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Old 02-29-2012, 07:08 PM   #1
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This is not an advertisement - Cost Save Idea

OK, I've worked my budget over and over, and seem to have hit a brick wall finding additional cost save ideas. One item that has always bothered me is the large amount of money I spend on cell phones. I'm with one of the major carriers, have 2 smart phones (2 kids) and 2 basic phones; all this adds up to $175/month before taxes which includes a 15% employer discount. I've looked at other carriers, prepaid, etc with nothing that moves the needle. I know, I should force prepaid phones on everybody, but I'm pretty sure I would have a mutiny on my hands.

Last night I came across an article on Appolicious about various cell phone cost saving ideas which included info about Republic Wireless, prepaid phones, and a new cell phone company called Ting. Ting prices are very low, don't charge overage penalties, will actually move you to a lower plan if you don't use as many planned minutes, no contracts, uses the Sprint Network, etc, etc! The hitch is that the cell phone up front cost is more; I would much rather pay up front to save on monthly charges. I can actually get a better plan than my current provider for $95/month which makes my break even point 7 months. I'll save close to $1,500 after 2 years!

Does anyone see any downside or has anyone signed up with them? They are owned by Tucows and have only been around for maybe 2 months. I guess they could go under, but as long as I can hit my breakeven point in 7 months, I'll be OK. Consumer Reports rates the Sprint Network as pretty decent; not the best but certainly not the worst. Seems like a no brainer to me. Thoughts? Comments?
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Old 02-29-2012, 07:24 PM   #2
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I have not heard of Ting, but my daughter would definitely love to join your family so she could get a smart phone! She only gets the basics. I use Virgin Mobile (uses Sprint network) and for $30 you get 1500 min. 1500 texts and internet. No smart phone. You could have 4 or them for $120, plus tax. A $175 phone bill plus tax would bring a tear to my eye if I wrote that check. Good luck looking for cutting costs. Always good to periodically do this, I believe.
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Old 03-01-2012, 11:25 PM   #3
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OK, I've worked my budget over and over, and seem to have hit a brick wall finding additional cost save ideas. One item that has always bothered me is the large amount of money I spend on cell phones. I'm with one of the major carriers, have 2 smart phones (2 kids) and 2 basic phones; all this adds up to $175/month before taxes which includes a 15% employer discount. I've looked at other carriers, prepaid, etc with nothing that moves the needle. I know, I should force prepaid phones on everybody, but I'm pretty sure I would have a mutiny on my hands.
OK, I'm looking for the downside. Would the mutineers move out of the house?

Seriously, though, you could give your kids a choice: cell phones or cable TV.

OK, OK, one more try: how badly do your kids need bandwidth? Our daughter spent her high school time on text messages. Her college campus is wired so that most of her online activity is WiFi, not AT&T/Verizon. You could cut your kids back to the "minimum" 1500/month texts, maybe a few voice calls, and no bandwidth.

Or let 'em buy their own damn phones, and "upgrade" them from the 529 when they start college.
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Old 03-02-2012, 06:10 AM   #4
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Ting is an interesting concept. Thanks for raising the issue and service as my 2 yr contract is expiring in May.

I've used the Sprint network for the last 22 or so months, it's good for my needs, but pricey as I'm on the unlimited plan. My needs have changed since enrollment.

You might want to check into Straight Talk also, but it depends on your needs.

Let us know if you find a worthwhile inexpensive phone for Ting.
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Old 03-02-2012, 07:36 AM   #5
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I don't provide smart phones with data downloads for my kids or grandkids. I told them when they were in high school, the basics is what you get, if you want more get a job and pay for it. they did. they wanted the new phones with all the aps and internet. now the three of them are on a group plan with us cellular for around that 175. I still have my basic phone plan and get along just fine.
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Old 03-02-2012, 07:48 AM   #6
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I know, I should force prepaid phones on everybody, but I'm pretty sure I would have a mutiny on my hands.
On that basis, I suggest that this is not an area where you truly "want" (and/or "need", and/or "are really going") to save money. Look elsewhere for savings, or have the mutiny and ride it out.
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Old 03-02-2012, 12:06 PM   #7
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I don't provide smart phones with data downloads for my kids or grandkids. I told them when they were in high school, the basics is what you get, if you want more get a job and pay for it. they did. they wanted the new phones with all the aps and internet. now the three of them are on a group plan with us cellular for around that 175. I still have my basic phone plan and get along just fine.
Based on our experience with our teen, in high school a text-message service was essential to socializing study groups and projects. In college, a smart phone (with bandwidth) is an essential mobile computing tool that makes the day's work much more efficient.

