Don’t lock into that costly cell phone contract until you’ve crunched the cell phone numbers and done the mobile math.

Comparing a variety of cell phone plans could save you money over the long term, especially if a prepaid plan coupled with an unlocked phone gives you the freedom to roam without paying the steep price of being handcuffed to a carrier’s inflexible contract.

I used this simple spreadsheet (and my brain) to compare various cell phone plan options — both contract and prepaid — before deciding that an unlocked phone saved me the most money.

compare cell phone plans Download: Compare Cell Phone Plans Spreadsheet

Since Squawkfox is about being a smarter, less spendy consumer, I want you to download this free tool to see if there’s a better talkin’ and textin’ mobile deal in your area.