How Much Do You Spend Communicating?

November 3, 2008

Communication is taking up a larger than ever chunk of our budgets. I got to thinking about this over the weekend, when I sat down to pay the bills.

Our household spends around $200 a month on phone, Internet, cable TV and cell phones. That’s probably pretty close to the average. According to various industry databases, the average U.S. consumer spends about $55 monthly for broadband Internet service, $50 for cell phone service, $35 for cable TV and $65 for local and long distance phone service: a total of $205.

Of course, some households have more premium cable channels and multiple cell phones. A growing number have ditched the land lines and so aren’t paying separate local and long distance fees.

Some argue that such things, once luxuries, have become necessities. There’s a lot of┬átruth to that. I really couldn’t get along without broadband Internet; I often work at home, and I need a fast Internet connection. I’m writing this blog post from home, for example. My wife, a master’s student, needs to do research. Sure, she could go to a library, but with mileage and parking, it would wind up being more expensive, not to mention less convenient.

And being in the communications business, I’d argue that a certain degree of cultural literacy is required of me, making cable TV pretty much a necessity.

A few months back, I was on a savings kick and decided we didn’t need to get HBO any more. That saved a whopping $15 a month. Still, when you add it up, that’s almost 200 bucks a year. It’s meant that I’ve been pretty much left out of conversations about “Entourage” and “Curb Your Enthusiasm,” but for $200 I guess I can handle it.

How do you stack up against the average?