You don’t really own your phone. It owns you.
It makes you carry it around, commands you to whisper sweet nothings into its receiver, buy it expensive duds (those water-resistant cases) and lavish it with apps and accessories. And then there are the monthly charges. If you spend less than $600 a year on your plan, your bill is below average.
In our parents’ day, things weren’t as bad. Phones just hung on the wall, served the entire household and cost just a fraction of today’s monthly plans.
But over the last decade and a half, clever minxes such as AT&T, Verizon Wireless and Sprint have teamed up with phone manufacturers to convince the world that everyone needs an extra-small phone in our pocket…and an extra-large bill to thin out out our wallet and make room for the phone!
Your choice is either to adapt to the way things are or invest in a corncob pipe and a rocking chair and go on grumbling about the ways of the modern world. Assuming you’ll stick with your phone and forgo the corncob pipe, here are some ways to tame your phone bill:
Service providers want you to accept an overpriced unlimited-everything plan, an overpriced text bundle or an overpriced pay-per-text plan. Ignore them all and don’t text at all. Problem is, everyone you know will still want to text you, which — without a texting plan — will cost you quarter or so every time they do. So transition them to texting your email account instead. To send messages back to them, use this handy guide that turns everyone’s phone number into an email address. Or you can opt for a free texting app such as txtdrop.
Take advantage of poor service to get a better plan
When a friend dazzles you with his tales of paying a pittance for his new cell phone plan, it’s usually depressing because you’ve got a year left on your contract and the usurious early termination fee forces you to stay loyal. You can get around the fee by whining to customer service that your network is poor at your home or work. Enough persistent complaining will get you a vastly reduced ETF or let you off the hook entirely. Just don’t expect them to roll over and let you out without something of a struggle.
Ask for discounts
You know how your mom constantly makes you prove her love to her by letting her take you out to dinner a couple times a year? Demand similar validation from your provider by asking for discounts. Check if the company has a sleazy back-room deal cut with your employer’s overpaid executives in the form of an employee discount. Also, like at In N Out Burger, there are secret menu items that are hidden from the public. Some phone companies will cut your bill if you’ve been with the company for a certain amount of time, and others will offer you secret lower-cost, reduced minute plans they don’t list on their websites.
If all else fails
You could abandon the cell phone network entirely, refuse to go back to land lines and invest in paper cups and string to set up the type of phone network you were happy with at age 5.