When a host mom emailed to ask for some specific suggestions around keeping the cost of cell phones down, I flinched. The whole cell phone thing, like recycling, is delegated in our house to my DH. Why? Because I just can’t stand to deal with it. Though I should deal with it, and stop avoiding it by remaining ignorant.
But hey, that’s my issue. It is, however, also related to this HM’s issue. And, with no knowledge to share with her myself, I turn to you, dear readers, for your knowledge of what cell phones (will) actually cost, and for you concrete suggestions about how to keep costs down.
Here is our Host Mom’s full email, with her specific information needs:
Does anyone have a really easy, painless way to deal with cell phone use so I don’t feel like I’m paying too much, and yet she won’t feel cut off from her friends?
Is 50 bucks a month about how much the au pair cell phone is going to cost, even if we shift around our cell phone accounts? We have an opportunity to do this.
I was looking around the site last night and didn’t quite find these answers. Lots of conversations about billing for overuse, but by doing the go-phone we have built-in limits. Even so, I was reviewing our pay-as-you-go phone account and it looks like I’ve been spending 50 bucks a month on au pair cell phone use, which surprised me.
I don’t want to turn into a shrewish host, I HATE accounting, and just I’ve never wanted to get into nickel and diming the au pairs about cell phone use. We have VOIP, so I encourage them to use the house phone as much as possible and don’t charge them for calling another continent from home, since it’s the same price as calling a neighbor.
The problem with using the self-limiting go phone arises when I need to reach my AP, for example, to tell her that I will pick them up in a different spot, only to discover she has run out of funds and I, the parent, cannot reach her at all. The point of the cell phone is for ME to reach her with kid-related information, not her convenience for chatting with friends.
She is a very responsible AP, and does not stay on the cell for hours, so I’m trying to figure out if this is just the price of doing business, or if I’m spending a lot too much.