What to consider for your first phone plan

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At some point in every teenager’s life comes the point where you have to start paying for your increasingly expensive lifestyle. Whether it’s new clothes, trips to the beach or the latest piece of tech, there are a lot of things to pay for, and the most common of these is probably your mobile phone bill.

If you’ve just started paying for your own service, it’s suddenly a lot more responsibility than just having mum and dad pick up the bill; the biggest thing to think about is obviously the cost, but there are a few other factors to look out for to make sure you’re getting a good deal.

First and foremost – the price

Let’s be honest; as a teenager, you don’t earn anywhere near as much money as your parents. If your current phone bill is some massive unlimited plan that costs $80 per month, you probably won’t be able to afford to keep that up in the long run – consider hunting around for a cheaper plan. It’s a good idea to keep your phone plan at around $40 per month or less, so that you’ve got plenty of money left over to spend on other things.

Prepaid or post-paid?

As you probably know, a prepaid plan is one in which you simply pay for what you use – pay your provider 20 bucks, and you’ll get 20 bucks worth of calls, texts and data to use how you want. Once you use it all up, you’ll have to pay for more. Post-paid plans (often called contracts) are where you get a certain amount of calls, texts and data each month in return for a set fee every 30 days; you can go over your limit, but you’ll be charged at a higher rate.

As a general rule, prepaid plans cost less money overall, but contract plans are better value (they include more credit for the price). Prepaid is a popular option for a lot of teenagers to limit your spending, especially if you don’t use your phone that much. If you’re an absolute textaholic or you chew through data like there’s no tomorrow, you might be better off with a plan so that you can take advantage of generous monthly credit quotas.

Contract length

New and improved mobile phones come out all the time, with most manufacturers bringing out a new model every year at least, and the same goes for most phone plans. It’s important to be aware of how long your plan’s contract is; they generally come in three different lengths – month-to-month, 12 month, or 24 month contracts.

If you like getting your hands on the latest and greatest hardware then you’re better off with a monthly plan that you can cancel at any time. Long term plans can leave you stuck with the same phone setup for quite a while unless you pay a (usually hefty) cancellation fee.  On the other hand, if you don’t really care about your phone as long as you’ve got plenty of credit, a long contract is probably your plan of choice as they come with lots of included value.

Above all, the most important thing you can do is lots and lots of research. If you search through a few different options and thoroughly read what each plan is offering, you’ll definitely come out with a cheaper, better deal for your first phone plan.

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