I had been a faithful and proud Verizon customer since 2006, when my parents gave me my first cell phone. Back then I had a clunky flip-phone with service costing about $9 a month.
Years later, with my first adult job came pressure from friends and society to upgrade to a smart phone, which, in looking back, I should have ignored. For one, I’m now realizing that each moment I spend attached to my phone is one which I am ignoring the world around me; it’s not something on which I want to spend a significant amount of time or money. Alas, my younger self didn’t have this foresight and along with my smart phone’s internet capabilities came a $30 monthly data fee. This upped my monthly phone bill to $40 a month, which is what I’ve been paying for the past several years.
I know what you may be thinking… is this lady complaining about forty dollars a month for a cell phone plan? Now, don’t get me wrong. Forty dollars is low compared to some of the phone plans out there, especially when you consider it came with unlimited talk, text, and 3G of data to share between myself and two family members. So, for some it might seem like a halfway decent deal. However, as I hinted earlier, my phone is not something that brings me immense joy or satisfaction. At the same time, I was evaluating my finances and looking at places to cut costs. While I wasn’t quite ready to completely give up my phone or use Wi-Fi only, I figured there had to be a cheaper option than my current situation.
As luck would have it, my parents recently gave me a swift kick in the butt, stating I would be removed from their family plan by the end of the calendar year. It was time for a change!
Or so I thought. I looked here and there for new phone plans, but even though I was finding lower-cost plans, I was hesitant to make the switch. My reason? I had become attached to the prestige of Verizon. Yep, I said it. I was a little bit of a cell phone carrier snob. The cheaper cell phone plans I found were with cell service companies that fell outside of the big four – Verizon, AT&T, Sprint, and T-Mobile. I would secretly and foolishly judge those who told me they had phone plans with funny and cutesy-sounding names. I was a Verizon customer through and through, and it afforded me a sense of privilege, which I am now ashamed to say I accepted. I wish I could go back in time and give myself a good thwunk to the head and yell “LOOK AT THOSE PEOPLE SAVING MONEY! LISTEN TO THEM! WHO CARES WHAT YOUR PHONE PLAN’S NAME IS?”
It took several months of waffling, but I luckily came to my senses regarding the lower-cost plans. “Gosh darn it,” I thought to myself, “this is my chance to change my finances! Do I really want to continue dishing out over $450 a year for something I don’t even like?” No, no I did not.
Ladies and gentleman, I am happy to say I have officially left Verizon and picked up a phone carrier I’m quite happy with. The phone carrier is Mint Mobile (formerly Mint Sim), run by Ultra Mobile. It’s a third-party carrier that runs on T-Mobile’s network. My current Mint Mobile plan is significantly cheaper than my $40 Verizon plan and has all of the same benefits. The main difference is that it is contract based, so customers choose 3-, 6-, or 12-month contract plans. Mint Mobile’s concept is similar to wholesale retail stores, in that the more you buy (ie. the longer the contract time), the cheaper it is per month of service.
Being the frugal person I am, I bided my time and waited until Black Friday to sign up for their service, in the process snagging an introductory six-month contract for the price of three months. Including shipping of my new sim card, I paid about $48 for six-months of service. I didn’t want to commit to the 12-month contract immediately, as I was fearful of what I’d experience in the cold, dark world outside my comfort zone of Verizon. So I figured that the six-month plan was a safe bet; if I didn’t like Mint Mobile I could always temporarily hop back on my parents’ plan and would only lose about a month’s worth of cell phone costs.
Now that I’ve been a Mint Mobile customer for a couple of months, I am happy to report there is sunshine outside of Verizon! Rejoice, all ye in cell phone debt! I now have a phone plan with unlimited talk and text, 2 GB of monthly data (which I don’t have to share with my sister who is very much a data hog) , tethering (which I have yet to use), and was able to port over my old phone number… all for about $15 a month. The difference in call quality and internet speed? Negligible. Honestly, for how I use my phone, the switch was worth every penny I saved. I was also able to bring my old Verizon phone, saving me hundreds of dollars since I did not have to purchase a special device for Mint Mobile’s network.
And while I’m not getting paid at all to promote them (but Mint Mobile, if you’re reading this and would like to change that, I’m maybe… okay, definitely, open to the option of changing that), they have a variety of phone plans that are certainly worth examining.
There are lots of other third-party carriers out there that provide similar offers that can provide you an awesome bang for your buck. Republic Wireless, Ting, Cricket, Metro PCS, and others are some other options. Even the big 4 oftentimes have cheaper, pay-as-you go versions of their plans. For example, prior to discovering Mint Mobile I was planning on signing up for AT&T’s pay-as-you-go (formerly GoPhone) plan, which at its lowest level cost $25/month with auto-pay.
The lesson here, friends? Think about where you would like to spend your money. If you’re spending it on something you don’t find important, stop. There are alternate options.