In terms of cell phone plans the U.S. is the worst followed by Spain and then Canada. Besides the obvious get rid of the phone option what other strategies can be employed to keep the costs down?
I have a had a TON of success by negotiating. Just talk to your current carrier and let them know that you can't afford it and there are other more reasonable options out there and they will most likely be willing to help you out.
For customer who can get a Google Voice account:
Use one of your plan's preferred numbers and make receiving all your calls from the Google Voice number free.
I have t-mobile with their "Fav5" plan. I put my Google Voice number as a fav, tell Google Voice to make the caller id be that number, and to transfer calls to my cell. When people call me it comes from Google Voice and it is free.
My family has one of those "package" deals from Verizon where we get internet, cable TV, landlines, and cell phones all bundled together. If you're going to get TV and internet anyway, it's worth at least checking to see whether the package deal might be cheaper.
In our household, we pay for two mobile phones:
Our first phone is on a plan that I use heavily for data (including occasional tethering to a laptop while on the train), but I use very little voice. So, I have a great data plan, but a minimal voice plan. Next, even though I am gadget-oriented person, I try not to replace my phone too often. I want to get at least 3 years out of every phone I buy, to reduce the amortized monthly cost of the phone itself.
The second mobile phone we keep primarily for emergency purposes or a very occasional call, so we bought a cheap prepaid Virgin Mobile phone, and we charge it up with $100 per year. That amount was chosen judiciously: As you can see on Virgin Mobile's Topping Up page, when the top-up is at least $100, the credit doesn't expire for 365 days. So, the cost of carrying this second cell phone for the household – provided we don't use many minutes (and we don't) – is only $8.33/month + tax. At the time we bought this phone we checked out all other carriers in Canada that had prepaid and none of them had a credit that lasted that long.
I find that researching the various companies and taking time to choose the right plan for your calling and texting pattern is the way to go. Sometimes people don't take the time to properly analyze their usage, instead simply choosing a plan that has an attractive monthly rate.
In our household, we text far more than we call, so we're on "unlimited" texting plans, with very small voice packages. It's very easy to adhere to, because I chose plans well-suited to our needs. That way, throughout the month, we don't have to pay unnecessarily close attention to our calling/texting volumes.
Switch to sprint, check out this article about it http://honestbanker.blogspot.com/2009/03/sprint-offers-best-bang-for-your-buck.html or check out cricket wireless, http://honestbanker.blogspot.com/2009/04/do-you-hate-cell-phone-contracts-try.html and also most everything plans are becoming rather affordable these days, try checking into those regardless of who your carrier is, but id look into sprint, they also offer like 15 percent discounts to almost everyone for some reason or another, like military, or many employeers, just ask them about it