Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Cutting Your Cell Phone Bill - #4
TMTM - Too Many Text Messages

Teens today use text messaging like our generation used instant messenger and e-mail. Text messages are sent, saying "God is so Good. If you love God, forward this on to ten friends and the person who sent it to you. If you don't love God, you don't have to do anything." When I receive forwarded e-mails like this, I immediately delete them, before even reading them. If my life doesn't show people that I love God, don't want people to have cancer, value their friendship, etc., etc., then sending them an e-mail that says such won't convince them. So I find chain letters and mass forwards through e-mail to be useless wastes of my time. Many people are now sending these through text messages though! Now no one sends them to me, but if you have a teenager in your home, you probably have come to realize why they send/receive so MANY text messages!

A friend recently called me concerned about his text messages. A friend of his had begun texting him massively, running up a $200 bill in text messages! Not too difficult at $.15 per message - each way! Allow me to take a moment to say, that charging for text messages was a brilliant move on part of the wireless providers! I know it takes some of their bandwidth to move these messages, but there is no way receiving a message with "Hey! :)" in it is worth 15 cents to me! So, if your cell phone bill is massive, and you've already cut the frills, check the usage section to see how the text messages are treating you. At 15 cents to send and receive they add up quickly. Even if you can curb your own sending, you pay any time someone sends a message to you. If you send or receive more than 33 text messages a month on average, you ought to be considering a text message plan. For $4.99 (the cost of 32.6 text messages) you can get a starter plan from AT&T that allows up to 200 text messages (sent & received combined). Additional text messages then drop to 10 cents each! If you send/receive more than 300 text messages a month, you ought to be using the "Messaging Unlimited" plan from AT&T that allows you to send/receive unlimited text messages to anyone on any wireless carrier. If you have a family plan, and two of your teens have a problem, though, you have to get the family plan at $29.99/month to cover all of your lines with unlimited texting.

So, for an individual plan, to have unlimited texting, you'll spend $20/month, or $240 per year. Is there another way to handle TMTM? Yes...ask your wireless provider to disable this option on your lines. You won't ever be able to send/receive text messages, but neither will you pay $240 a year for your friends to be able to send you those annoying little forwards!

If you want to cut your cell phone bill, take care of TMTM (too many text messages)!

All Cell Phone Frugality Posts in this Series: Cell Phone Insurance: Is It REALLY Worth It?; Cutting Your Cell Phone Bill #1: Multiple Lines; Cutting Your Cell Phone Bill #2: Cutting the Minutes; Cutting Your Cell Phone Bill #3: Cut the Frills; Cutting Your Cell Phone Bill #4: TMTM - Too Many Text Messages; More Cell Phone Frugality