When most people walk into the cellphone store, they go right to the latest, flashiest, coolest device they can find. They oohhh and ahhh over its amazing Internet capabilities and real life applications. They’ve sold themselves the phone before the employee can even ask “Can I help you?”
But not us. About 18 months ago, we walked into the cellphone store and said, “We want to get rid of these (and gasp, handed over our smartphones). We want the most basic plan you can sell us. We want to be able to talk, and text sometimes.” We now pay a fraction of the price for our monthly cell phone bill. Another bonus is that to change your plan in this way, you do not have to pay a contract separation fee or wait for your current contract to end (at least this was our experience when working with Sprint).
We don’t have Internet or email capabilities on our phone. We can take pictures, but not send or receive them. We do not have GPS on our phones or fancy coupon finders. We can’t tell you the population of Tokyo by pushing a button on our phones. We can talk, a lot, and we can send and receive less than 300 texts each a month (most of the time!). And guess what? We are still alive and fully functioning human beings in America in 2012.
Think about it. If you are like 70 percent of Americans (found in a 2010 study sponsored by the U.S. Census Bureau), you have internet functioning in your home, through a computer (http://www.answerbag.com/q_view/2257037). According to a Telecom survey in 2009, 91 percent of Americans use a cell phone. How many of these people overlap? Logic tells us, a lot of them. Of those that overlap, how many have and pay for internet on both? Not to mention that many of these people also have internet accessibility at work. Why do we as a society willingly accept to pay for the same service twice?
Try this instead. Like I said, we have cheapo cheesy phones, without Internet. But we do each have another wireless device in which we can access the Internet. I have a Nook Color Tablet and my husband has an iPod Touch. We can instant message, play games, check email, and video chat… do almost anything a smartphone can do, except make calls. The difference is, we only pay one monthly Internet bill, instead of two (one to the cable company and one to the cellphone company).
Another tip is to ask if your cell phone service provider offers any occupational discounts. Because my husband and I are teachers, we get a decent discount each month, which basically amounts to the same as not having to pay tax. It’s not much, but hey, every little bit counts.
If you are looking for a place to shave money off your monthly budget, and are willing to look a little less than cool when answering your phone in public, then downgrading your cellphone plan is a great option to consider.