In my country, voice calls and SMS messages can either be paid by use or be bundled in some monthly fee that includes a limited amount of free messages and voice call minutes. The first option is vastly more convenient to me.
The cost per SMS is not a big sum (0.16€, the same price as one minute on the phone), but I like to spare a dime when I can. Lately, social pressure is forcing me to timely reply to SMS messages and the (unnecessary, in my opinion) costs are making me uncomfortable.
I'm part of a group that usually meets in person twice a week.
The group also has a WhatsApp chat where scheduling changes (new meetings or rescheduling) are discussed. I'm currently unable to join the chat and I'm only able to use most forms of instant messaging while I'm at my home PC anyway. Calling me or sending me SMS messages is the only way to immediately get in touch with me.
This group decided, without any input on my part, that I'm getting told of scheduling changes via SMS. I assumed that, especially for very faraway meetings or for "next week, we're gonna reschedule from wednesday to thursday" (no questions) it was ok to wait for the next meeting to state my participation.
"I wonder why you never reply to my SMS messages. I'm using up one of my free SMS messages, it'd be nice if you at least spent some time to reply", recently told me the person that usually contacts me, in front of everyone.
I'd rather them not spending their free SMS messages on me and just tell me things next time we meet in person, but it is apparently critical that my reply is collected at the same time as everyone else's, every single time. I strongly doubt that I'm always the one whose presence determines if the meeting can take place at the new date or not.
I understand that maybe not having a tariff plan at all is rare these days and it's assumed that I have free SMS messages too, but I feel that I'm being guilt-tripped into spending my money and the feeling is awful.
What can I do to avoid having to send paid SMS messages just to keep this person quiet, without alienating them and possibly without having to explicitly tell the whole group my reasons?
I want to be as honest as possible, e.g. I don't want to fake not having received the message.