I challenged you all to #BeBrave to start 2014. I also took the challenge on myself. Just a few months ago we cut the cable cord. I cannot tell you how much that decision has been so freeing. I can honestly say there has not been a single day we have wished we still had cable. That $30 bill we get each month and the $100 savings has been so refreshing. It’s also inspired us to look for every budget advantage we can gain, wherever we can gain it. Obviously the next evil necessity (some would debate how much of a necessity) on the list is cell phones. With the kiddos getting older and devices getting smarter, that bill started to get to be one you looked at with one eye when you opened the envelope.
So I starting searching.
As with my cord cutting post, I need to be very clear up front and say that this plan may not be for everyone. Our situation was unique in that I have an iPhone 5 and was at the end of my contract. That certainly helped as I’ll explain below in the details. I looked at all of the carriers and plans. The reality is they are all pretty close and there is no clear leader. There are also some smaller compaines that might be options for those that don’t need family plans or other options. This particular move worked because of our situation and my contract status.
First, let me give you our specific situation.
We had 3 iPhones on the Verizon network. I had an iPhone 5. My wife had an iPhone 4S and my son had an iPhone 4. We had unlimited talk and text and shared a total of 3GB of data storage per month (we were getting 1GB as a promo and paying for 2GB). My contract was ending. My wife’s contract was through 6/15 and our son’s contract was through 12/15. Our total bill each month + tax was $195.
We had been looking at options to add a 4th line for our daughter. I looked at prepaid options and other plans. I also contacted Verizon to fire up an old “mom phone” we had so she had an emergency line if needed. Prepaid options were going to be around $35 a month. Adding her “mom phone” to our Verizon plan was going to add an additional $30 to our current plan. No data. So our adjusted bill from Verizon was now rising to $210 + Tax. Plus we had the additional issue of being stuck in contracts with Verizon.
After all the research, T-Mobile emerged as a very possible option.
First, and most importantly, what you need to know about T-mobile is that they keep their plans low because they charge retail for their phones. DON’T STOP READING BECAUSE THERE ARE OPTIONS HERE. When I first ran the math, it still added up to a savings, but it was not substantial. We were going to be able to add an additional line (which is a Samsung Lite smartphone) for my daughter, get 2 new iPhone 5C’s and a sim card for my iPhone 5. It was basically going to cost us around $200. Not much of a savings, but with their 4 line deal, we were getting 2.5GB data per line, NO CONTRACTS and unlimited streaming of music services like Pandora, Spotify and iHeart Radio. So there were advantages, but I’m greedy and I wanted to really move the needle.
My iPhone 5 still has value and will move seemlessly to T-Mobile’s plan. I just needed a one time charge $10 sim card.
My wife doesn’t like change so she is going to get my iPhone 5 so she doesn’t have to learn an entire new phone operating system.
My son was very open to trying something new and got a Samsung Avant which was currently being offered for $200
I am going with the same phone as he is and transferring my iPhone 5 to my wife. $200
My daughter went with a smaller phone – The Samsung Lite – $99
Depending on your credit, T-Mobile will allow you to spread the payments of the phone out for 2 years. This is where this plan may or may not be for everyone. Remember, your phone plan is $100 a month. With the spread out payments, our payment went up to $38 to a total of $138 vs the $210 we were going to pay Verizon.
It’s still a win but I’m still greedy….
My wife’s iPhone 4S had about an $80 value and my son’s iPhone 4 had about $30 value. We had to trade them in anyway since T-Mobile was kind enough to pay their early terminations from Verizon. We then applied those credits to the prices of the phones and brought our bill down even further. As it stands, our current bill is going to be $130 + tax per month. We could bring it down another $10 but I added the “Jump” coverage to my daughters phone because she’s a first time phone owner and, well, things happen. It’s worth the insurance.
When the dust cleared….
We are out of our contracts with Verizon Wireless.
We each get 2.5GB of data, unlimited talk and text.
We each get unlimited streaming of music services like Pandora, Spotify and iHeart Radio. Not a minute of streaming comes out of our data plans.
We have three new android operating system phones that are pretty slick.
We are saving $80 per month.
There is some risk here so it’s best to really ask questions if you want to check out this option. Should something happen to one of our new phones (excluding my daughters with the “Jump” coverage), we’re on the hook for the remaining price of that phone AND the replacement phone. We could avoid this by paying the $10 “Jump” coverage, but I’m trying to keep the monthly bill down. We just have to take good care of the phones.
Those are all of the details. They do have a referral program that would give both you and I a $25 promotional gift card from T-Moblie should you make the switch too. Use this link if interested – https://mbsy.co/7PZqS
Lastly, the elephant in the middle of the room with T-Moblie appears to be their coverage area. Again, this might not be for everyone. The reality is that we don’t talk on our phones (just like we don’t watch TV). We text and use data (usually in wi-fi areas like the house or office). I’m not overly concerned about the converage map given the savings and very few times this might be an issue. Now if you are someone that doesn’t fit that category, again, ask lots of questions. Certainly check out that coverage map.
Best of luck to all those cutting costs. We’re all in this together!