Posted by: fathersez | January 20, 2008

How my wife and I “frugalized” a sensitive item, telephone bills

I have earlier written about doing our family budget for the first time in our married life and our intention to work on paring the budget further. 

One item, telephone bills, was a bit of a bother. My wife and I have between us 3 cell phones, 1 landline, 1 fax line and an Internet connection. The monthly bill comes to a handsome sum. 

Can we do something to reduce this bill? 

My wife and I are quite, no, very, different in character. I am a numbers and logic person. Seeking order and organization in everything I do. I have one checklist for this and another checklist for that. (And usually end up check listing myself to a standstill). I would most probably be classified as “unfriendly” at almost every first meeting with anyone.  

My wife, on the other hand, is a people’s person. She is bubbly and has something nice to say about almost everyone she meets. She knows all the people we deal with in our lives – our grocer, the children’s teachers, the school principal, the school canteen operator, the local police station people, our doctor, the pharmacist, the bank tellers…….well, you get the idea.  

This is on top of her 12 uncles and aunts from her mother’s side and another 12 or 13 from her father’s side, and a serious busload of nephews, nieces, grand nephews and grand nieces.  

Then there are her former colleagues, my colleagues…. 

I shall not even try to complete this list. 

And in line with her people personality, her one weakness is the phone. Maybe weakness is too harsh a word; I should perhaps use “her one necessity”. 

We have had some arguments on the telephone bills. However, since the “budget day”, she is a lot more tolerant of my arguments on the need to cut down the bill. 

We have now realized (yes, I know, I am quite a peabrain) that the phone companies have various plans.  My wife and I have done some research on the plans available. Plans that would suit our requirements and help bring down the damages somewhat.  

As I may be traveling this week, my wife has agreed to drop by our phone company’s office and sign up for the new plan. 

This is indeed a very comforting sign of our financial alignment getting better.    

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Responses

  1. You’re not a peabrain, you just have a different way of thinking about it! I’m sure your wife’s method comes in handy quite often and your method comes in handy quite often! Ying and Yang, right?

    When we re-upped our phone package, I made quite a few demands to the retention office. Tell your wife she should do the same (if you guys are in a position to do that). I got a $50 rebate plus we start our nights/weekends at 7pm now instead of 9pm. It doesn’t hurt to ask!

  2. You could look into bundles that cable companies provide. Anyhoo, congratz on working it out peacefully@

  3. Good for you both! Sometimes I think the best answer is as much in looking for something to fit who you are as it is in trying to change how you behave. I don’t need many minutes at all, so we have a pretty low plan. We could probably do with lower…we’ll have to reevaluate when we renew.

    But if part of who she’s meant to be is someone social who talks with people (a real blessing), then denying them who they are to save money will make them more miserable than frugal.

  4. Brooke,

    Thanks for the kind words. Yes, my wife’s “connections” have come in handy many, many times.

    The phone plans here and in the US may be quite different, but the very fact that this is being discusssed and sorted out is a real development for the both of us.

  5. Oxymoron,

    Thanks for dropping by. The phone companies in our country are getting more and more competetive with the various plans.

    We’ll continue to check them out and will change as we find out more.

    For the time being, the change we are seeking should make a difference.

  6. Mrs. M,

    You are right. I have made a vow many years ago that I’ll do my best to keep my wife happy. (Just like I would want my children’s future spouses to keep them happy.)

    And the approach we are taking now meets the objectives of allowing her the talk time, as well as being frugal.

    I suspect that if push had come to shove, I’ll have just moped around a bit, but would have let her continue with her talk plans.

  7. Fathersez,

    Could you be referring to Celcom’s family plan package? I’m seriously considering it too. And I hear Celcom’s broadband service is pretty convenient.

  8. Hi Rina,

    Actually we are looking at TMB’s Let’s talk package. Our biggest cost is when my wife has her very long talks with Unggah in Batang Melaka. Sometimes a couple of hours.

    TMB’s package allows for unlimited outstation calls during weekends.

    I just hope that my wife can wait till weekends for her talks….hehe


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