How to Save a Fortune on Cell Phones
I pay $80 a year for my cell phone! Yes, that's right $80 a year! There is no gimmick to it, no tricks or anything of that sort. It's just a simple discipline to use a cellular phone the correct way, and to buy the correct type of cellular phone.
Consider that many cellular phone companies charge $80 a month, or $960 a year (not including tax). That's a lot of money. I save about $900 dollars a year compared to many of the people next to me. Now that's a lot of money. There is a discipline involved when doing this, and for some it may be harder than others to do.
I'll tell you what I do to save money on my cell phone bill. I buy a pre-paid cellular phone through Virgin Mobile, and purchase a $20 minute card 4 times a year. The phones are dirt cheap at many stores, (I paid $5 for my last one on clearance). The minutes cost around .20 a minute, which is not cheap by any standard, unless you use great discipline while using your phone.
Many people forget the fact that just a mere 20 years ago, barely anybody had a cellular phone. We used land line phones, cordless phones, but cellular phones were insanely expensive and humongous. Then in the early to mid 90's they became a bit more affordable, but people were limited to small amounts of minutes
. My first cellular phone was a 60 minute per month contract for around $39 a month. Each minute after that was $.50 cents per minute! See we have lost our cell phone discipline. Today we gab and talk for hours on end on these devices, when really if we just simply got to the point of our conversation like we did 15 years ago, we could all live on pre-paid cell phones.
When I call my wife from the store, I don't just sit there and talk on and on, we both know to get to the point pretty quick and keep it under a minute. There is still time to be courteous, get the "I love you" in and everything.
A typical conversation: "Me: Hi honey, do we need the whole wheat bread from Wonder Bread, or just the house brand?
Her: Oh get the Wonder Bread, last time the house brand tasted like paste.
Me: Okay I'll get that... Is there anything else we need?
Her: Yes, pick up some diapers, tomatoes, and we could use a bit more toothpaste.
Me: Cool, kids doing good?
Her: Yep, they are making play dough dinosaurs and smashing them.
Me: (laughing) Okay, I'll home in 10 minutes.
Her: Okay Me: Love ya, bye.
Her: Love you too, bye.
This above conversation could take place 2-4 times a week, and be under 30 seconds each time. Basically the discipline is get to the point of your conversation and you will be able to get by extremely cheap on your cellular phone usage. I see no point in texting, MP3's, TV, or internet on my phone.
The way I see cellular phones is as a tool. I save money by not buying all the gimmicks that cellular phones have to offer. Also, I don't want to end up like one of those people who can't put their phone down and are always looking at it.
A $20 card buys you 100 minutes of time. If you really get to the point and only call when you really need to talk, then it will save money for you immediately, and a vast fortune in your life. Just use an old school mentality and simplify your phone usage.
Virgin Mobile in particular, requires you buy a $20 card every 3 months to keep your number. So that's what I do. Over the course of 10 years of doing this, I will have saved $9000 on cellular phone bills (enough for a cheap KIA that saves on gas), I had all the convenience of a cell phone, I had the safety of a cell phone, and have used a cell phone. I merely got to the point of my conversation and got off!
If you put the practice of simplicity and think in an old school mindset with some forms of technology, the money savings can really add up. After all the best part of a cell phone is being able to have something for emergencies first, then convenience second, and all the other things are really not necessary.
So does spending $9000 every ten years seem excessive for fillers like cameras & MP3's and mobile internet? It does to me! That amount of money saved would buy one great computer system, a professional digital camera, and an MP3 player that could probably hold most of the music ever recorded into MP3's. Or for that matter a used car or a good down payment on a new car.
We all have to come to our senses and truly think about what we are getting when we spend our hard earned money. We don't need so many fillers or features, but rather the basic functions of things.
Most features with cellular phones may seem handy, and can be handy, but at what cost? Even my $80 per year phone has games, calculators, a color screen, hands free stuff, and Bluetooth. Keep a simple headed approach to cellular phones, and you will be saving yourself a lifetime of money. In potential, a young person today over 50 years could see money savings to the equivalent of $45,000 (in today's purchasing power) just by not getting filler features on their cellular phone during their lives. It's really not that hard. I went from a palm pilot phone 5 years ago down to a very basic pre-paid phone. I don't miss the palm phone at all now.
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