You’re Probably Overpaying for Wireless Service But It Could Be Your Fault

We’ve all complained about the cost of our wireless bill at some point. While the service provider is likely the target of your wrath, maybe you should look in the mirror.

One of the interesting findings in Consumer Reports’ latest survey on cellphone satisfaction was that many customers haven’t done their due diligence before buying a phone and signing up for a contract. For instance, the consumer magazine says, more than one-third (38 percent) of the 58,000 people it surveyed are using only half, or less, of their monthly data allotment. Signing up for a smaller data pool could save you money.

CR has a number of other cash-saving suggestions. One is to hold off buying that hot new phone. Most prices fall not long after a device debuts. For example, if you bought the Samsung Galaxy S III from Sprint when it first came out, it would’ve cost you more than $200 up front. When the S4 arrived the S III price was cut in half, and now you can get it for free if you sign up for a two-year contract.

Another suggestion?: Consider prepaid. While pay-as-you-go plans used to bare-bones and come with limited service, that’s changed. Prepaid providers now have more smartphones, Consumer Reports noted, and some offer fast 4G connections. You’ll likely come out ahead by paying only for what you use.

And be careful about add-ons. Cellular carriers might offer things like navigation, GPS tracking of your kids, and insurance. Consumer Reports encourages you to consider those offers carefully because you might be better off paying $1 per day for maps and directions, for example, only when you need them, rather than paying a $5 navigation fee every month.

Follow senior online managing editor @Craig_Galbraith on Twitter.

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