One egregious expense I have paid blindly for the last three years, despite my focus on frugality has been a smart phone plan with tons of minutes, texts, and data available costing me $70-$80 per month. This cell phone bill has been my fifth largest monthly expense category trailing only housing, groceries, transportation and restaurants.
This made some sense for a a while when I did not have a computer at home and wasn’t paying for Internet service or a landline. In this case, the smart phone substituted for a computer by giving me the ability to jump on the Internet outside of work. This helped me rationalize this large expense. But now I have no more excuses to blow this extra cash every month that I could be adding to my net worth snowball since I have access to the Internet and a computer both at home and work. The “luxury” of having full-time web access on my phone does not justify the expense when more often than not I have Wi-Fi available at home and work in addition to computers with Internet most anywhere I commonly spend my time.
The only thing that I will miss is the navigation feature on my phone. However, this decision will help me save a minimum of $45 per month or $540 per year totaling more than 3% of my 2012 spending. Furthermore, I have decided to leave Verizon and their expensive Cadillac services for a MVNO or mobile virtual network operator which purchases excess network capacity from the big boys including AT&T Verizon etc. at wholesale rates and sells services to retail customers at heavily discounted rates for the same coverage and services provided.
How can they do this you might ask? They can afford this because they don’t have to spend for the huge capital that the big players spend on infrastructure nor do they spend the loads of cash that the big boys pour into marketing their expensive services….Can you hear me now???
The downfall of this is that these MVNO’s can allegedly be a little flaky with customer service and there has been much turnover and bankruptcies of the initial round of businesses. But I will take that risk for saving over $500 per year. I plan on switching to PagePlus cellular and they’re “29” plan which features 1200 minutes 3000 texts and no data monthly for $29.
I plan on closely monitoring my usage to try and get down to their 12 plan containing 250 minutes and text monthly for $12. This plan would save me over $750 per year from my current usage. I’m actually really looking forward to not always being connected with my cell phone or “on the leash” to the smartphone with instant access to Facebook and apps to distract and prevent me from engaging in life around me. It seems like most of my generation is walking around with their glazed-over eyes locked onto their smartphones looking like zombies mindlessly updating their Instagram accounts.