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Andrew Pierce of Staten Island, N.Y., with his smart phone (Michael Falco)
Andrew Pierce of Staten Island, N.Y., with his smart phone (Michael Falco)

Smart Cookies

How to avoid cellphone bill shock Add to ...

I've suffered cellphone-bill shock on a number of occasions. Usually, after a ridiculously high bill I will call my provider to explore my options, make a few changes, and get a new plan. Then, I try to remember all rules of my new plan: how many daytime minutes I have, when I have free long distance, how many texts I can send, when my billing cycle ends, etc.

When I lose track, as I sometimes do, it ends up costing me. It's likely cost you at one point as well. After sharing this frustration with a colleague, she excitedly suggested I download a new tool called Cell Minute Tracker. If you or anyone in your family is guilty of over-talking or texting you might want to download this as well.

Here's why: It will allow you to see all of the key pieces of your plan on one page, track real-time usage, and receive bill payment alerts, so you'll never pay unnecessary fees again. This free tool will also help you figure out whether you've been wasting money on a family plan that's bigger than you need, or if you need to increase the one you have to accommodate your chatty ways. Either way, you can finally feel confident that you're on a plan that's right for you and you're sticking to your allotted cellphone spending plan.

Angela Self is one of the founders of the Smart Cookies money group. Read her weekly column on managing debt and saving money at globeinvestor.com.

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