The Pros and Cons of a Cellular Phone Contract
Whenever your previous cell contract is up, it’s always important to consider your options before jumping into a new contract. There are a lot of upsides and downsides to getting into a contract, after all. And sometimes it’s all about the way that you do it. Here are a few tips for doing it right.
One of the first considerations you should look out for is how much you text. This is the part of a phone contract that people often gloss over. But if you sign up for a contract, you’re stuck with whatever the rate for texting is. Some contracts will allow you to add in a plan later, but with others it might not be so easy. Sogenerally, this comes down to habit. You have to ask yourself exactly how much you will be texting over the two years that you have the contract. If you know that you text a lot, then it’s probably a good idea to make sure that you have an unlimited texting plan, or at least a plan with a hefty amount of texts and a good rate for additional texts. Otherwise, a lot of plans will really gouge you on texting.
You can end up paying way more than you ever thought possible for this. Even just one word answers to questions can really add up if you’re paying half a dollar per text. This is one of the things that people tend to forget about since it ends up getting buried in the fine print, but it’s worth reading about to be sure. If you don’t know how much you text, it can help to look at your records with the phone company to see how much you did it last year, since that’s probably a good indication for how much you will do it next year.
Another option people forget about a lot is prepaid. If you aren’t exactly sure how often you’ll need your phone, it can make a lot of sense to instead just load a phone up with the minutes you know you’ll need at the beginning of the month. That way, you don’t end up wasting money when you have a month where you don’t need your phone at all. It can be a good idea to try out something like a prepaid phone first for a while to see how often you actually use the phone before you commit to a long contract with it.
One of the advantages to having a phone or cellphone contract is that your payment will be set month to month, and it’s usually far cheaper if you have a high volume of calls. For example, if you aren’t on contract, and you need to suddenly have a really long conversation for hours on end during busy hours, you could spend a lot of money if you’re not on contract. But if you are, then all you spend is minutes, and it will be the same rate no matter what.
The problem with contracts though, is that you are stuck to one provider. This means that it’s really important to thoroughly do your research ahead of time. If that provider has bad coverage in your area, then a contract is a really bad idea unless you do a lot of travelling, for example. And you are stuck with your contract even if you can’t use the phone anymore, such as if it becomes broken.
But, if you keep all of this in mind, and look for the low rate contract deals out there, you can definitely end up ahead.
Audrey Thompson is a freelance writer working on behalf of the fasts.org.