A large bill that can pretty easily be avoided every month is a cell phone bill. According to J.D. Power and Associates, the average monthly cell bill was $78 a person in 2010. I pay $0 per month. Here’s how I do it:
Google has a service called Google Voice. You can get a phone number through this for free which can receive calls through Google Hangouts, sends voicemail to your email and transcribes the audio, and can send and receive SMS messages. You can make and receive calls using your computer’s microphone and speakers as well. The quality is generally as good as your connection though, as long as you have DSL or cable though, it works great. You can use Google Hangouts to make calls from your favorite web browser, so you don’t need to download any apps or anything. You can also get hangouts on iOS and Android, so you can use it with a smartphone or tablet and use it on the go. This way, as long as you have wifi, voila~ you have a free working phone!
If you need to make international calls, you can do that too, but Google charges $.10 a minute. I haven’t tried this aspect, but I’m betting it works fine.
Of course, you won’t have wifi everywhere. The way I get around this is I have a mobile hotspot (MiFi) with FreedomPop. This is not completely free as you need to buy the hotspot, but once you have it, you can use it to connect to the Sprint LTE wifi network for free for each month. You are limited to 500 MB for the free plan, but I only use around 250 or so a month, so it works well for me. Still, service is a bit spotty and the wifi likes to drop for no reason. My phone is also getting old too, so I’m sure that has something to do with it. I only paid around $80 total for having FreedomPop for the last 3 years or so, so I can’t really complain about price! The hotspot is also supposed to work internationally now. I haven’t tried it yet, but that alone might be a good reason to get a hotspot.
FreedomPop also has a free phone plan, so you can just skip all this and just get one of their phones. Or you can bring your unlocked phone over. I haven’t personally done this, so I can’t recommend it, but I will probably do that when I’m thinking of upgrading.
I think these are the rock-bottom ways to save money on the cell-phone bill. Have you heard of any better? If so, leave a comment!