We pay for the college smartphone out of the college fund, and when she graduates then she can decide how important it is to her lifestyle. Not our problem!
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Old 03-02-2012, 12:08 PM   #8
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How about you offer to provide the kids with a cell phone (voice and texting), but if they want a smartphone and the smartphone requires a dataplan then they reimburse you for the cost of the dataplan?

The principle is that you will provide something so that you can communicate with them and vice versa, but if they want their phone to be more than that then they can have it, but at their cost. I wonder if they "need" it that much?
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Old 03-02-2012, 01:34 PM   #9
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One bit of advice. Check to see if you can use 'unlocked' phones. Since you say they are new, if they go out of business, or change their prices, you may want to move those phones to another carrier, or sell them to someone on that carrier. If they are 'locked' to Ting, that will be a problem.


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Old 03-02-2012, 04:47 PM   #10
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My wife and I both have Net10 voice, text & (very slow) data for $35/month for both, but we don't have Smartphones. They are available and with kids you'd probably have to have unlimited minutes too, that alone would more than double our monthly costs.

Tracfone, Net10 and StraightTalk are all one company - though you can't mix phones and plans across the three.

If you can get two Smartphones (leading edge phones & plans are going to cost more) and two regular cell phones and suitable plans for all for $95/month - that's going to be hard to beat...
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Old 03-03-2012, 12:01 AM   #11
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$175/ month is $21,000.00 over 10 years. That's how I think about monthly expenses.
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Old 03-03-2012, 09:40 AM   #12
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$175/ month is $21,000.00 over 10 years. That's how I think about monthly expenses.
This is how I sold the cable bill elimination to DW by looking at the 10 year expense. You are right on; the 401k will look a lot nicer with the extra savings over 10 years.

I'm 95% sure I'm pulling the trigger on Ting Mobile when my 2 year contract expires the end of April. I also like how up front Ting is with respect to billing; I always struggle to figure out the 11 page bill from Big Mobile.
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Old 03-03-2012, 09:54 AM   #13
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This is how I sold the cable bill elimination to DW by looking at the 10 year expense. You are right on; the 401k will look a lot nicer with the extra savings over 10 years.

I'm 95% sure I'm pulling the trigger on Ting Mobile when my 2 year contract expires the end of April. I also like how up front Ting is with respect to billing; I always struggle to figure out the 11 page bill from Big Mobile.
Agree on looking at the long term on these recurring expenses.

If you and DW are really low-minute users, consider T-Mobile pre-pay. Put on $100 the first year to gain 'Gold Status', and you can keep the account active for just $10/year after that. I only use 5-10 minutes a month, I figured it will be years before I need to add more than $10/year, unless my usage pattern changes.

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Old 03-03-2012, 11:39 AM   #14
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not sure where you live, but do you have metroPCS in your area?

www.metropcs.com

unlimited talk, text, and web. no contract. nationwide coverage. $40/month.

not sure if this helps. Otherwise, I would suggest something else. kids essentially need unlimited texts. also they like data. I'd see if there is a way to only have their phones use data on a wifi connection. this would cut down on your bill substantially.
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Old 03-05-2012, 07:48 PM   #15
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They are available and with kids you'd probably have to have unlimited minutes too, that alone would more than double our monthly costs.
Actually, not really in my experience. We have 4 smartphones -- the kids (15 and 17) paid for theirs. We don't come anywhere close to using our monthly minutes. Why? Well, nights and weekends don't count. Calls to mobile phones don't count (and most calls are to mobile phones). For people we regularly talk to on land lines I put in as part of 10 numbers that don't count. Now, to get the 10 numbers be "free" you have to subscribe to a higher level plan (I think it is 1400 minutes a month or so). By getting the 10 "free" numbers the result is that usually we use way less than 1400 charageable minutes. I did try a lower level of minutes but then I didn't get the 10 free numbers and had to pay for calls to those numbers so then I went over the lower number of minutes....

