As I mentioned previously, you can save a ton of money by switching your cell phone provider to a company like Ting. We’ve been averaging $39/mo for two phones since we switched, and love the service. But since we now pay for the minutes we use, I found a way to save even more.
I have my data turned off, and just connect up to WiFi where ever it’s available. I rarely turn my data on, but there are the rare occasions that I need it (mostly to use my Google Navigation to find out where I’m going. But you can turn your data back off with that app once you input the address). I have been using about 10-20mb per month for that service, and I barely even notice I don’t have data without WiFi.
You pay to access data from your cell phone provider, but really rarely need to use that data. Think about it. Where are you when you’d actually use the data on your phone most of the time? You’re probably either at home or at work. You won’t use the data while you’re driving, because that’s not safe. There might be the rare times that you use it while you’re in a store, but some stores even have free WiFi (the Home Depot in my area does, for instance, and I’ve just connected to it when I want to use it). Other than that, you don’t really need it. So you’re paying a high premium for a rare instance. So just try turning your data off on your phone for a week, and see how it goes. You might be surprised at the results.
Ok, so now that you’re connected up to free WiFi when you need it, you can almost eliminate your data usage on Ting. What about the calls and text messages though? I’ve got a solution for that as well. You can make those calls and texts through a third party app that uses VoIP, which basically means it uses your WiFi connection.
To set that up, sign up for a Google Voice number, if you don’t have one already. Depending on where you live, you might need to get a new number. You can just start giving that number to people though, and gradually change over once you get used to using it.
Now that you have a Google Voice number, download Talkatone. The key to this app is that it’ll take your Google Voice number and make the calls over your free WiFi connection. Google is talking about removing that functionality sometime in the May, but you might be able to do the same thing through the Google Hangout app when they update it at that point in time. For now, download Talkatone.
Once you install it, just sign into your Google Voice account, and it’ll sync your contacts into the app. You can call and text through the app, so now you can eliminate or drastically reduce your phone calls and text messages you pay to Ting. You can even download the app on an iPod and use it as your phone for free! As an added bonus, you can forward your cell phone voicemails to your Google Voice account, and read a transcribed version right in your email, without even needing to touch your phone!
This is what I do, and it works pretty well. Of course, if someone calls me while I’m not connected to WiFi, Talkatone doesn’t open. But I have my Google Voice account set to forward to both numbers, so my native app rings in that situation.
Using this technique has saved me some money, and I hope it can save you some too.