Saturday, July 24, 2010

Savings by phone...

Rethinking your cell phone plan is almost as bad as shopping for new jeans. You know the ones you have are comfortable and do the job, but on the other hand you also know there is something better out there if you take a little time. A couple of years ago I was comfortable with our shared minutes plan between my husband and I, we got 150 minutes a month to use between us for $76.00 after all the taxes. Sounds wonderful but we never even came close to using that many minutes, we were lucky if we used the phones at all. I called the carrier and found out that this was their lowest plan but I was locked in for 2 more years and if I canceled it would cost $100 per phone. That didn't seem fair but I sat down and did some math. Best Buy had phones we liked for $25.00 each and a 100 minute prepaid card for each of them was $75.00. The price to cancel and start over was a total of $550.00, the cost to stay with our old carrier would have been $1,824.00. By switching and paying the penalty we saved over $1,200.00 for the next two years.

Here is the math:

Best Buy phone = $25.00 x 2 = $50.00
100 prepaid minutes = $75.00 x 2 = $150.00 x 2 years = $300.00
$100.00 fee per phone to drop old carrier = $200.00
Total for the next two years with Best Buys plan = $50.00 + $300 + $200 = $550.00

Old carrier fee $76.00 x 24 months left = $1,824.00

I am not saying that a prepaid works for everyone, but maybe it is time to check your current carrier. Do you have a lot of minutes left over at the end of the month? Even if they roll over you will probably never use them all, think if it this way, if you roll over 10 minutes every month from your plan at the end of the year you will have 120 minutes, that may sound good but are you really going to ever use them? The phone company is banking on the fact your not, they get paid and you get to keep your minutes, it looks great....on paper. Worse yet, do you lose any unused minutes at the end of the month, a company that charges for the minutes but doesn't roll them over is hoping that at some point you will need a little more that what you paid for due to some family emergency or vacation you need to call home from, then they will charge you 3 times the standard rate. Its easy to check for plans that are in you budget with Bill Shrink, its quick and easy and could save you a lot of cash. You will need your usage information, it can usually be found on your bill.
The second thing is to check your bill for features you may be getting charged for that you never use. Your phone may be equipped with a GPS navigation system, but do you use it? That can cost up to $10.00 per month on your plan. Another charge may be for Internet usage, if you don't access the Internet from the road you may be paying for something you don't need or use. Some of the phone carriers allow you to turn on features as you need them, if you need the Internet or GPS for a vacation then see what the charge is for one month and set up a reminder to call to have it turned off when you are back home.

Another thing to check is the cost of the phone itself. Technology changes so fast now days that its hard to stay on top of it, I have opted to keep my phone simple and bought myself an iPod Touch separate from the phone. That way all my hard work and apps will stay in one place if I ever decide to upgrade my phone because it's outdated, I also don't have to pay "extra" for the technology embedded in the phone. Its important to remember that a "Budget" phone can still be a nice phone, almost all have messaging, voice mail, camera, Internet and texting. You can even go "green" with some of the new phones. The MOTO W233 Renew green phone from T-Mobile is unique because of its eco-friendly construction, the Samsung Reclaim green cell phones handset is made up of 80 percent recyclable materials and is designed with organic components and packaging. Please also recycle your old cell phone when you purchase a new one, many battered woman's shelters will take them, or you can request a prepaid envelope from the Cell Phones for Soldiers program, plus many many more programs that use phones for the elderly, victims of natural disasters etc. check for options with phones4charity.

Have a wonderful weekend everyone!


1 comment:

  1. We are in the process of finding a new phone for me as well. Mine is not playing nice anymore. Having my Ipod, like you, means I don't need a fancy app. phone.


I love to read your comments, but due to spamming I have had to turn on the word verification again. Sorry for the extra step.