In December we re-evaluated our budget and decided to make cuts to our cable package and cell phones. For the past couple of YEARS I’ve been investigating cell phone alternatives but service providers other than the two main providers Bell or Rogers either didn’t have good service range, weren’t compatible with the iPhone, or data was expensive so I stuck with the status quo. In December I did some more investigating and cancelled my plan and switched to a pre-paid account with the same provider. I wanted to wait until I had used the service for a month before reporting on the switch but, in short, I’m saving a ridiculous amount of money and I’m kind of bummed I didn’t make the switch sooner.
Here is a summary of what I use my cell phone for:
Checking Facebook and Instagram Accounts
Checking my personal email
Texting (a lot!..mostly R during the day)
Taking photos. Can’t remember the last time I used our camera.
Calling people. Rarely – only if I’m going to be late somewhere or have to get in touch with someone immediately.
Where: mostly at home, sometimes at work, occasionally while out and about to check directions, coordinate plans or appointments, or to pass time when I’m waiting for appointments
For 2 years I paid $55/month (3-year contract – including cost of cell phone – iPhone4S). This is actually a really good deal from what I hear. I had unlimited social media, My10 (free unlimited Canada-wide calling with 10 contacts), 200 local calling minutes, unlimited local calling evening and weekends, and 1GB of data. No voicemail or caller ID. I almost never had additional charges. R uses his cell phone much more than I do so had an $80/month plan with unlimited Canada-wide calling and text, 2GB of data, and caller ID, voicemail. He wasn’t locked into his plan since we bought his iPhone 5 outright so he decided to try to cut back on his usage and take over the remainder of my plan to avoid early cancellation fees.
With my new pre-paid account, I pay $20.75/month and get unlimited text messaging including photo and video, caller ID, voicemail, 100MB Data, and pay $0.25/minute for local calls. The extra $5 covered additional data and a few phone calls I made. Since I have caller ID, I can answer urgent calls and otherwise return calls from our home phone or my work phone as needed.
My only issue this month was using up all of my data in the first 2 weeks. This was mainly due to iMessaging. I never knew about iMessaging but it uses data to send messages to other iPhone users. So there I was making full use of my “unlimited” photo and video text messaging and it was using my data since it was through iMessaging rather than regular text messaging. Also other silly things like the Stocks App used up some of my data so I figured out how to turn the data off for applications like those. Generally I’ve been keeping my cellular data turned off so my phone only connects to wi-fi when it is available (at home we have unlimited internet). I love having the ability to use data though when I’m out and about to look addresses up, etc. and now that I’ve figured out the data settings on my phone, I think the data included will suffice. A bonus is that I find myself not checking my phone as often at work or when I’m out.
By switching to pre-paid I’m saving $30/month with minimal impact to my use or enjoyment of my cell phone and with the savings from R switching over to my old plan, we’re saving $55/month combined on our cell phones.
Do you have a really good cell phone plan or do you pay an arm and a leg? Can you manage to avoid additional charges without it becoming too inconvenient?