Talk is cheap…or may be not if it’s a cell phone.

I know, I know….you’re locked into a contract. Well, that won’t last forever; and then you have some choices. Of course, you can pick out the latest phone and start another two-year contract. Or you may also want to consider how much you’re paying for that “free” phone. You might want to take a look at your cell phone and consider how you’re using it.

More and more cell phone service providers are offering plans that may allow you to reduce your monthly expense without compromising services offered or quality of the signal. (Quality of signal depends upon the phone and the area in which you spend your time. Check out for comments about the different carriers sorted by zip code.) Maybe you don’t text, spend a lot of time on the phone or surf the web.

Let’s say that you want your child or parent to carry a cell phone for emergencies. You can spend as little as $4.99 for ten minutes of time per month on the Sprint network, the Kajeet service plan, or pay $10 per month and

$.25/minute on the ATT network with H20 service pan. Perhaps you don’t want to limit your voice and texts, and only occasionally send/check emails or surf the internet with your phone. Both MCS & Walmart’s Straight Talk offer unlimited voice and text; and MCS offers unlimited data, but limits the transfer of data at 4G LTE speeds depending upon your choice. MCS is $40-60/month; and Walmart is $45/month.

Beware that the voice coverage is for domestic calls. International calls are extra; however, you can get unlimited coverage for an extra $5 monthly for Mexico only, and for an extra $10 monthly you can get unlimited international calls with MCS.

Perhaps GPS is important to you? MCS offers a package for $5 per month.

Some plans may require the purchase of a compatible phone. There’s a price range of $60 – $299 in the following article, PC Magazine’s The 10 Best Cheap Prepaid Phone Plans You’ve Never Heard Of,2817,2375644,00.asp. The Walmart phone only requires the purchase of a $14.88 sim card.

The costs begin to add up pretty quickly. Obviously not everyone needs to change her or his cell phone carrier. My goal is to make you aware of your choices, especially the choices that you pay for every month after signing a multi-year contract. Spending less and saving more is about making conscious choices and redefining “need” and “want.” And if the choices you need to make are not obvious to you, or you and your partner, I can help as an independent hourly certified financial planner. If you found this blog post helpful, please let me know.