September 12, 2008, Newsletter Issue #167: Peak Minutes vs. Off Peak Minutes

Tip of the Week

Ever wonder why a call to your honey is more expensive at night than during the day?

Most cell phone plans include both peak and off peak minutes that are part of the total talk time allotted for the plan. Peak minute times will vary with most plans but the standard timeframe is from 6:00 am to 9:00 pm Monday through Friday. Off peak minutes typically include nights and weekends, with nights beginning at 9:00 pm and ending at 6:00 am. The weekend minutes usually begin at 9:00 pm on a Friday evening and end at 6:00 am Monday morning. Of course, this will vary from plan to plan--some carriers offer longer off peak hours or unlimited nights and weekends.

So what's the difference in your "I love you" at noon and at 8 p.m? Peak minutes, e.g. at noon, are minutes deducted from the total minutes allotted in a given plan. For instance, if the plan has 600 peak minutes, you can talk for up to 600 minutes during peak hours without any additional charges.
Once the limit is reached, however, overage charges apply (usually on a per minute basis). "I love you" may be invaluable, but it costs you!

On the other hand, off peak minutes are free with most carriers and are often unlimited, so you can say "My sweetheart" over and over at no charge.

You need to evaluate the starting and ending times of both peak and off peak minutes when looking for a cell phone plan. Keep a diary of your calls, and chart how much time you spend on the phone during the day versus the evening before deciding which cell phone plan is best for you.

If you bill and coo during the day, you'll want a plan with a lot of peak minutes, but if you usually talk at night (when no one's around), you'll want a carrier that offers free unlimited nights and weekends with a small amount of day minutes.

Tip: If you don't know what plan your sweet nothings need when you're starting out, overestimate rather than underestimate phone usage, as overage charges can be brutal.

Switching schedules to daytime to spend more cuddle time at night? The plan can usually be adjusted within the first 30-90 days at no additional cost to the user or change in the length of the contract.

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