Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Mo' cellphones, mo' savings

So back in December I started trying to cut back on certain expenses, and in January I gave an update on how that worked out with my cell phone. Basically, because it has been half a decade since I got a new cell phone, I am way out of contract and was able to take advantage of a new plan offered by AT&T that cut my monthly cost by about $15. It took a bunch of phone calls over a couple of months for them to get everything figured out (although they never did get my auto-billing* reinstated, so I had a few late bills and one late fee, grrrr).

Well, then we stumbled upon another option that will further lower my bill by about $13 per month - Peanut's family's family plan had an extra line and I could get a new local number and a new phone all at once. My iPhone still works, but it is starting to get a little buggy and slow, and it's five years old after all. And my 212 (NYC) area code was confusing to a lot of locals - there is a 612 area code here that is responsible for at least one major miscommunication when someone wrote my number down wrong. So last weekend we spent some time at the Verizon store and I got a kicky new Samsung Galaxy S4 Mini and a shiny number that pairs well with Peanut's (he got a new phone too).

By joining the family plan, we also managed to lower the overall family's bill due to an Edge credit, so it seems to have worked out well for everyone. (We'll know more when we see how it's laid out on the first bill.) Now Peanut and I are paying $90 per month for two smart phones with unlimited (or effectively unlimited) voice, data and texting. In addition, I ported my NYC number to Google Voice, so I can keep using it until I get all of Baby M's medical providers updated.

The transition from iPhone to Android is taking some time, but it's going well so far. I have 14 days to swap it out for a newer iPhone, but I'm really trying to like the Galaxy since that swap would cost me a $35 restocking fee plus a long wait to get the phone - they only had the brand new iPhones in store and I wanted an older new one, if that makes sense.

This whole experience reminded me that there is a reason I wait so long between upgrading phones! I don't like change, and I would hate to get a new phone every year. I'll wait till this one starts being more frustrating than useful before I think about upgrading again.

How often do you upgrade your cell phones?

* My cell phone is pretty much the ONLY thing I have auto-billed, because I don't trust companies to not make mistakes in their favor, and I did that because the bill was consistently the same month after month and I used it to keep an old credit card active. So of course when the auto-billing went haywire, it took me forever to notice because that's the ONLY bill that I don't pay manually.


  1. I only upgrade when my phone starts to die and this was the first time I've actually really paid for new phones out of pocket but I did that to get the phones that I wanted for flexibility reasons: They'll be compatible for international travel (with free coverage in some countries!) which is important for my work, and I'm getting much better pricing for 3 phones through TMobile's Simple Choice plan ($91 for 2 smartphones & 1 regular phone, unlimited everything).

  2. I don't upgrade my cell phone unless something horrible happens to it (like the time I dropped it in the toilet at the gym - it actually kept working for 6 months after I dried it out). Because I'm so anti-touch-screen technology, I usually pick a cell phone with a QWERTY keyboard for texting but no data plans. Luckily, those phones tend to be free with a two year contract.

    1. Um, you are my frugal HERO. You dropped your phone in a gym toilet and kept using it? $$$$$ to you, my friend!


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