Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Cell Phone Plans the Budgeting Student Should Consider

Budgeting is a must for college students to make their dollars stretch. This means sitting down at the beginning of every semester, coming up with a plan for the term to allocate income based on fixed and variable expenses, and stashing away funds for unexpected occurrences. Unfortunately, variable expenses can be huge budget busters; a big one is the infamous cell phone bill.

Fortunately, the iPhone’s ability to track minutes and texting is a plus for students because it enables them to get a handle on the charges incurred. Certain usage tracking applications alert the user when thresholds are close to or have been exceeded; this prevents them from racking up unnecessary charges.

The usage tracking mechanisms are useful but students should also consider going with a carrier who offers affordable options. Students with iPhones can choose from providers who offer prepaid or contractual plans. C Spire Wireless and Cricket both offer prepaid plans for the iPhone. Neither provider requires a contract but C-Spire’s monthly plan is $60 while Cricket’s plan is $55. C-Spire restricts the user to 500 voice minutes a month and Cricket’s voice minute usage is unlimited. Both companies offer unlimited text messaging and data usage. The only major disadvantage of choosing Cricket is that their base price of the iPhone is significantly higher than that of C-Spire ($649 vs. $199). 

AT&T, Verizon, and Sprint also have plans for the iPhone but require the consumer to commit to a two-year contract. All three companies offer the phone for $199, unlimited text messaging, and 300 MB of data. However, both AT&T and Sprint limit voice minutes to 450 per month. The three plans are relatively close in price per month: AT&T for $79, Verizon for $80, and Sprint for $79.99. Usage preferences determine which contractual option is optimal.

Clearly, the iPhone offers the best of both worlds with the usage tracking application along with affordable prepaid and contractual plan options. With the popularity of text messaging, students are able to select affordable plans that offer unlimited texting options. However, students often have other expenses that are variable in nature so when establishing a budget, it is best to not only be realistic, but find ways to shed costs whenever possible. If the student is still in a bind after reducing costs and ends aren’t being met, it’s never a bad idea to seek part-time employment or solicit the help of their parents. 

Author Bio
Melisa Cammack is a newly graduated university student who loves freelance writing, especially where technology is concerned. While still in university, the service she received with her iPhone 5 on Bell.ca is incomparable to any other carrier she’s been with.

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