Archive for the General Category

10 tips to save dollars on your cell phone bill

Posted in General on April 21, 2009 by Jagtheesh

         The average cell-phone user spends about $600 a year on mobile service, while families that talk, text, or use other phone features more than average can spend upward of $1,800. And the bigger your bill, the more you get tapped for service taxes and surcharges, which tack on an average of 14.5 percent. But you can pay less and keep on talking by following the strategies below. Sample savings shown are per year, unless otherwise indicated.

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1. Go prepaid (save $100 to $1,080) Prepaid is just like a traditional monthly cell-phone plan except that you only buy what you need, you pay in advance, and there’s no contract. Compared with the cheapest monthly plans, we found annual prepaid savings of $240 to $360 for infrequent users with T-Mobile’s Pay As You Go plan, $100 to $220 for an average two-phone family buying Virgin Mobile per-minute packs, and $600 to $1,080 for big talkers using Boost Mobile’s unlimited national plan.

 2. Don’t overbuy minutes (save $240) Review your bills for the last six months with an eye on the billable daytime minutes. You might have bought a plan that included many more daytime minutes than you need, especially if you mostly use your phone when it’s free — during nights and weekends or for in-network calls. Switch to a less-expensive plan with fewer daytime minutes.

3. Don’t buy unneeded services (save $120 to $360) Voice service is now a cheap commodity, so carriers are pushing smarter, sexier phones and services to wring more dollars out of consumers. For example, Sprint’s 450-minute plans cost $40 a month for just Talk, $50 for Everything Messaging, and $70 for Everything Data, including talk, messaging, Web browsing, e-mail, Blackberry Internet Services, music, TV, GPS, and even NFL Mobile Live. Unless you really expect to use those features, save by sticking with basic talk service.

4. Buy enough of what you use (save $120 to $240) At 20 to 25 cents for à la carte messaging, buy a bundle if you send a lot of text, picture, or video messages each month. Sprint charges the least for an add-on bundle (300 messages for $5 a month) or unlimited messaging for $10 per month. Costs for Web browsing will rack up quickly if you pay by the megabyte. So sign up for unlimited service if you must have mobile Internet. AT&T’s $15 unlimited Web add-on is cheapest.

5. Check for employee discounts (save $96 to $432) AT&T, Sprint, T-Mobile, and Verizon offer discounts to the employees of companies that use their service. To see whether you qualify, do a Google search for the carrier’s name and the words “employee discount.” You’ll navigate to a Web page that asks for your work e-mail address. Discounts can be as high as 20 percent, though some deals exclude the Apple iPhone or certain service plans.

6. Make temporary adjustments (save $140 to $295 in one month) Avoid hefty overage charges of up to 45 cents per minute by temporarily switching to a plan with more minutes if travel or a family crisis will cause a spike in usage. Talk to a live customer-service representative to make sure you don’t get hit with surprise overage charges, which can happen if you switch at the wrong time in your billing cycle. Switch back when life returns to normal. Carriers no longer require a contract extension for such changes.

7. Have your usage analyzed (save $300) Upload an electronic version of your monthly bill to http://www.billshrink.com for an analysis. The company will then check available wireless plans and recommend those it says are probably cheapest for your needs. The service is free. Another company, Validas, offers a similar analysis for $5.

8. Get local service (save $240) If you mostly use your cell phone locally, consider Metro PCS, which offers plans in 11 areas, including Atlanta, Dallas, Detroit, and numerous cities in California and Florida. The company sells prepaid, unlimited local calling plans for as little as $30 a month. Roaming charges, of course, apply outside the local areas.

9. Choose the best carrier (save $50 to $200 per phone) Avoid huge early-termination fees and unsatisfactory service by first checking our cell-service Ratings. Then be sure to test the phone and service during the carrier’s 15- to 30-day trial period. If you’re not happy with the carrier, you can quit and port your number elsewhere without an early-termination penalty.

10. Say no to phone insurance (save $120 to $168 over 2 years) If you upgrade your phone, save the old one as a backup replacement in case you lose or damage the new one. You can eventually get another new phone at little or no up-front cost when your contract comes up for renewal.

Daylight saving Time in United States.

Posted in General on March 13, 2009 by Jagtheesh

 

           In the United States Daylight Saving Time begins at 2:00 a.m. local time on the second Sunday in March. On the first Sunday in November areas on Daylight Saving Time return to Standard Time at 2:00 a.m. During Daylight Saving Time turn your clocks ahead one hour. At the end of Daylight Saving Time turn your clocks back one hour.

           The names in each time zone change along with Daylight Saving Time. Eastern Standard Time (EST) becomes Eastern Daylight Time (EDT), and so forth. Arizona, Puerto Rico, Hawaii, U.S. Virgin Islands and American Samoa do not observe Daylight Saving Time. 

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      In the United States, Under the Uniform Time Act, the Department of Transportation is in charge of time zones in the United States and ensuring that jurisdictions observing Daylight Saving Time begin and end on the same date.

       On Monday August 8, 2005 President Bush signed into law a broad energy bill that extended Daylight Saving Time by four weeks beginning in 2007. Since 1986 the United States had observed Daylight Saving Time from the first Sunday in April through the last Sunday in October. The provisions of the bill call for Daylight Saving Time to begin three weeks earlier on the second Sunday in March and end on the first Sunday in November.

         Every spring we move our clocks one hour ahead and “lose” an hour during the night and each fall we move our clocks back one hour and “gain” an extra hour. But Daylight Saving Time wasn’t just created to confuse our schedules. Although standard time in time zones was instituted in the U.S. and Canada by the railroads in 1883, it was not established in U.S. law until the Act of March 19, 1918, sometimes called the Standard Time Act. The act also established daylight saving time, a contentious idea then. Daylight saving time was repealed in 1919, but standard time in time zones remained in law. Daylight time became a local matter. It was re-established nationally early in World War II, and was continuously observed from 9 February 1942 to 30 September 1945. After the war its use varied among states and localities. The Uniform Time Act of 1966 provided standardization in the dates of beginning and end of daylight time in the U.S. but allowed for local exemptions from its observance. The act provided that daylight time begin on the last Sunday in April and end on the last Sunday in October, with the changeover to occur at 2 a.m. local time.

          During the “energy crisis” years, Congress enacted earlier starting dates for daylight time. In 1974, daylight time began on 6 January and in 1975 it began on 23 February. After those two years the starting date reverted back to the last Sunday in April. In 1986, a law was passed that shifted the starting date of daylight time to the first Sunday in April, beginning in 1987. The ending date of daylight time was not subject to such changes, and remained the last Sunday in October. The Energy Policy Act of 2005 changed both the starting and ending dates. Beginning in 2007, daylight time starts on the second Sunday in March and ends on the first Sunday in November.

 

     Pros :

                Energy Savings – will possibly save 100,000 barrels of oil daily. People will turn interior and exterior lights on later in the day which will save electricity. Lighting for evening sports events can be turned on one hour later.

 

                Recreation Time – people will have more time to enjoy outdoor activities such as golf, tennis and theme parks.

                Farming – many farmers work part time and will have an extra hour to work after they arrive home. Full time farmers may not benefit.

    Cons :

                School Children – will possibly wait in the pitch dark for the school bus. Example, in Louisville, Kentucky sunrise will occur at 8:01 on March 11, 2007, however, Louisville schools currently begin classes at 7:40 for middle and high school. 

 

               Business – the airline industry claims it will cost millions of dollars to adjust schedules.

               Computers, Clocks and Gadgets – many electronic devices automatically adjust for day light saving time. Some of these devices will show incorrect times. Some computer software will have to be reprogrammed.