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As New iPhone Debuts, Tips To Save On Your Phone

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(credit: CBS) Jamie Yuccas
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MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — The new iPhone 4S will be in stores on Friday morning and even though the unveiling drew a bit of a yawn from some, it also got a million pre-orders in just 24 hours.

So, with new phones on our minds, WCCO’s Jamie Yuccas looks at whether the new one is worth it and some ways to save money, even if you aren’t looking to switch.

Kevin Schaul is a journalism student at the University of Minnesota, tech writer for the Minnesota Daily and an admitted phone geek.

“I’m always, always researching phones,” he said, while looking at the iPhone review he wrote for the Daily.

He came away impressed by the faster processor, better camera and built-in “digital assistant.” But he said it’s not enough to justify upgrading from last year’s model.

“If you have an iPhone 4 already, I don’t think I would recommend upgrading to the iPhone 4S,” he said. “It’s too much of the same, unless you’re a photography nut.”

On the other hand, if you’re looking to join the iPhone family for the first time, he feels the 4S is a better deal at $199 than the iPhone4 at $99.

“Don’t buy a year-and-a-half old phone, get the latest one now,” he said. “Even though it’s $100 more, I think it’s absolutely worth the cost.”

Even if you don’t want to switch phones or providers, you may still be able to save money. Just pick up your phone, call your provider and ask what they can do to help cut your costs.

When Verizon added the iPhone in February, some WCCO colleagues called their cell phone providers to test whether they could get a better deal. They ended up saving a lot. Paula got a new phone from T-Mobile, and saved $7 a month. Sonya upgraded her Sprint phone and saved $30. While Cassie got AT&T to knock $35 apiece off the iPhone bills for her and her husband.

For other ways to save, keep a close eye on your bill to make sure you’re not paying for more minutes than you actually use.

A study of 230,000 cell phone users showed they estimated needing an average of 711 minutes a month, almost 10 percent more than they actually used (651).

But since the extra minutes over your limit can cost 40 or 50 cents apiece, apps like “Cell Minute Tracker” and “Over My Minutes” can keep you from making costly mistakes.

What if you want to change phones in the middle of a contract? It’s actually within your right to transfer the ownership to someone else. Swap sites like Cell Swapper and Cell Trade USA help you list and sell your plan for around $20.

Or you can even make an announcement on your Facebook page and hope somebody is interested.

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