As I wrote my budget down, I started realizing that most of my big expenses were fixed expenses: rent, Internet connection, cable TV, car expenses, cell phone. Rent was my largest dollar cost, of course, but it was reasonably low since I lived away from town with roommates. My Internet and cable costs were tied up in that as well because of the roommates and car expenses didn’t seem under my short-term control.
So I started with my cell phone. I’ve never been a big talker, so it was a natural place to cut costs. I looked through six months of statements to figure out my average and peak monthly usage (150 and 300 minutes). With that information in hand, I searched around for the cheapest plans possible. In the end, I got a T-Mobile pre-paid phone and 1250 minutes for $140. I’ve since paid 30-50% of my previous bill each month without changing my calling habits at all.