Going over your minutes used to be the biggest expense for a wireless phone bill. If you still have a monthly minute limit, there are plenty of ways to track how many minutes you have left with autotext alert messages when you get close to racking up charges.

These days, however, just about everybody has an unlimited talk/text/internet plan of some kind. How do you save money on that? This is where it really pays to get creative. First thing to do is compare the different plans for the big wireless carriers like Verizon, AT&T and T-Mobile.

Here are a few more ways to save on your wireless bill and still get what you want:

Find the limits on your “unlimited” plan

T-Mobile is one of the companies that define “unlimited” to mean “lots, but still limited in some way”. Their “Simple Choice” plan offers only 500 MB of high-speed Internet and requires a second “unlimited” package if you want more. Otherwise, once you hit 500 MB you are dropped down to a slow-speed connection that can time out or feel like an eternity. Did you sign up for “unlimited” or “unlimited unlimited”? If someone helped you sign up, they may not have explained this thoroughly. If you use your phone mostly for offline apps and email (or making phone calls), 500 MB is probably enough and you can save $20/month by dropping down from “unlimited unlimited” to just “unlimited”. T-Mobile’s plan page breaks it down and helps you decide which plan fits your usage. Other carriers like MetroPCS and Verizon have a very similar pricing set-up, so do your homework or talk to customer service at your phone company for the full story.

Save a bundle

It’s getting hard to keep track of who’s bought who anymore. Cellular One has an agreement with AT&T for bundling. Nextel is now part of the greater Sprint network. It’s definitely worth checking with your home phone, cable or Internet company to find out if they bundle services with your wireless phone provider. Given the latest promotions, some companies are offering incentives to make it worth the bother of switching companies. Consumer Reports estimated that around 44 percent of people who bargain with their carries for bundling services have shaved about $50 per month off their bills. Better yet, 7 percent saved more than $50 per month.

You can also bundle your wireless phone service with other phone users. Most wireless phone companies offer family plans that are cheaper the more users you add. And Sprint just launched the Framily Plan that let’s you include friends in the family plan.

What about your ideas? What ways have you found of lowering your wireless bill?