Cell phone companies are making bank off of the text message packages that people are being required to purchase as a part of their plans. Not only do smartphones need a data plan for internet usage, but they must also add a text plan, if they are avid messengers that is. Most teenagers will definitely fall under this category. All of these messaging, minutes and data costs can add up. So how can you lower your phone bill and still be able to be involved in the “texting” generation? Here are a few options you can use for you Smartphone or iPhone that will help you save money on all of those texting bills:
**As a note before reading any of these, be aware that most will require that you get a second phone number, usually acquired for free through whichever service you choose.**
Google Voice is an excellent service for making any and all phone calls/text messages for free on both Android phones and iPhones. Unfortunately, if you already have a cell phone number, you will have to get a second Google Voice number, as with most of the services below. If you can make it happen, give all your friends and family your Google Voice number. With this number, you will not only be able to send and receive text messages, but all phone calls will be automatically forwarded to your normal cell phone number. All domestic services are free. International services are also available at a low rate.
Skype, one of the most popular online phone systems, also offers texting services. Unlike Google, they charge a fee of 4.7¢ per message, which is still about half of what a pay-as-you-go phone would charge. With Skype, you can send a message from the computer or a mobile device that has a Skype app. Then you will receive responses in your regular Skype chat window.
Text+ for Apple
Don’t be fooled by the + sign in the name, this texting and phone service is made for Apple. Although, it is very similar in function to Google Voice. You can get a free Text+ number and use it to make and receive phone calls and text messages on any of your apple devices, including the iPod touch. However, if you are using anything but an iPhone, you’ll have to wait until you are within range of a wireless connection to receive any of your messages. A great free option, but dependent on internet reception or having an iPhone.
The biggest challenge to overcome when trying to find a way to lower your phone bill is the issue of balancing two phone numbers. It can be a real pain to change your number and inform all of your acquaintances of the change. However, if you analyze the people with whom you pass the most texts, you might be able to inform them of the change. That way, you can switch over to a free texting service for your Smartphone or iPhone with the people who are using up most of your texts/minutes. This will reduce the number of paid-for texts you receive on your phone and allow you to lower the limit on your text messaging plan or having a lower bill if you are on a pay-per-text plan.
Top image by katerha.