As I tighten my belt to weather the economic storm, I am looking for ways to be more resourceful in all aspects of my life. Recently, I moved from Los Angeles to Washington DC. As part of the move I was faced with decisions regarding my cell phone, home telephone, long distance, international long distance, internet connection, cable TV, etc.
Back in Los Angeles, my telecommunications expenses were significant:
- $250 per month for Verizon wireless
- $100 for cable TV and internet
- $75 per the home telephone
- $30 for Wi-Fi hotspots
- $30 for VOIP with Vonage to speak with my international partners
In total, I was paying close to $500 per month on my telecommunications expenses.When I moved to Washington DC, I took the opportunity to re-evaluate my telecommunications budget. Given the sensationalism in the media over the financial crisis and recession, this seemed like a very timely exercise.
- I switched from Verizon to AT&T with unlimited calling and data plan. This saved me about $100 in fees for both my regular calling as well as the paid Wi-Fi hotspots.
- I purchased a MagicJack (a VOIP solution) at an annual rate of $39.95. I can buy additional years of service in advance for $19.95.
- I discovered that I can watch full episodes of TV shows like Lost and Saturday Night Live (SNL) online for free. Soon, I will be able to watch NFL (National Football League) games online for free as well. So, instead of paying for premium cable, I just pay for high-speed internet access.
- At the same time, I opted for electronic bill-pay for all of my bills so that I can spend less time and money on stamps and running to my post office to make urgent payments.
In short, I was able to effectively reduce my telecommunications budget from about $500/month to about $200/month. In addition, I find that I am more efficient in paying bills, entertaining myself, and getting work done. To me, the internet has increased my quality of life with regard to work, live, and play.