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Everybody’s Talkin’ At Me

Here’s a situation I’m just not happy with: our cell phone/land line/Internet charges.

Because we have a business and because I simply cannot hear using a cell phone (I’m deaf in one ear, which complicates things considerably), we have a line line. In fact, we currently have two land lines. Plus Call Notes (AT&T’s answering service) on both lines. We share one cell phone, with 450 minutes per month plus 5000 weekend and anytime minutes. We don’t come anywhere close to using our 450 minutes. NO WHERE close. And we never text, although I noticed that on my most recent bill, we got charged for six such messages.

Our land lines, cell phone, and Internet fees are all bundled with AT&T. The taxes, surcharges and other “special fees” alone add up to $33/month! (Of all the fees I resent, I resent the special ones the most.)

We don’t make many long distance calls. But since I can’t hear on the cell, I usually pick up the land line to make them. And it’s usually in a quasi-emergency situation, like when I need to call my out-of-town sister over my mother’s hospitalization. It does add up. What I need to do (I guess) is call my person and then ask them to call me back, using their cell phone minutes and free long distance. Then I would pick up my land line and be able to hear. That’s the best plan I can come up with at the moment, although Skype would also work, I’m sure.

I’m voting for immediately losing one of our land lines, and relying on Caller ID to notify us of calls we need to return. Additionally, I’m voting to ditch AT&T CallNotes and go back to a phone with an answering machine component. CallNotes costs WAY too much money, and yes, it we dump it we won’t be able to call in remotely to hear our messages. But if we carry a cell phone, why is that so important?

As a Late Boomer, I feel like I need to get a handle on some of these ridiculous expenses. None of my adult kids have land lines, and I envy their freedom. I doubt if that will ever completely work for us, but we need to know some alternatives that are working for others.

What are you doing to keep your telephone/Internet charges under control? How low can we go, dollar-wise, and still enjoy the services we need?

Posted by Katy on 05/30/08}
in Personal FinanceProduct Complaints

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Are You a Late Boomer?

If looming retirement is catching you off-guard between an aging parent and a revolving-door kid, you might be. If you've delayed travel only to discover they've changed the names of all the countries, you are. And if you're a member of the Baby Boomer Generation who's ready to give back but you've forgotten where you put it, stay tuned. From healthcare to personal finance, from career changes to volunteerism, it's time to boom where you are planted.