5 monthly add-on features that you can probably go without to save yourself some money

5 monthly add-on features that you can probably go without to save yourself some money
At this point, it’s anyone’s guess as to when the economy will turn around, but as we’ve seen over the last couple of years, people are more conscious about how and on what they spend their hard earned money on. In the wireless industry, we can sort of see the same thing playing out, as more carriers are moving away from yesterday’s all-you-can eat methodology with data plans, and instead, adopting tiered ones to better stabilize their network capacity and grow profits. Yet, we somehow get very comfortable with items regarding our monthly cell phone plans, and even worse, we overlook some of the add-ons that have been slowly dissolving the money from our pockets.

Well folks, we implore you all to check out your monthly statements and see what you’re being charge because you can probably save yourself some money and use it elsewhere. Similar to what we saw with the advent and proliferation of text messaging, a lot of people decided to move down to a lower minutes base plan to accommodate the new add-on to their accounts, but the move actually saves money in the long term. Knowing that, here are some monthly add-on features that you were probably sold on at the time of buying your snazzy new device, but in all honesty, you’re simply throwing your money away seeing that there are better alternatives.

Text Messaging

Okay, you’re probably scratching your head after reading about our spiel in the paragraph above, but seriously, you’re probably not aware of this thing called Google Voice. Assuming that you’re sporting a modernized smartphone of some sort, we’re certain that you’re on some kind of data plan. Therefore, you ought to cancel that add-on text messaging plan and simply rely on Google Voice to send messages to people. Sure it lacks MMS for now, but you never know what’s in store for the future. And did we mention that Google Voice is free and offers unlimited texting?! ‘Nuff said.

Monthly GPS Navigation

Looking back a few years ago when feature phones ruled the landscape, many people took to the liking of voice guided turn-by-turn directions from their GPS enabled phones. Back then, it was easily regarded as a luxury only reserved for those with bottomless wallets, but as we know all too well, that’s no longer the case anymore. Heck, even the most basic of basic smartphones can get free navigation. On one hand, you have great free services like Google Maps for Android smartphones, which can even store maps in the event there’s a loss of data connection. Although it’s not quite as intricate, Windows Phone users have Bing Maps as an option. Furthermore, there are a host of one-time payment GPS apps that offer extensive functionality – such as TomTom, Magellan, and Navigon. So why don’t you just drop that extra $10 per month add-on for things like AT&T Navigator or VZ Navigator?

Cell Phone Insurance

Yes, we know that it’s peace of mind for those unfortunate events, but how often do you find yourself dropping your phone or having it stolen? Nowadays, there are a lot of services that offer free GPS tracking and remote services if you happen to lose it. Meanwhile, certain cases are constructed to withstand the brutal punishment of our normal everyday ordeals. However, when you look at the $8 and up prices associated with insurance for our gadgets, not to mention the added deductible when making a claim, the monthly cost can stack up to a staggering amount over the 2 years of owning a smartphone. As much as we’d say it’s a great investment, it’s not going to matter if you don’t make a single claim during your time of ownership. Otherwise, if you happen to forgo getting insurance, there are ways to replace your missing/broken device. For starters, we’re sure you can find a friend that can lend you an unused spare device. Worst-case scenario, you can buy yourself a replacement through places like eBay, Amazon, or Craigslist.

Visual Voicemail

Yes, the transcribing service was popularized by the introduction of the iPhone, and when we look across the landscape right now, it’s something that’s widely available with most smartphones – even for free! However, there some services that carry a monthly cost for it, such as the case with Sprint’s offering. At a paltry $1.99 per month for each phone, it makes you wonder how uninformed and unaware some people really are out there in the world. Again, Google Voice is yet another perfect solution for this one, as the service offers its own integrated transcribing service. Sure it might not be perfect with its performance on all occasions, but hey, it’s there for us to use for free.

Roadside Assistance

Now this is a good one, and in fact, we have to give some kudos to whomever managed to sell you on adding roadside assistance to your account. For some people, they’re probably scratching their heads and wondering why in the world a wireless carrier is offering its customer roadside assistance. Well, the beauty in it is that you’ll be covered if the vehicle you’re in actually stalls or becomes inoperable. However, as some of us know, most car insurance companies offer this feature – though, it’s an add-on for them as well in most cases.  Normally, this feature carries a $4/per month cost with most wireless carriers, which is something that might be lower price with your car insurance. And in some instances, it’s something that’s already included in your policy.



1. remyrz

Posts: 205; Member since: Oct 28, 2010

nice :) i love my smartphone!

