4 Ways To Slash Phone Expenses

Your phone is not only a lifeline, entertainment device and communication portal to everyone you know, but it’s also a siphon that sucks money out of you monthly. Phone companies are counting on you falling into complacency with paying for unneeded services.

Thirty Six Months identifies four phone fees you don’t need. You can trim your phone budget and use your money for something special. Like a new phone.

Here are some cuts to consider:

* Drop your landline. Most people we know have long since dispensed with the telecommunications relic, but maybe your parents are still keeping one around out of habit. Encourage them to cut the cord.

* Ringtones. We’re well past the age in which it’s acceptable to still pay for ringtones. Create your own or just learn to love the ones that come pre-installed on your device.

* Block information calls. Take away the temptation to call pay services to give you information. Instead, look up the info you need on a computer, your own smartphone or someone else’s.

* Slash your minutes. Examine your bill to see if you use all your minutes. If you don’t, drop down to a lower tier and monitor your usage. If you come close to passing your limit, call your phone company and change plans mid-month. The technique also works well for text message and data plans.

7 Phone extras that you need to stop paying [Thirty Six Months]


Edit Your Comment

  1. AlteredBeast (blaming the OP one article at a time.) says:

    Or, you can bundle it with your high speed internet! lol

    • polishhillbilly says:

      Can’t do that is you already have a FAN discount on ATT.

    • chefboyardee says:

      Not “can”…MUST! (so sayeth the great and powerful verizon) :)

    • LightningUsagi says:

      The only reason I have a landline is for the entrance gate in my condo complex…but bundling with my internet saves me $30 a month over having internet alone. Can’t complain about that.

    • racermd says:

      You know what? I actually HAVE bundled phone with my high-speed internet. For two reasons:

      First (and most importantly), I actually WANT a land-line phone. That’s a phone that’s tied only to the residence where I live and simply for use when filling out financial or government forms. I’ll also use it to give out to people that simply want my number “for their records” and I don’t feel like fighting it that day. We rarely answer that phone and usually just let it go to voicemail. If it’s important enough, we’ll get a message and we’ll call them back.

      Second, my choices for broadband are Qwe- err, CenturyLink or Comcast. I can’t get anything better than 1.5Mb via DSL so I’m pretty much stuck with Comcast for actual high-speed internet. And, with Comcast, they jack up the price of single services just to goad you into bundling some other service for which they have almost no overhead in providing you. If I had DSL, I’d bundle that land line with CenturyLink. Because I have Comcast, I’m bundling with them. Because I want both services, it saves me money in the long-run.

  2. Phil Keeps It Real [Consumerist] says:

    Someone in a previous post mentioned that they’ve gotten to the point where they can tell by the title if it is an official Phil document. I think I am also gaining this wonderful super-power, & I like it !

    • Dr. Ned - This underwear is Sofa King Comfortable! says:

      Will you use your new found power for good or evil?

      • Agent Hooter Enjoys Enhanced Patdowns says:

        Only for indifferent pursuits!

      • Phil Keeps It Real [Consumerist] says:

        Well, just like a couple of other facets of my life; I really don’t know which way I’m swingin’ yet !

    • Round-Eye §ñ‰∫∫„ÅØ„Ç≥„É≥„Çπ„Éû„É™„ÉÉ„Çπ„Éà„ÅåÂ•Ω„Åç„Åß„Åô„ÄÇ says:

      This very article was my eye-opening experience. I read the title and thought, “This sounds like an article that was pulled from some other article, requiring no actual work/research, and will only tell us things that anyone with common sense already knows. Must be a Phil article.” Then I red the byline. I was not disappointed. I think I’m going to make a game out of it.

  3. Captain Spock says:

    What do they mean “Cut the Broadband” if they mean on the smartphone, I agree. If they mean at home (the did mention landlines, which is at home) then i heartily disagree.

  4. MrMagoo is usually sarcastic says:

    7. Cancel the broadband.

    Seriously? Tomorrow we’ll see a post telling us to drop cable TV because you can get access to all of your shows online.

    • AlteredBeast (blaming the OP one article at a time.) says:

      You can save money if you just stop watching TV, movies, or listening to music.

    • MaryK says:

      I was hoping this would be USEFUL, but apparently journalists who are expected to update facebook/twitter at the drop of the hat don’t get to cut phone expenses. #7 is the only one I haven’t already done and, unfortunately, I can’t cut it and get a job in my field.

  5. Blueskylaw says:

    Use Free Directory Assistance:

    Why on earth would ANYONE pay anything for a computer to look up a number for you?

  6. milkcake says:

    Here’s really good one if you have a company cellphone. Convert your number to google voice. Route the call to your company phone. Cancel your personal phone. Now you REALLY have to check your company phone, but you are riding your personal phone for FREE.

    • Apeweek says:

      A step further – I’ve got Google Voice and Google Talkatone hooked up to an iPod Touch.

      This lets me make and receive free phone calls over my WiFi connection. And the iPod Touch feels just like an iPhone.

      Recently the wife and I have taken this further with a portable “MiFi” WiFi hotspot from TruConnect (Netzero has a similar plan.) It costs $5/month, plus 4 cents per megabyte – a phone call takes under a half megabyte per minute, so it’s pretty darn cheap.

      This gives us a way to leave the house with our “iPod Phones”. Total cost is under $10/month for both our phones.

  7. Hoss says:

    1. Kill everyone you know
    2. Get incarcerated
    3. String and can method
    4. Don’t pay the phone bill

    See, not so hard

  8. Hi_Hello says:

    Once I find a permanent housing, I”m was going to cancel my cell phone and just get a landline. I had one before..10 bucks a month. I can’t make outgoing calls, that would dip into my 35 cent allowance but I can receive any local call for free.

    but then my company offer to pay for my cell phone, wooohoooo!

