Result so far:
On November 16 I prepaid $50 bucks and got 500 minutes of cell use. As of January 23 I still have 215 minutes remaining! At this rate I’ll get another 2+ months out of this gig… a $13 monthly cell phone bill or less. I guess I should add the .60 it costs per half hour Skype call. Or you could use Gizmo for half as much. [UPDATE] I saw an ad on ebay for SKYPE offering a YEAR’s worth of calling to US or Canada for $15 per… YEAR!
Things that help me:
1. I enabled the “minute beep” on my phone. This is a tiresome beep audible only to me for each minute I am on the cell. It is annoying. It makes talking less enjoyable. And it clues me in on a call that is getting too long.
2. Incoming Calls: I screen them at work. I have leeway in my work culture to use my phone at my discretion even for long distance. A perk that not everyone gets. So I can call the person back on the workphone instead of taking it by default on the cell, saving precious minutes.
3. If I’m not at work but am at a hotspot, I call them back on Skype or Gizmo. My attache case is a mobile office, complete with extra power cord, extra mic headset, and extra Optical Trackball. It gives me the delightful illusion of really being on top of everything. It also screams, “I am a geek, stay away!” to every female in the Panera Bread, an undesirable side effect.
4. If I’m not at work or Hotspot, I screen the call. If I take it I keep the call brief, with the help of the aforementioned odious “minute beep”.
5. I mentally “ration” my minutes at 10 minutes per day. If used, this gives me almost 2 months of cell usage (translating to about $30/month). Most of the time I do not use the ration, which stretches out the cell usage much further.
6. I’m single, with no kids, and a handful of friends and extended family that doesn’t usually call me much. This factor may be the most significant of all! But if you adopt any of these practices, you will save a fair bit of money. And the more money you save, the better steward you will become.
Questions for you:
1. Which of these practices are you already using?
2. What ideas and improvements do you do that I haven’t thought of?