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I am paying how much for phones?

A friend is doing some number crunching trying to figure out which is the cheapest Cell Phone plan that she can get that fits her needs, so her and I have been discussing various pay per use plans (I know something about them because both my daughters have those set ups), I am not sure what her final decision was (I will post it when I know), but this caused me to look at my phone bills and I was flabbergasted to see just how much I pay per month for my phones.

The total this month is $190.00 (approx), for 1 home phone line (with a long distance package) and 2 cell phones all from Bell.

I leave that in a paragraph by itself because I am astounded at that number. That is more than I pay to heat my house and it is about 80% of what I pay in Electric + Natural Gas, this is ridiculous, and I am now banging my head on my desk realizing this is one of my major expenses every month.

I am getting nailed for the long distance plan on my home phone, but I am getting obliterated by long distance charges and text’ing charges on my cell phones. My wife and I save long distance charges by sending text message, however, evidently we send too darn many.

This is my new target for controlling costs, as this is a crazy expense. Anyone care to comment on their cell phone expenses and how they keep this expense down, I am open to suggestions (two tin cans and a piece of wire is one of my ideas right now).

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  1. My 2 Cents

    – Do not use a long distance plan – however low the monthly cost is. The reason, the companies charge high enough ($20-$30) if they offer free long distance or $5-$10 if they offer at a reduced rate. Most often I find that the reduced rate is only .1 or .2 cents lower per minute than offered by good long distance calling cards.

    – Calling cards you buy in the shop are a pain. Quality is bad, too cumbersome to use. I suggest you use online calling card company. You can register your cellphones and homephones that way you’ll never have to key in long sequences. And they also have local access numbers. You can give them a try. Beware that most online calling card companies offer poor quality. I use onesuite and reliance calling card. Both are pretty good and charge between 2-3 cents a minute.

    – Switch to a cellphone plan that gives free evenings and weekends. Don’t use the phone on weekday minutes for yakking.

    – Turn off voicemail in homephone and buy an answering machine. The cost of the answering machine can be recovered with just 6 months of voicemail charges.

    – Turn off unwanted features in your phone service. I use only call display and call waiting in my home phone – and additionally voicemail in my cell phone

    – Try subscribing to services from the same vendor, that way you can negotiate for a better price

  2. Holy crap, $190 astounds me.

    We have a similar setup – one home phone line plus two cell phones. Here’s our breakdown:

    Home line: $27/mo (Telus)
    Home LD: $2/mo (3.5 cents/min through Yak)
    Home LD#2: Free (Skype – free video calls to family via webcams)
    My cell: ~$8/mo ($100/year via Virgin Mobile prepaid)
    Wife’s cell: ~$8/mo ($100/year – Virgin Mobile)

    That makes our total bill average about $45 per month, but we’re not big cell phone users – the $100 cards from Virgin easily last us a full year). Also, the majority of our long distance calls are done via Skype, so they’re totally free. We’ve been tempted to drop the home line entirely, but it’s a requirement for our home alarm system.

    Cheaper options are out there. You just need to find them.

  3. You’re not the only one astounded. My cell phone bill is usually what your combined bill is.

    I’ve been looking into the home calling zone from Rogers. Apparently you use the one phone for home and cell. Any calls you make while at home are free because it goes over your internet connection. Haven’t found any small print about calling long distance from home. I would assume it’s free too, but you never know.

    Great topic considering most people have a home phone and a cell. It can add up quickly.

  4. I wouldn’t think that’s too much depending on your usage of the phones. Are you sure there aren’t any better plans available for your usage patterns?

    I don’t use much long distance, but our Home Phone, Internet, and Cell Phone bill all end up being around $150 or so per month. Around 80 for the Home Phone and Internet through Aliant and then 70 for the Cell phone through Telus.

    Perhaps you could ditch the home phone once Rogers launches these:

  5. I agree with you – $190 is insane!!

    Exactly why I only use Prepaid (Rogers Prepaid, 39 cents/min during the day, 1 cent/min during evening & weekends). I just don’t talk that much, $5/month

    Landline – Bell basic package ~$30/month

    Long Distance – usually < $5, just switch to to save the $5 network fee from Bell

    Maybe you should give VoIP/Skype some thoughts if you do talk that much?
    or consider an Unlimited Data Plan, and you can email your wife instead of SMS 😉

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