2. protozeloz

Posts: 5396; Member since: Sep 16, 2010

when It comes to insurance I recommend something: 1. find the price of your favorite company. 2. open a savings account and pay that monthly fee. 3. when you have ungracefully changed your phone (two years) you might have some bucks. 4. keep using the account. if you don't have a really bad luck you might save enough to replace your phone or even do something else

3. John.V

Posts: 99; Member since: May 27, 2011

Good call!

23. robinrisk unregistered

Hey John, on Sprint Visual Voicemail is free, the 1.99 is for Visual Voicemail to TEXT, which is not a good feature anyways in my opinion. BTW, the insurance is worth it because whenever you are going to upgrade, you can submit a claim under the Manufacturer´s warranty, get a new phone, upgrade and sell the replacement phone at a profit! :)

4. remixfa

Posts: 14605; Member since: Dec 19, 2008

with insurance, i really only push it on the high end products like the SGS2,SGS1, Amaze (ESPECIALLY ON HTC'S GLASS PRODUCTS) and such. $600 is an awful lot to fork out of pocket for an unexpected expense. Even used its still over 400 in most places. 8 bux X 2 years (24 months) = 192 deducible on high end smartphones = 130. 130 + 192 = 322. *If the used price of your phone is over that, you need insurance. * If you're accident prone and have a semi expensive phone ($400+ full retail), you need insurance. * If you know your not responsible enough to follow Protoz's "put money aside" advice (which is a smart idea), you need insurance. * If you have an expensive HTC or other device made of glass.. YOU NEED INSURANCE. Cases help protect against cracked screens and incremental damage, but they are not impervious. Gorilla glass makes a huge difference, but it still breaks. And samsung likes to glue their LCD's to the glass, making repairs more expensive than insurance.

7. protozeloz

Posts: 5396; Member since: Sep 16, 2010

the math gets even more complicated when you have more than one phone, I have two lines witch makes a sum of 384 when my two year contract is over and so on when you have 4+ members of your family with Smartphone you have to have really bad luck if a 4 member family suffers accidents on all their phones at the same time. and that's 768 in insurance fee

9. remixfa

Posts: 14605; Member since: Dec 19, 2008

yea, but if all 4 members of your family have an SGS2 and they all get stolen at the same time, they could be paying up to 2400 for new phones. all i can say is either have insurance, put money aside, or be uber careful and hope for the best. and for gods sakes.. keep your old phone as a spare if it works.

10. protozeloz

Posts: 5396; Member since: Sep 16, 2010

Money aside is great and promotes savings. The insurance is good if kids are under 17 tho. But don't tell them ......

11. supaman21

Posts: 43; Member since: Sep 14, 2011

or just go get the geeksquad protection from best buy..... 9.99 with no deductible.......

18. Tux4g63

Posts: 121; Member since: Oct 21, 2011

They give you the option to prepay the entire amount up front also. It lowers the cost to roughly $7 a month. It is a large cost to eat all at once but that no deductible thing is pretty sweet.

13. -box-

Posts: 3991; Member since: Jan 04, 2012

I recommend the insurance for any iphone, especially because reps can't mess with their upgrade eligibility, and they're stupidly expensive to replace (though cheap enough to fix if it's just a cracked back or screen), as well as high-end newer smartphone that a customer would depend on for their daily needs where an older or less advanced temporary phone wouldn't suffice. That or paying $10 a month to add on an extra line and let it sit until something happens to the main phone, then use the spare line's upgrade eligibility to get a brand new phone. Or "leapfrog" the 2 lines' upgrades, upgrade line 1 the first year, line 2 the next, then the next year line 1 is upgradeable again. It's a bit more expensive that way, but the user gets a new phone yearly and can get their choice of a new phone rather than getting whatever device the insurance provider sends out

17. cthunder

Posts: 126; Member since: Nov 02, 2010

For High End phones yes I can see you wanting insurance. But after 6 months then insurance becomes pointless. Simply because every 6 months the lastest and greatest new smartphone is released. Dropping the price of the previous model or similar phones released in the time frame. *If the used price of your phone is over that, you need insurance. * If you're accident prone and have a semi expensive phone ($400+ full retail), you need insurance. (After 6 months this won't be the case.) * If you have an expensive HTC or other device made of glass.. YOU NEED INSURANCE. (No you don't, that's why we have cases and screen protectors)

5. ibap

Posts: 867; Member since: Sep 09, 2009

On my 17-year-old-daughter's phone, it's been worth every penny.

