In addition to getting rid of a car and cutting out cable, another money-saving idea has been to list our monthly bills and try to reduce or eliminate them. About a year and a half ago, Devin and I jotted down a list of monthly non-necessities in our budget. It didn’t take long and looked something like this:
- Cell phones (I felt like this was a necessity!)
- And a few other things
We started with the easy one. We cancelled Netflix, which cost about $10/month, saving us $120/year. We recorded and watched shows that were on the free channels (here’s how we did it).
Next, we worked on internet. I called and asked if there was a way to lower our bill. The sales rep looked at our usage and said we could switch to a different plan that would save us about $10/month. That saved another $120/year.
The big change was with our phones. We were using Verizon and paying around $150/month for our call, text, data plan. That was a whole lot of money. But mostly, we didn’t like how the major cell phone providers had long contract obligations. It was like we were stuck in this funky, long term relationship where I always felt trapped, especially when it was upgrade time. So, we were ready to break up with Verizon. I looked up other pay-for-what-you-use options. The two we liked were: Republic Wireless and Ting. Republic Wireless didn’t service our area yet, so we decided to go with Ting.
It was pretty easy to switch to Ting. We cancelled the rest of our contract with Verizon and paid the early termination fees (like $200, but Ting gave us $75 in credit PER PHONE to offset the early termination fee). We signed up for Ting and bought refurbished Samsung Galaxy III phones for about $100 each (only certain phones work with Ting but they’re working on their SIM card program that will give users a lot more phone options). We’ve been using Ting for a year and here’s the good and bad:
- Much cheaper to pay for what you use (we pay about $55/month to use both phones, saving us $95/month and $1,140/year!)
- no contract
- no long-distance charges calling within the U.S. (I haven’t called internationally yet)
- kept our same cell numbers
- pretty good customer service
- we don’t spend as much time on our phones when we’re out (and there’s usually free WiFi where we’re going so if I want to look something up, I still can)
- not unlimited data; you pay for what you use (this was an adjustment, but it actually gets me off my phone more and makes me pre-plan a bit. Side note: if I load Google maps at home before navigating somewhere it will still work when I’m driving away from home without data, so I can still navigate places)
- not as many phone options since Ting only allows certain phones (but they just started using SIM cards, so there should be more options)
- service isn’t as crisp in some areas (we rarely had a problem but my in-laws tried it and service wasn’t as great in their town)
Ting is great if you’d like to spend less and are willing to give up the unlimited everything mentality. They have a savings calculator to see what you could save. There are some other options out there besides Ting though (including ones from the major providers; check out Consumer Reports article or this blog post). I’d love to hear any other options if you’d like to share below!