- Personal Finance
Reducing Your Phone Bill; I Did Reduce My Bill
More minutes for your money
I have gone through an interesting relationship with my phone bills. When I initially got a cell phone, I would hear my friends and co-workers discussing their $100+ bills and I would cringe, because, even combined with my landline bill, my costs were not making the three-digit mark. Then, I went through a new phase when text messaging became the easiest way to reach a number of people and I started spending more time on my phone during the day and I was suddenly racking up the three digit phone costs on my cell phone alone. But, after taking stock of the situation, I was able to get a grasp on my phone habits and to reduce my spending down to below that three digit mark. Now, when I hear people in my life mention their exorbitant phone bills, I just thank my personal finance stars that I am no longer in the same boat!
The first thing that I did to reduce my phone bill was to get rid of my landline. This won't be the answer for everybody of course, but take a look at how many phones you have in your life and whether or not you need all of them. I know people who have an office phone, an office cell, a home office phone, a home phone and a personal cell phone. It's simply not necessary. By streamlining your calls to just one or two numbers, you can greatly cut the cost that you're spending on your phone. But before you get rid of all of your numbers, make sure that you're choosing to keep the phone and plan which are most convenient but least costly.
If a cell phone is the route that you are going to go in terms of your main phone line, you should gather together your old bills (or keep the new one when it comes in if you've already trashed those records) and take a good long look at where your phone time goes. Do you make a lot of long-distance calls? Do you rack up fees because you run over your minutes? Can you attribute your three digit phone bills to the fact that you text message all day long? Or did you have an unusual expense this month, like signing online on your phone to get some information or spending a strangely high amount downloading new ring tones? When you are armed with the information about what precisely is causing your phone bill to go up, you can alter your habits more easily.
Armed with that information, you can make changes to your account to cover your needs while paying a flat monthly rate. If text messaging is driving up your bill, consult the available monthly plans for unlimited texting. If most of your money is going to cover those long talks with Mom on Monday mornings, move the talks to Sunday during free-minutes time or get on a family calling plan that will let her share her weekend's information without running up your minutes. If you think you're going to need to get online a lot on your phone, incorporate that realization into your plan.
One of the things that I do is to stay aware of the new trends in phone service without jumping right on the bandwagon of them. For example, there are plans out right now which are starting to look at unlimited voice and data options so that you can call, text and surf the internet all day and night for one monthly fee. The plan isn't right for me yet, since the monthly cost is more than what I'm already paying for my cell phone, but if the trend continues, competition could drive the rates down and then the all-inclusive unlimited plan might make sense for reducing my overall phone costs. I also pay close attention to my own personal trends; when my phone bill goes up a bit, I pay attention to why and look into adjusting my habits or my plan to accommodate for the changes.
Phones today can be used for so many different things. We don't just call people on our phones; we conduct business, obtain information and indulge in on-spot entertainment. With these options at our fingertips, it's easy to stay on the phone all day long. And it might make the rest of our lives run more smoothly. But we don't have to be shelling out our dollars as the cost of this increased opportunity. With some smart spending habits, we can easily chat-plus-more without moving into the triple digit phone bill range.