Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Budget Busters - Cell Phones?

Are cell phones now number two on the household budget?

Upon reading this article I decided to review our AT&T bill which includes one home phone, two cell phones (one of which is a smart phone with a data plan) and our internet service.

This past month our bill was $202 (which is about $20 higher than normal).  In studying the bill there are certainly charges that jump out at me.  And of course each phone has separate surcharges and taxes which further ups the costs.

For my iPhone I have a data plan (unlimited) which my employer reimburses, $30, each month since I regularly use my phone for work.  But, I don't have a texting plan and last month I had $6.00 in texts.  I don't have a text plan because I don't normally text but others text me.  I've thought about adding a text plan, but I always worry about changing my plan and losing my grandfathered in unlimited data plan.  Frankly, I don't trust AT&T to change my plan without screwing up something else.

Mr. Sam doesn't have a smart phone so he calls directory assistance quite often, those calls are billed at $1.99 each and last month he had $7.96 in such charges.

We continue to maintain a home phone which Mr. Sam uses when he works at home.  This past month he had $12 in long distance charges.  After discussing whether to seek reimbursement for those charges from his employer we have decided not to because the amount he saves in gas by working at home far exceeds the telephone charges.

How about you, how much is your phone bill?  Have you undertaken efforts to curb your phone bill or is it simply the price of being connected these days?


Honey Smith said...

As I mentioned on GRS, I am going to switch to Virgin Mobile probably this weekend (my 2-year contract with sprint is up tomorrow). I will go from $68 after my employer discount to $35, and that is a smartphone with unlimited data and text, 450 minutes of phone (which I doubt I'd go over based on my historical usage).

Sam said...

Honey, I'm pretty sure we are under contract but I am going to check and look at whether there are any better options. I hope you'll update your GRS post and let us all know if you really get the deal you think you will (with all the taxes and fees).

Anonymous said...

We got rid of the home wired phone a few years ago and don't miss it. When I work from home I use my company issued BlackBerry for all calls. Our personal cell bill with Verizon is $237 a month, locked so no extra charging. Verizon offers a 20% discount to employees at my company. We have 5 phones with 1400 shared minutes, 10 no charge friends and family numbers and free nights and weekends as well as free to any Verizon phone. We use very little of the 1400 minutes because the other items cover most our calls. Unlimited texting (one of the kids avg 3,000 text a month) and 3 of the 5 are smart phones with unlimited data. We have been very happy with the service from Verizon for our area.