Monday, October 31, 2005

Cell Phone Bill Diet

I received my first cell phone bill last night...the first time after I had switched to a lower monthly cost plan with fewer minutes per month last month. Previously, my cell phone bill was mainly being paid by my previous company since I had to use the cellphone for work purposes. Now that I've switched jobs, my cell phone bill is no longer taken care of. So, I decided to switch over form a 1,200 minutes/month plan to a 450 minutes/plan. Basically, a cost cut from $80/month to a $39.99/month. This is with Verizon Wireless.

I was happy about this until I got the bill last night. I got billed $ 79.99/month for the past month!!! How did this happen? I was careless and wasn't budgeting my cell phone habits. I was still using the cellphone without paying heed to how many minutes I actually had left like I had done before with a higher minutes plan.

Here are a few budgeting cell phone usage behaviors I'm going to implement to reduce cell phone costs by the time the next bill comes:

- Turn off the roaming feature on the phone when I'm at home so that it won't roam.

- Check my voicemail from a landline instead of cellphone. I get alot of voicemail messages from friends and family throughout peak hours. Checking the voicemails during peak hours with my cellphone really adds up.

- Become more aware of my calling habits - I tend to call friends during lunch hour and on the drive back home from work at around 5:00 pm, well before the 9:00 pm, which is when the unlimited calls begin. I should start disciplining myself to call people and return calls after 9:00 pm instead, assuming they were not emergency calls.

- Budget the air/phone time: call only necessary calls during the peak hours and before each call, remind myself of WHY I'm calling this person and budget the phone time according to the priority and subject of the call. Bascially, I need to get to the point, cover the point, and make an exit. I will only make long-winded social calls after 9:00 pm.

- Batch my calls: instead of making many various calls throughout the day, make consecutive calls in a row. I'll tend to want to get off the phone faster by the time the third or fourth call is in place, resulting in more efficient phone conversations.

- USE my email more! Phone tag is avoided.

- Lastly, I'm not sure if this is available with Verizon Wireless, but I remember that some cell phone services allow you to forward your cell phone to a landline and the calls would go through over the landline. I might not have to pay airtime charges from people leaving long voicemail messages on my cellphone or checking voicemails over cellphone.

Hopefully, this budgeting plan works and shows on the next cell phone bill!


  1. Anonymous11:35 AM

    I have Verizon Wireless and am pretty sure that they have no roaming plan with 450 minutes/mon for the same price. As long as you get signals, you will not be charged for roaming--Nationwide (including Hawaii, Alaska and Puerto Rico). Check it out.

  2. Anonymous3:20 PM

    May be it will help .. if you dont make calls as much as you dont pick up your phone. :)

  3. To Anon,

    Thanks, I need to figure out why they have charged roaming charges then. Maybe I might even be reimbursed!

    I am calling verizon tomorrow during lunch time to ask for a no roaming plan at the same price. Thanks for the heads up!

    Orange County Budget Living

  4. also VZ has free in-network calling. i got VZ and so did all my friends so that saved me 1000 min/months.
    i also save my catching-up calls for the weekend or after 9pm when they're free.

  5. jaybew999:27 AM

    Do you work for a municipality? I do and I get a 19% discount on Verizon. You may want to check with them. Good luck.