Growing wireless bills can be a drain on the budget at home and at work. There are still ways to cut the cost of staying connected, but it takes some planning and diligence.

Add some apps. Tricks and tips for using apps such as Google Voice, Skype, and any of various messaging applications to circumvent cell-phone carrier charges for overseas calling and high-volume texting, among other functions, are part of this post at, a site for managing your money. This and many sources of advice on the subject urge people to check out pay-as-you-go and smaller wireless carriers for bargains the big companies can't or won't try to beat.

Look for a big-box discount. Consumer Reports details ways to trim the bill, starting with shopping for a phone at a discount store such as Wal-Mart or at an electronics retailer. Other strategies include checking out the smaller cell-phone companies, and, once you're on a plan, making sure to utilize WiFi connections whenever possible to limit excess data charges.

Get a family. This advice at is for folks who wouldn't necessarily think of themselves as part of a family. Get some friends together to go in on a family wireless plan and cut costs all around. The caveats are to pick your friend-family carefully, since you'll be tied together for a couple years. A deadbeat or someone who moves around a lot could be a liability.

Get employees to pay. What about business phones? goes over some money-saving options for business managers to help companies reduce wireless bills. The posting says some businesses have decided to make employees responsible for having and paying for their own cell phones, just like at-home land lines.

Zero use. Companies with big wireless bills often are stuck paying for more cell-phone lines than they actually use, because it's hard to keep track. has this post on finding and canceling "zero-use" accounts.

Contact staff writer Reid Kanaley at 215-854-5114, or @ReidKan on Twitter.