Alert
Close

Multiemployer pension cuts and what you need to know about pension provisions in 2015. Learn more

Highlights

Open

You and Your Town Contest-You could win an AARP RealPad

Contests and
Sweeps

$10,000 Winter Escapes Sweepstakes

Beat the cold and cozy up to a chance of winning $10,000! See official rules.

Driver Safety

Piggy bank on the road - AARP Driver Safety

Take the new AARP Smart Driver Course!

AARP Books

Visit the Money Section

Enjoy titles on retirement, Social Security, and becoming debt-free.

Jobs You Might Like

most popular
articles

Viewed

Save Money On Your Cell Phone

How to pick the perfect cell phone plan — plus 6 more tips to save

1. Research the best coverage in your area

Before you even buy a phone or sign up for a plan, you need to figure out which cell phone company has the best coverage where you live, work, and travel, says Jen O'Connell, author of The Cell Phone Decoder Ring and a wireless expert.

Most providers can check your coverage by zip code. But you need to test the reception, warns Gikas. Signals are easily blocked by everything from cell-tower obstruction to your home's building materials.

"The one place where people have the most trouble is inside their home," he says. Ask neighbors if they are happy with their service; maybe even place calls from your home using friends' phones.

2. Buy the phone that fits your budget

Finally, the fun part: test-driving phones. Research models online, then try some out in a store. Again, only buy as much phone as you need. Planning to text? Decide between a QWERTY typewriter-style keyboard or a touch pad (it's a matter of taste). And take the phone outside to ensure you can clearly see the screen in the sunlight.

If your heart is set on a tricked-out smartphone although your budget favors a plain Jane, consider a refurbished model. These days it's easy find pre-owned devices at up to 75 percent off. Buy only phones that come with a warranty. Verizon would sell us a pre-owned Motorola Droid that retails for $559.99 for $29.99 (with a two-year contract). Or skip the absolute latest cell phone model (which may have only minor tweaks to button shape or color) in favor of last year's and save a bundle. A final tip: All four major carriers let you return a phone, no questions asked, during a 14- to 30-day trial period. Maximize that time, and test your phone everywhere you go. If not, you could end up with a very expensive paperweight.

3. Say no to insurance

If you lose your phone or send it through the washing machine, it's gonna hurt to buy a new one. But do you really need to pay from $5 to $7 per month to insure a $200 to $500 item?

4. Waive activation fees

They're typically $35. If you ask, sympathetic sales staff will sometimes cancel the fee — especially to seal the deal.

5. Turn the data off

Smartphones continue to download data every few minutes. Unless you have an unlimited-data plan, switch off your data feature if you won't be using the phone for a while.

6. Pay zip for overseas calls

Make use of Freephone2phone.com. Look up a local access number on the service's website; dial that number; listen to a 10 to 12-second ad; then call to any of 54 countries (mostly landline numbers) for free for 10 minutes max.

Laura Daily is a contributing editor for AARP The Magazine.

Topic Alerts

You can get weekly email alerts on the topics below. Just click “Follow.”

Manage Alerts

Processing

Please wait...

progress bar, please wait

Tell Us WhatYou Think

Please leave your comment below.

The Cheap Life

Jeff Yeager Cheap Life Ultimate Cheapskate AARP YouTube web series save money

Catch the latest episode of The Cheap Life starring Jeff Yeager, AARP's Ultimate Cheapskate. Watch

Discounts & Benefits

From companies that meet the high standards of service and quality set by AARP.

Life insurance: you are covered rain or shine

Exclusive annuities for members from AARP Lifetime Income Program from New York Life.

AARP Credit card from Chase

Members can get cash back rewards on purchases with the AARP® Credit Card from Chase.

Homeowners Insurance
Member Benefits

Join or renew today! AARP members receive exclusive member benefits & affect social change.

Rewards for Good

Your Points Balance:

Learn More

Earn points for completing free online activities designed to enrich your life.

Find more ways to earn points

Redeem your points to save on merchandise, travel, and more.

Find more ways to redeem points

Advance your skills. Transform your career.

Explore your learning possibilities.