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Saved money on the cell phone

July 24th, 2008 at 11:29 pm

One of the first things people in the forums suggest when someone asks for budget help is "do you need a cell phone?" and "do you need a land line?" If the answer is yes, the next question is "can you get a better rate?"

Yes, we both need cell phones. I drive so much I don't want to be stranded if something should happen (and I really don't know many people in Wichita if I did have trouble...), and he is always on some tractor or something, so I would never be able to get ahold of him any other way. Also, he uses it to call dealerships and stuff to make sure the parts are there before he goes to pick them up. So yes, we need the cell phones.

I also need land lines in both houses (yes, yuck). I have DSL in both houses so I can be on call for work. If I couldn't be on call, I couldn't come back home on the weekends I have the pager.

The good news is that we can write off both cell phones and probably half of the internet charges at both houses (because it is required for work) and probably one of the home phones...have to check with the CPA on that, but I think that will work.

The bad news is that it is EXPENSIVE!

We have home phone + cable + internet bundled at the north house. That is $100 a month. Any cheaper cable is just local channels. Maybe that is a luxury, but not something I want to give up yet.

We had home phone + Dish network + internet bundled at the south house. It used to be $120 a month for that, but I recently dropped dish network, so the last bill was $90.70, and $7 of that was the prorated part of the Dish network bill. So that will go down a little more.

We also had 2 lines on Alltel (the only cell phone that works at the north house...but it doesn't work at the south house...another reason I have to have home phone at the south house), 1400 minutes a month, 10 "my circle" minutes and 300 text messages (again so I can use my cell phone as a pager for work instead of using the actual pager...which doesn't work at the north house anyway). You can call nights and weekends and mobile to mobile (i.e., alltel to alltel) for unlimited minutes. That was costing us $115 a month! $89.99 for the base plan, $9.99 for the second line and $5.99 for the text message plan. Then all the taxes and fees.

I looked at our bill, and we use 5 of the my circle minutes a lot. He calls the south house home phone every night I am there (sometimes I call him on the home phone and just let it ring a few times and then he calls me back, because my number is in my circle and I don't have to use long distance that way). The other numbers we call a lot are my work, his parents, my parents and the north house phone. So, we could get by with 5 my circle minutes. The other calls are about 350 minutes a month. So, we are waaay overkill on our minutes.

I looked up different plans, and one was $49.99 for 750 minutes and 5 my circle numbers, but it cost $20 to put a second phone on. Another one was $59.99 for 900 minutes and 10 my circle numbers, and only cost $9.99 to put the second phone on. That is the one we went with...same price for more minutes.

Long story short, we'll save $30 a month. I also may drop the text message plan. At $.15 / text, we would have to send and receive 40 text messages every month for that to be worth it. I need to log in and look at past months to see how many pages I am getting every month, but I doubt it is that many.

Oh yeah, and why didn't I look at this before? I have no idea. What a doofus. Smile

Funny story. When I called in to change the plan, the operator on the other end suggested I wait until start of the next billing cycle to make the change, because, as she said "the proration will make your bill higher." I asked "what do you mean" and again, word for word, "the proration will make the bill higher on the next bill." Just like that. Obviously, she didn't know what the work "prorated" means. I said, "um, no, we are dropping the price, so it should be lower." She kept me on hold for a while while she was frantically typing and then said "but you'll only have 400 minutes until the next billing cycle." Ok, we only use 350. Do it. Poor girl. Doesn't even know the meaning of prorated.

1 Responses to “Saved money on the cell phone”

  1. frugaltexan75 Says:

    Have you looked into the possibility of dryloop DSL for your two homes? (Basically dropping the landlines completely.) It may be worth it to see if it's available in your area.

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