In with the new: Reduce your phone bill
There are many options for reducing the monthly cost of your phone use.
Throughout December, I've been posting a series focusing on activities you can do to set the stage for a great 2011. Today we'll focus on reducing your phone bill.
- Bing: Best VoIP services
Two episodes in my own life are relevant here. A couple years ago, I canceled my business phone line and moved to Skype. It reduced the monthly cost of my business-related calls by about $30 a month.
I figured there would be significant drawbacks to the switch -- limited availability, etc. What I actually found was that Skype is, for my purposes, as reliable as an ordinary phone. I cannot remember a single time when using Skype for work purposes put me at any sort of disadvantage versus a land line.
This, of course, raised the question: Why not just use Skype for personal use?
Similarly, for a long time, I had unlimited minutes on my cell phone -- but I paid out the ear for them. I had an impression that I used my cell phone a great deal and thus I needed unlimited minutes.
For six months, though, I kept my cell phone bills and took a look at how many minutes I was actually using each month. Even if I chose a limited plan that covered significantly more minutes than my heaviest calling month, I'd still be saving about $30 a month by switching plans. If I chose a more restrictive plan, one that covered five out of the six months, I would be saving almost $50 a month.
These two stories raise several key points.
Knowing your actual needs for phone usage directly leads to saving money. People often pay extra for a monthly service that covers everything they actually do plus everything they think they might do. The problem is that the "maybes" rarely occur.
A much better approach is to pay for what you normally use, then deal with the exceptional situations as they arise. For example, if you have a plan that covers 99% of your calling needs and saves you $30 a month compared with what you're paying now, you can use a small bit of that $30 a month to cover that extra 1% and still find yourself way ahead.
How vital is a mobile phone, really? Most of the mobile calls we make can be handled at home, leaving the mobile for specific needs that can't be met from a non-mobile device.
For example, I've gradually moved most of my calling to Skype, which I can use on my iPod Touch anywhere I find a Wi-Fi signal, as well as at home. This has reduced my cell phone usage and I've been able to reduce my cell phone contract to a lower level.
In fact, were it not for travel, I would consider moving to a pay-as-you-go phone. I've run the numbers several times and have found that my cell plan is just a bit cheaper per minute for an average month than a pay-as-you-go phone.
I don't suggest that people abandon their mobile phones. However, I do encourage people to rethink their overall phone plan. There are many options for reducing the monthly cost of your phone use -- and any reduction in a monthly bill is money that can improve your financial situation, whether through savings or debt reduction.
Copyright © 2014 Microsoft. All rights reserved.
Fundamental company data and historical chart data provided by Morningstar Inc. Real-time index quotes and delayed quotes supplied by Morningstar Inc. Quotes delayed by up to 15 minutes, except where indicated otherwise. Fund summary, fund performance and dividend data provided by Morningstar Inc. Analyst recommendations provided by Zacks Investment Research. StockScouter data provided by Verus Analytics. IPO data provided by Hoover's Inc. Index membership data provided by Morningstar Inc.
ABOUT SMART SPENDING
LATEST BLOG POSTS
Tired of your wallet taking a beating at the grocery store? Here are some creative ways to save big on food costs.
VIDEO ON MSN MONEY
BLOGS WE LIKE
MUST-SEE ON MSN
- Video: Easy DIY smoked meats at home
A charcuterie master shares his process for cold-smoking meat at home.
- Jetpacks about to go mainstream
- Weird things covered by home insurance
- Bing: 70 percent of adults report 'digital eye strain'