  9. mister_roboto says:

    For smart phones:

    I cut my data plan (ATT) from 3GB to 300 MB, it saves me hardly any more (but still money)- and I just got a cheap WiFi router. WiFi at home, work, and more and more public places- over the 2 year contract life I’ll save a bit. Also my battery life approves.

  10. SPOON - now with Forkin attitude says:

    ooma. just pay taxes.

  11. Cat says:

    Net Talk or Magic Jack.

  12. bendee says:

    They forgot ‘try a different carrier’. There are plans available on all four major networks for $45-$55/month that include unlimited talk, text, and a large amount of data (1GB to unlimited depending on carrier). Just use the following: Verizon=Page Plus, Sprint=Virgin/Boost, T-Mobile=T-Mobile/Straight Talk, AT&T=Straight Talk. If you don’t use many minutes, there are plans out there for $30-$35/month that work well too.

  13. Loias supports harsher punishments against corporations says:

    * Stop using a data plan you don’t really need.

  14. zantafio says:

    I have a phone that costs me ZERO dollars a month: I use the obitalk’s Obi100 box with a google voice account.

    • longhairbilly says:

      +1. I set the Obi 110 up for my parents with Google Voice. Very easy set-up, voice quality is very good as well. Best part, no phone bill at all.

      Just look it up on Amazon and look at the reviews. I think that will sway anyone on the fence. GET THIS!

  15. brinks says:

    People forget that you don’t need a smartphone to have a data plan, and it is FAR cheaper. The Death Star offers a good family plan. We have two lines, unlimited data for one of them, unlimited messaging, and roadside assistance and it’s just over a hundred bucks a month after taxes and fees and stuff. For TWO lines.

  16. giax says:

    Wow, are those tips resurrected from 1998?

  17. zyphbear says:

    Also make a note that from personal experience that many wireless companies offer a free purchase blocker, you may have to specifically ask for it and nicely decline any versions that charge. That way you are not paying for something you are not using and may miss on your cell bill.
    And to make sure you don’t have any surprises on your bill of going over limits, keep on eye on any services that have a limit of some sort, they being minutes, texting or data. Many companies have apps that help you keep track of them as well as normally having resources on their website.
    Data is another surprise for some people, make sure you get a data meter app for your smartphone so you can track how much data is being used for each app, that way not only do you know how much you are using, makes sure you know if an app suddenly is using a large amount of data and could cause you to go over your limit.

  18. Important Business Man (Formerly Will Print T-shirts For Food) says:

    Make your boss buy you a MiFi device and get Straight Talk! Works for me….

  19. pythonspam says:

    “Block information calls.”
    1-800-GOOG-411 was great while it was around, but 1-800-Bing-411 is still around and free if you trust M$

  20. mbz32190 says:

    I dumped my landline and went with MagicJack. It does have some cons, and the quality isn’t always 100%, but I still wanted to keep my home number (you can now port it for a $20 fee) for doctors appointment confirmations, fax from the computer, and things like that. I bought a mini- WYSE terminal to run it on so it uses a minimal amount of power as well (this is was before they came out with the PLUS version)

  21. meske says:


  22. HogwartsProfessor says:

    I still have the landline for DSL; it’s the cheapest option where I live. I can’t afford to change it right now because I’m not working. After all the Death Star stories about naked DSL problems, I’m too scared to try it because I really depend on the Internet for job applications, email, etc., especially right now.

    I save a little bit of money by using Skype for long-distance calls, or using my prepaid NEt10 phone. My long-distance bf and I talk on MSN, which saves us phone bills, and he tries not to call me on my cell phone so as to not use too many of my minutes.

    But the Net10 does save money, because if you buy 300 minutes and 30 days of service and don’t talk too much, it averages out to about $15 a month. And online there are often extra minutes available for $5 or $10 more before you check out. And the quality of the calls is great. Only time I’ve had problems is when I’ve been in buildings where the signal had trouble getting through.

  23. Rhinoguy says:

    I’ve seen this advice dozens of times, usually just copying verbatim what the last adviser said. It presumes that I have a cell phone, which I don’t. I have a landline because it is MUCH cheaper than any cell service. I also have DSL which locally is MUCH cheaper than cable internet or any other alternative. My long distance service is four cents per minute, any time, any where, including places in South America that I will never call.
    My land line went out twice last year. Anybody have that reliability with a cell phone? Two dropped calls in a year? As for 911, if I call it they know where I am even if I can’t speak, like when I had a heart attack. With a cell phone there is less than a 50% chance they can figure out where you are since most municipalities and counties haven’t gotten the equipment to locate you yet.
    As for needing one out in public there are always hundreds of people willing to show off their cell phone in an emergency.
    Please stop suggesting ways to spend less while grocery shopping with a Porsche. An old station wagon works better for less money.

  24. Peter V says:

    Stop using Contract Cell Phones, T-Mobile Prepaid (Best Prepaid Coverage in the U.S), AT&T GoPhone and Republic Wireless all have reasonable plans under $30/month. T-Mobile: 100 Minutes, Unlimited Texts and 5 GBs for $30… AT&T GoPhone: $25 for 250 Minutes, Unlimited Text. Republic (Sprint MVNO) Unlimited everything for $19 (must use Wi-Fi over 50% of the time). Need Unlimited Everything? How about Straight Talk, you can also BYOD using StraightTalkSIM.com.

  25. XTREME TOW says:

    If you don’t ‘live’ with a phone surgically attached to your ear, try pre-pay. I rarely use a phone, so, at $25 for 3 months or 1000 minutes, I get the equivalent of cellphone service for $100/year. And I don’t have to hunt for open WIFI’s. Anyone care to top that?