Welcome to “Ask Stacy,” a short video feature answering money questions submitted by readers and viewers. You can learn how to send in a question of your own below.
If you’re not typically a video watcher, give it a try. These videos are short and painless, and you’ll learn something valuable. But if you can’t deal with video, no problem: Just scroll down this page for the full transcript of the video, as well as some reader resources.
Today’s question is about finding the best cellphone plan.
I used to be confused about how to shop for cell service, which I firmly believe is exactly how the industry prefers it. They want us paralyzed so we’ll keep mindlessly shelling out the bucks and sticking with the same vendors, year after expensive year.
As it turns out, however, picking a cellphone plan isn’t all that difficult. Here’s the step-by-step, along with a place where you can quickly shop for the best deals.
For more information on this topic, check out “The Best-Kept Secret for Saving Big on Cellphone Plans” and “Here’s the Cheapest Cellphone Plan You’ve Never Heard Of.” Then, head to our Solutions Center for a cellphone comparison tool and see how easy it is to find a better deal.
Got a question of your own to ask? Scroll down past the transcript.
Don’t want to watch? Here’s what I said in the video
Hey, gang, and welcome to your money Q&A question of the day. I’m Stacy Johnson, your host, and this question is brought to you by MoneyTalksNews.com, serving up the best in personal finance news and advice since 1991.
Today’s question comes from Chris. Chris says:
“Cellphone plans are very confusing. How can I find the best one for me?”
Speaking of cellphones, tell me if this sounds familiar: I hardly ever text, watch video, or anything like that on my phone. My wife, on the other hand, is always on her phone. Always. She’s posting to Facebook. She’s watching videos. She’s on Snapchat. So, I use almost no data. She uses boatloads.
Anyway, back to Chris’ question.
Finding a cellphone plan seems complicated, but I’m gonna make it super easy for you right now.
Three steps. First, how do you use your phone? Are you only occasionally looking at the internet, watching video, texting or sending an email, like me? Or are you, like my wife, on Facebook all the time, or watching videos? That’s the first thing to know.
Step two, where are you using your phone? Me, I’m basically like Howard Hughes. During the week, I’m right here in my home office and rarely leave the house. Even on weekends, I’m a homebody unless my wife drags me out for dinner. Since I’ve got Wi-Fi at home, I’m using that and not cell data.
If you’re using your phone mainly at home or at work where there’s a Wi-Fi network, you may not be using much data either. Look at a few cellphone bills. See how much data you’re using.
Now, on to step three. Once you know how much data you’re using, go to a phone comparison site. We’ve got one here at MoneyTalksNews.com. Click the link, tell the search how much data you’re using, and you’ll see plenty of potential plans.
Don’t try to pick a plan from ads or TV commercials, because the best deals are the least advertised. Don’t try to figure it out by talking to other people, because their phone habits may be different than yours.
Remember the three steps: How do you use your phone? Where do you use your phone? Then, use a comparison website. Before signing on the dotted line, however, one final step: Check out coverage maps to make sure you’ll get good service where you live.
Chris, I hope that answers your question.
Let’s close with our quote of the day. This comes from Steven Richards:
“The discontent and frustration that you feel is entirely of your own creation.”
Food for thought. Now, make it a super profitable day, and I hope you’ll meet me right here next time!
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The questions I’m likeliest to answer are those that will interest other readers. In other words, don’t ask for super-specific advice that applies only to you. And if I don’t get to your question, promise not to hate me. I do my best, but I get a lot more questions than I have time to answer.
I founded Money Talks News in 1991. I’m a CPA, and have also earned licenses in stocks, commodities, options principal, mutual funds, life insurance, securities supervisor and real estate.
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