Monday, July 21, 2008

Optimizing my Sprint Bill

I knew when I made out my last Budget that my Sprint bill would be due soon, as it had been just under a month since I paid them last. But there just wasn't much room in the Budget and I admit, not paying my Sprint bill on time has been a problem for me before. So I just figured they could wait around for their payment since they tell me right there on their web site that my "credit limit" is $250 so it should technically take over 3 months of non-payment before I should hit that mark.

But, just for those people who are toying with the idea of falling behind on your Sprint payments, here are some cute things that Sprint has come up with to "remind" you your payment is due:

  1. Sends you a text message saying "Payment Reminder."
  2. Sends you an email with an Invoice attached to it
  3. Starts blocking your ability to receive and/or send text messages
  4. Turns off your voicemail - you can call it and check your messages but people who call you won't receive your voicemail.
  5. Blocks to your ability to make outgoing calls.
  6. And finally, blocks all activity from your phone.
As someone who has been through all 6 stages of Sprint service removal, I've come to know these signs well. Luckily I have not had the most severe measures taken against me in a while (ever since I stopped paying for my Older Sister's Cell Phone and that's a story for another day!) but I had made it to Stage 2 last week.

And how much did I owe Sprint? $164.90, yikes! And, coincedentally, 10 cents less than what I also owed Boyfriend for agreeing to put part of my Work Trip expenses on his credit card. That figure includes two months of service so luckily I don't have to pay it again for a while.

But paying about $80 a month for cell service is still too much and it got me thinking about how much service do I actually need. Luckily, Sprint has this new feature called the Plan Optimizer right on their site where it analyzes your usage and tells you which alternate plans may save you money. I had to laugh when I read that because a full SIX YEARS ago I had to perform a similar task for a boss of mine which took me literally hours of pouring through phone records and number-crunching.

So, here are the results:

My original plan is only $50 but with all the add-ons I end up paying $72. I won't compromise on Insurance as someone who had broken or lost her phone and been faced with the devastating reality of paying $250 for the ugliest phone in the store.

But I am paying $5 a month in order for my night minutes to start at 7 p.m. instead of 9. Annoying.

I am also paying $5 a month for Picture Mail. Even Sprint thinks this is a bad idea and told me so right on the Plan Optimizer. I have maybe mailed three pictures since signing up for this feature several months ago.

I also am paying $5 a month for 300 text messages. This, unfortunately, will have to remain as my friends are all too fond of this method of communication. See for yourself:

Of my 700 Anytime Minutes, I have only used 143 this month. Therefore, it looks like the Talk 450 plan which would reduce my 700 minutes to 450 would save me money as long as this amount is normal which I am pretty certain it is. This would save me $10 a month.

Talk 450 also has Unlimited Night and Weekend Minutes starting at 7. This would save me $5 a month.

I have used 171 text messages this month. I can keep my 300 text messages a month with talk 450 and keep paying the $5 a month. This will save me nothing.

I can abandon my Picture Mail capabilities as it appears I have not used it this month anyway. This will save me $5 a month.

Roaming is included under the Talk 450 plan as well since according to the Optimizer I spend $2.30 a month roaming. That seems high but the usage chart indicates that I definitely roamed for at least one minute this month.

So the net savings would be about $23 a month. I think I'm going to do it.

The good thing about the Plan Optimizer is that by changing your contract this way, Sprint recognizes your old contract and you don't need to renew it for another two years. Which is cool because I like getting my free phone every two years.
Hopefully I can start seeing a savings with this new plan and also remember to pay my bill on time!

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