40% reported using no more than half of it."

But if you usually burn through your data allowance, rein in those data hogs - streaming video, music, and gaming.

Also - make sure your Wi-Fi connection is always activated, which lets you surf and stream for free in Wi-Fi areas. But never use an insecure connection for sensitive tasks like making purchases or paying bills.

Consumer Reports also advises checking to see whether your employer participates in discount plans with any of the big nationwide cell-phone carriers.
You can find out by searching for "employee discounts" on your provider's website.

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