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Phone Phone Phone

Part of my money saving plan for the summer was to evaluate my cell phone usage. The plan that I had was a familyshare plan that I was more than happy to pay for initially to cover two phones. As my financial situation deteriorated, I began paying the bill later and later until I was barely making the duedate.

Our plan consisted of 700 shared minutes for one month, unlimited texting, with perks like mobile web and a few paid subscriptions to game services.

In easier terms to understand that brokedown to $134.00 for two phones, minus any renegade minutes over (once during the month that my nephew was born) or inconvenient calls to Thailand at three in the morning. I don't drunk dial, honest.

When I started getting my finances in order, my cell phone bill was the first thing I tackled. I hoped to negotiate a better plan for my family. While 700 wasn't a lot of minutes, we still never used all of them. Calling each other or other phones on the network, plus free nights and weekends, helped to severely curb our minute usage. But without renewing our contract this would have been impossible.

So I began snipping away at the extras. I had access to the internet at work and home, and while having access to the internet was quick and convenient it was really a perk that I could do without. My primary mobile web browsing consisted of looking up directions on google, phone numbers on google, and wikipedia (via google). With all of my browsing centered around google it only made sense to nix the web browsing and text my google questions to GOOG (4664). With the unlimited text plan that I had, texting my questions to google was free and saved me money after I eliminated my internet plan.

Empowered, I also figured I could cut back even more if I eliminated those pesky game subscriptions. The monthly pay to play games weren't fun anymore and frankly that is $3.99 I'd much rather have spent on anything else.

In the end I knocked my phone bill down to a manageable $105 every month. Set my checking account to automatic billpay and that was only $26.25 a week or in my case, per paycheck.

And now I've eliminated my cell phone bill completely. I've been supplied a work cell phone to allow me to be connected to my work email, database, and other responsibilities. While this isn't a foreseeable event, it would definitely be something you should look into. If you primarily use your phone for work related functions, you may be able to speak with your employer and request that they reimburse you for your expenses or possibly consider putting you on their corporate account.

As anything, it only hurts you if you don't ask. Just make sure to practice your proposal before you storm into your bosses office and insist that he adds you to the office mobile plan or you'll quit.

Ya... That might not go over too well.