On the other hand, unlimited texting is a must...
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Old 07-06-2012, 04:58 PM   #16
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Thought I would give everyone an update on my experience with Ting after 2 months. My previous bill with V... was $185/month (including taxes and 15% military discount) for 2 smart phones and 2 standard phones. With Ting Mobile (including taxes) for 3 android phones and 1 standard phone, my June bill was $93 and July was $85.

So I'm saving roughly $90 - $100/month! The downside is significant upfront costs for the phones; but with this kind of savings I'm going to break even in short order. Service is great and the web site lets you closely monitor your usage. Plus, no contract!
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Old 07-06-2012, 09:23 PM   #17
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Thought I would give everyone an update on my experience with Ting after 2 months. My previous bill with V... was $185/month (including taxes and 15% military discount) for 2 smart phones and 2 standard phones. With Ting Mobile (including taxes) for 3 android phones and 1 standard phone, my June bill was $93 and July was $85.

So I'm saving roughly $90 - $100/month! The downside is significant upfront costs for the phones; but with this kind of savings I'm going to break even in short order. Service is great and the web site lets you closely monitor your usage. Plus, no contract!
Good to know! I've been holding out for Republic Wireless, but Ting looks like a very close second for us. It may depend on which has the phone we want most by the end of the year. Plus a tiny chance of an iPhone eventually on Ting but not RW, since DW is a Mac/iPad fan.
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Old 07-06-2012, 09:55 PM   #18
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Where we moved to only has AT&T service that works good (5 bars!!) but our family plan is on Verizon so we're stuck with them until October when we will be out of contract, then we will all switch to AT&T.

However, I wasn't on our family plan since I had my cell phone through my former employer. When I retired I tried AT&T's GoPhone pay-as-you-go plan. Since I have ER'd I only need a cell phone for convenience and don't use a lot of minutes since I use Ooma for home phone and this Go Phone does the trick. I can get 200 min/90 days for $25 and don't really use all my minutes (close though) so my cell phone only costs me ~$100 a year (I brought my own AT&T phone and GoPhone only provides the service. Is working well for me.
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Old 07-07-2012, 04:29 PM   #19
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Where we moved to only has AT&T service that works good (5 bars!!) but our family plan is on Verizon so we're stuck with them until October when we will be out of contract, then we will all switch to AT&T.
Depending on the phones...you might be able to switch now. We moved a few months ago to an area that only had good Verizon service. We were on AT&T. We had just bought 2 new iphone 4s's a few month earlier so couldn't just wait it out. Our kids had phones that were 4 months from coming off contract.

Anyway, we switched and got new subsidized phones from Verizon paying over $900 in cancellation fees to AT&T. Ouch!

But...this has a silver lining. We sold all of the phones and netted over $1000. A couple of the phones I sold on eBay. Then, I found you could sell phones in the trade in store on Amazon. On the surface that looked like it netted less than eBay. However, after considering the fees to eBay and Paypal the sales to Amazon overall equaled the average price we would expect to receive on eBay (one phone was a little less, another was a little more). And, we wouldn't have to deal with eBay buyers. So I shipped off 3 phones to Amazon. They pay you with an Amazon gift card which is not an issue for me as we buy tons of stuff at Amazon.

Now, if we only a few months before our contract was up on all phones we might have waited it out and then still been able to sell the phones. In our case, we had almost 2 years left on our contract on 2 phones so waiting it out wasn't a viable option...
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Old 07-07-2012, 09:03 PM   #20
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Where we moved to only has AT&T service that works good (5 bars!!) but our family plan is on Verizon so we're stuck with them until October...
I think Verizon will let you out of your contract if they don't have acceptable service in your new area. I've been told they guarantee service in your home (but not in an office building or other areas). I would give them a call.
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