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I really should get serious about getting frugal. Frugal, not in the sense of leading a barebones and deprived lifestyle, but in the sense of getting the maximum utility and value out of whatever I spend upon.
For example, up to June of this year, my cell phone bill used to run into a few thousands [of rupees] each month! Reasons: a 3G data plan at Rs 750 per month with a 2 GB cap and work-related calls that often had me direct-dialing international numbers. Now, I had Skype on my cellphone but the software stopped working after some time and I was too lazy to troubleshoot the problem. Invariably, I’d end-up dialing those international numbers direct. And, I never used more than 50 MB out of that 2 GB data cap each month.
Seriously, I was that lazy. Upon seeing my cellphone bill, I’d curse myself, vow to take action, pay the bill, and forget my vow. Who in their right mind would pay so much money to their cellphone provider each month? I must have contributed significantly to Airtel’s ARPU.
In June, a pep talk from D had me scurrying around to fix the problems. I switched to a 3G data plan at Rs 100 per month with a 100 MB cap; I formatted my E52 and installed Skype afresh; I ensured that all those international calls were always made through Skype (my office reimburses all expenses incurred on Skype-credits). I could immediately see the results of these frugal measures — my cellphone bill instantly dropped to around Rs 550 per month and has stayed at that level.
I’m now looking at other bills that I can trim the fat from. Each month, as soon as I receive a bill, I’ve started to pore into its usage details. My only question for each bill is: “Am I getting the maximum utility and value for what I’m paying?” My next target is probably the Reliance Net-connect Mobile Broadband service. I think I’m paying way too much when I’m using it way too little. Do I need it at all is the question on my mind?
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