6. atheisticemetic

Posts: 377; Member since: Dec 18, 2011

I disagree on dropping the insurance. First of all this is completely person dependent. Not everyone is hard on their phones and there are those who are in varying scales. insurance is about 6 or 7 bucks a month (depending on the type of insurance). Most carriers let you upgrade at around the 20 month mark (sometimes sooner for annuals). That will run you either 120-140 bucks for 20 months. To get a phone of the exact type if it's a smartphone will run you close to 300 bucks on ebay (for a new one). Craigslist is just shady for cellphones and you are never sure of their condition. I personally dont have insurance because i dont need it, but to those who already have it, why would you drop it? Not everyone is savvy enough to get a phone at a decent price online aside from contract. Whereas if i pay my deductible prior to 20 months I have saved money than getting one full retail, or at a "discount" on ebay. Insurance is definitely debatable... Roadside assistance with your insurance company is car dependent, whereas Roadside assistance from your cellphone is cellphone dependent. If you're not in your own car and you need a jump or run out of gas (cuz your friend was a moron and didnt change his battery or didnt get gas), i'd much rather have paid the little more to have roadside with more flexibility and not be stuck on the side of the road. Visual Voicemail and VZ Nav or ATT Nav are ridiculous. Good call on that, this is a scam and shouldnt be available on any smartphone. Google Voice at this point is buggy. When they fix the bugs i will then drop my text plan, but their as bad as Sprint with "not sending text messages" or receiving them.

14. -box-

Posts: 3991; Member since: Jan 04, 2012

AT&T doesn't charge for visual voicemail for iphones, blackberries, or the LTE Android phones. T-Mobile's is also free, I believe.

8. McLTE

Posts: 922; Member since: Oct 18, 2011

The issue with dropping text plans is that most of us with families have a mix of feature/smart phones on the account. While my wife and I with our smart phones could ditch texting and use google chat, or google voice.. our kids can't use these things with their feature phones. With kids on the plan, unlimited texting is a huge necessity!

12. squallz506

Posts: 1075; Member since: Oct 19, 2011

im on magenta's monthly4g no-contract. $30/mo flat. no hidden fees. i did pick up a third party insurance on amazon for my g2x that i bought unlocked. it was just too big an investment not to insure from day 1. although my g2x has been in a case since day 1 as well, so maybe im just overcautious.

15. -box-

Posts: 3991; Member since: Jan 04, 2012

AT&T doesn't charge for visual voicemail for iphones, blackberries, or the LTE Android phones. T-Mobile's is also free, I believe. Also, cases don't prevent phones from being lost or stolen, so if you have a phone that's more prone to theivery (iphones and high-end smartphones especially) it's worth every cent

16. captn3x

Posts: 46; Member since: Aug 08, 2011

I got burned by the insurance and will never again. Had insurance for 3½ years. (Touch pro, and DROID 1) 1½years into my DROID I dropped it and broke it. By this time the phone was already admittedly by Verizon to have too slow of hardware to run well. What I got after paying $7 per month for 3½ years and a $100 deductable was a POS refurbished DROID with a crazy loose slide and fingerprint under the screen. For what I spent I could have bought a current Gen phone.

19. atheisticemetic

Posts: 377; Member since: Dec 18, 2011

thats because asurion gives refurb phones ya goof :) you can bitch about until they perhaps give you a new one, or find a different insurance carrier (one that uses Brightstar for their supplier would be beneficial to you, they almost guarantee a NEW phone). no offense but i partially blame you for getting burned. These are questions you need to ask before you sign your agreement

20. atheisticemetic

Posts: 377; Member since: Dec 18, 2011

and that also means you were eligible for an upgrade twice over by 3.5 years....you unfortunately have no pity from me my friend :)

21. ddarko18

Posts: 5; Member since: Feb 02, 2012

Or you can go with best buy mobiles insurance, 10 dollars a month for 2 years or buy it outright for 169.99, oh and no deductibles. Only negative is that it doesn't cover loss or theft but gps services can get you around that,

22. thephoneguy92

Posts: 191; Member since: Dec 29, 2011

Wether or not to get insurance is not an easy choice. Obviously nobody wants to spend 6-7 bucks a month to get something that they may never use, but at the same time, any person can break their phone at any time. I won't go to much into this whole argument because it seems as though many people have hit on the main bulletpoints. I just want to add that I know of many insurance plans that cover phone damage for normal wear and tear for no deductible. This means that if your phone has a software issue, if your screen stops working or develops dead spots, or if you have a physical keyboard and it breaks (anyone who has ever had a slide-out keyboard knows how flimsy they are) it's covered for no deductible. Also, many insurance plans cover free batteries, at least once a year. And I know that may seem like it's not worth it, but it can be pretty helpful. The way I see it, your battery can have a couple problems. One, after a year or so of use, they start to wear out and not hold a charge as well, so it's worth replacing, especially for the heavy users who already find themselves running low on a single use for their phone. And two, it can just die on you, whether it be because of a power surge or just a malfuction, when it dies, your stuck. Batteries cost around 30-50 bucks to buy, and usually aren't the easiest things to find. So that should also be put into the equation.

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