So I know all it seems like is that I’m talking about these days is phones, music, iPods and cable bills lately, but I’ve been really geeked about the new Apple “toys” and I always like reducing costs on recurring charges (like phones, cell phones and cable). Saving $10-15 a month each on your phone, cell and cable, while avoiding any overages could be $500 year. That’s not being cheap, it’s avoiding being wasteful. If you don’t care about saving money this’ll be a boring post so just skip it.
Speaking of reducing charges, I’ve also reduced my cell phone bill and maybe my savings can help you too. I’m with Sprint, whom I occasionally hear people complain about, but I think they’re great at home (Detroit Area) and when traveling I’ve almost always had great service (it was a weak in the Grand Canyon). I had a lot of minutes on my phone, I haven’t been using them all (not even a third) but I’d rather have a cushion and not go over than the pay the huge overages (100 minutes over at 40 cents a minute is $40!). But they’ve had this fair and flexible plan which if you go over they charge by blocks of minutes at a much more reasonable rate. I looked at them before and they didn’t strike me as great, but I just looked again and it seemed a better deal (I don’t know if it changed or I just wasn’t paying attention). I lowered my plan by 400 minutes so I’m saving $15 a month and it’s $5 increments for 100 minute blocks if you go over (a lot cheaper) after that. So unless I go over 300 hundred minutes I’ll be paying the same price but at the rate I’ve been going, I’ll definitely be saving money. YMMV with other phone companies…
I also just made the leap to ditch my POTS land line, so I really wanted to make sure I’m not going to get nailed for overages. At $40+ a month with taxes, that with my other savings is another month’s mortgage payment. FYI, if you can make an extra mortgage payment a year it shaves about 7 years off your total mortgage.
With Sprint, changing your plan means generally (99% of the time, especially if lowering your plan) means redoing a 2 year contract. I had 6 months left so I really only ended up tacking on 18 more months. Plus, they gave me $150 to spend towards a new phone if I want it since I renewed the contract (for my mother’s line they only offered me $75 towards a new phone).
They also offer 6 o’clock nights so if you do a lot of you calling starting then you can add that to save some minutes (if you have a 9pm nights plan it’s $5 for 7pm and $10 for 6pm to start unlimited calling). If you’ve been with them for a bit you can usually get them to waive the 7pm fee. A little haggling and you can get them to wave the $5 for mobile to mobile free calling and if you really have been with them for a while you can get a 5% courtesy discount, I know there are people with better plans than that, but I haven’t been able to do better. To get any of the “discounts” like these you have to ask several times and sometimes re-word it before they give you some of the options. I haven’t been able to get them to give me the 6pm nights for even $5, they want to throw away my $5 discount and charge me the whole $10, we’ll see how the plan works with the new stuff.
They’ve also lowered altered the Vision data plans, it looks like if you don’t have a camera (or video-player) in your phone you can get the $10 plan ($5 for additional phones) instead of the $15 plan.