Prepaid Free Minutes Calling Plans
Prepaid Free Minutes Calling Plans
Many calling plans for wireless phones offer prepaid free minutes included in the basic plan. The 'flat rate charge' for a plan usually includes some number of minutes that will not increase the bill. This number may be as small as 10 minutes or stretch into the thousands of minutes. The number of prepaid free minutes is a huge selling point for almost all calling plans. Unless a plan offers unlimited minutes, then there will be an upper limit imposed on calling time.
The amount of minutes will vary with the cost of the plan. An economical plan typically starts at about $25 dollars per month and will include a small number of prepaid free minutes. A plan costing upwards of $50 to $75 dollars a month will include more gratis talking time. One trick that will help you preserve your free minutes is to take advantage of the caller ID feature that is included with almost all calling plans currently on the market. Before answering, peek at the display to see who is calling. Most phones are smart enough to match the incoming number with the equivalent number in your address book. If you don't recognize the caller (or the number), you can save a few cents now and then by letting the call go to voice mail. Most calling plans allow you to retrieve voice messages from a land line, thereby avoiding the calling time charges that will accrue from checking them from your phone. Check the fine print of your calling contract to learn if your plan allows you to check messages for free from the phone or if you will be docked from your prepaid free minutes.
Purchase additional minutes to avoid overages
Many calling plans also allow customers to purchase minutes in advance to prevent costly overages. A typical calling plan can cost as much as 45 cents or more per minute when the prepaid free minutes are exceeded. Keep in mind that any call under these circumstances will be charged for at least one minute. In other words, placing a call just to say "I'm late, be there in a few minutes!" may take only a few seconds to say, but will appear on the monthly statement as a charge at the the full 1 minute rate.
Make use of the carrier's web site
Most calling plans provide a web site that includes useful information about your minutes. If you have a plan that comes with prepaid free minutes, the web site will help you keep track of how close you are to exceeding your calling time. Many plans also provide an online method for adding prepaid free minutes to your account. The online methods accept credit cards or debit cards, which can be a huge time saver if you find yourself about to 'go over'.
Family Plans draw from a pool of prepaid free minutes
Almost all wireless service providers offer family plans. Customers can purchase a fixed amount of prepaid free minutes that become available to all members of the plan. Each family member may have a unique telephone number or all members of the plan may be assigned the same number. The latter is problematic but less expensive. Be sure to keep an eye on the status of the minutes pool on a regular basis; there's always a family member who gets carried away once in a while.
Drawing from a pool of prepaid free minutes is much cheaper than purchasing a number of individual plans for each member of the family. A 'family' is usually defined as everyone living at the same billing address. Telephone companies are very much interested in selling calling plans, not defining family units.
Text messages are usually not included in prepaid free minutes
Texting typically costs more to add to a basic plan. Do not assume that your prepaid calling minutes include sending text messages, but incoming text messages may be free of charge. In fact, you may find your provider texting you regarding special offers they have put together. Your first incoming text message from your provider on a new plan can be a bit of a shock because the question always runs through your mind; "am I being charged for this?". If texting is necessary, look for a contract or a calling plan that offers "prepaid free texting" or a similar add-on to your prepaid free calling minutes.
Employ a modicum of common sense when purchasing a texting plan. Text messages add up very rapidly; most people underestimate the number of messages they will send in a month. Keep an eye on your totals through your provider's web site. You're not charged by the word (hopefully) but each time you press "send" your account is decremented for that month.