Most people buy a wireless phone the traditional way. You go to a store or website where the provider has a list of plans that go with the phone you’ve chosen and you pick one based on what you think you need. Apparently those plans aren’t usually the only ones available though. According to Entrepreneur Magazine, wireless providers have a plethora of other plans they don’t advertise unless you ask. Some of these plans may allow you to go month-to-month and be free from a contract.

For $25 per month, Verizon offers 100 anytime minutes and 500 night and weekend minutes. You won’t find this plan on their website. T-Mobile also has unadvertised options.  For heavy smartphone users, there may be a catch though. For such contracts you may not get that fancy smartphone at the subsidized price. But better plan may save you money in the long run. You’ll have to do the math for your situation.

If I have a need to visit a local retail store, I only deal with corporate owned stores as the independent ones tend to be very good at separating you from your money. I prefer to call the main corporate sales number. I’ve had activation fees waived, gotten a smartphone for cheaper than it was in stores, and avoided a monthly Internet plan that the salesman at the store said was required in order to purchase my phone just by calling and asking to have it removed.

The Entrepreneur Magazine article also sheds a light on the fact that many wireless users in the United States don’t take advantage of pre-paid plans like they do in other countries.

“only 17 percent of U.S. mobile subscribers use prepaid phones. According to a May 2010 report by the FCC, prepaid market share is 34 percent in France, 45 percent in Hong Kong, 62 percent in the U.K. and 88 percent in Italy.”

Embracing a pre-paid plan can save hundreds a year. From the small percentage of people I’ve talked to who use pay-as-you-go or pre-paid plans, they swear it’s the best way to go. Cricket has become very popular with my friends in Chicago, and others show great love for TracFone.