Posts Tagged With: Saving Money

I Saved $500 a Year by Switching Cell Carriers

It's not a cellphone, but you get the sentiment...

It’s not a cellphone, but you get the sentiment…

You know how Verizon charges you $200+ for the latest cellphone, and then they don’t allow you to use it with any other carriers? Yeah, that’s absurd. I finally scrounged up the courage to wean myself from the great big teat that is Verizon Wireless. While I can’t complain about their coverage or cellular service, I can complain about their high bills. I was paying $90 per month, and that was the lowest plan I could get with a smartphone.

Despite being only halfway through my latest 2-year contract with Verizon Wireless, I decided to switch to Straight Talk. Why? Even if I pay a hefty termination fee, I’ll be saving money over the next year. Unfortunately, with Straight Talk I won’t have Verizon’s amazing nationwide coverage. Originally, I come from the boonies of Montana, so giving up that coverage really feels like giving something up. However, I live in the city now, and Straight Talk has me covered, so why not? Here’s how my savings stack up:

  • Verizon annual access charge: $1080
  • Verizon annual technology cost: $100 ($200 every two years if I get the best new phone)
  • Total Annual Verizon Cost: $1180

My early termination fee is $230, but I should be able to recoup that by selling my old phone on eBay. Used S3’s are going for approximately $250.

  • Straight Talk annual access charge: $576
  • Straight Talk annual technology cost: $95 (assuming I buy a lesser quality phone every 2 years)
  • Straight Talk incidentals: $3 ($15 SIM card spread out over 5? years)
  • Total Annual Straight Talk Cost: $674

Total Annual Savings: $506

In making this switch, I had to give up my Samsung Galaxy S3 ($700) for a smaller, older, and more modest Galaxy Ace Plus ($175 on eBay). Downsizing isn’t that bad, though. I’ve always thought the S3 was too large–it barely fit in my pocket. Why do I need a large screen gadget in my pocket when I use my laptop for virtually all internet access?

The switch itself wasn’t entirely free of headache. To save my existing phone number, I had Straight Talk “port” it in from Verizon Wireless. The moment that happened, Verizon disabled access to my online account. I was completely unable to log in to download old statements or check the existing balance on my account. I had to endure a lengthy chat with a customer service agent just to find out how to pay the rest of my balance and the early termination fee. As for Straight Talk, my data didn’t work at all for the first couple of days. I spent a long time on the phone with an agent before he told me that I would just have to give it more time. After several days and still no data, I started searching online for APN settings that would give me data access. After about six tries, I finally found one that worked. It was for iPhones. Yeah… I’m running Android, and the APN settings given to me by Straight Talk don’t work, but settings for a completely different operating system work perfectly. I’m glad that’s over. Now that everything is running smoothly, I’m very glad to be rid of my $90/month two-year contracts.

Image credit: Smashed phone image copyright (c) 2012 Solarbotics and made available under Attribution 2.0 Generic (CC BY 2.0)

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