Sunday, July 24, 2011

How to Save Money: Internet and Cell Phones

In our attempt to better live within our means, we had to make some cuts. Despite our willingness to own a pair of smartphones, ours are still of the "dumb" variety. We found that two cell phones with the smallest amount of minutes possible, but including unlimited nights and mobile-to-mobile were the best solution for us.

While we had a relatively affordable plan around $80/month, we found it advantageous to join our parents on a family plan. If you look into the details of any (contracted) cell phone plan, you find that you really start saving the big bucks when you hit lines 3 and up. So if you can get a group of financially trustworthy people together (for some people, family does not qualify), try to gather under one cellular roof and split the bill. It can be quite lucrative. We have gone from that $80/mo to around $40. For that we get unlimited calling to other phones with our carrier, unlimited text, and basic internet on one of the phones. (Note that I didn't mention carriers because with this concept it doesn't really matter.)

In related news, we've been able to go home-phone-free for a few years now. From my experience a very basic home phone plan is $25/mo. There are some pretty cool cordless phones out now that allow you to use a cordless phone on your cell phone plan. The base pairs with the Bluetooth on several cell phones. (AKA, when your cell phone rings, your home phone rings; no home phone plan necessary).

Finally, yet still related, we got our Internet through a Mobile Broadband carrier. This uses a cell phone network to bring internet to your computer. Usually you'll get the best speed and price if you get a mobile broadband device from your cell phone carrier if you're on a contract plan. Otherwise, there are several no-contract solutions. To my knowledge, the no-contract option with the best speeds is T-Mobile. Clear is contracted but their cancellation fee is so small that it's not a big deal. Of course, check coverage in your area before signing up for anything. Also, try to get a good estimate of how much data you'll need. (Great calculator here.) On Clear's Basic Home plan we're at $35/mo for about 1.5mbps speeds. When you consider that we don't need a home phone to get this service, it's a pretty good savings ($5-10/mo on the internet portion alone).

Altogether we're saving $40 on the cell phone, $25 on the home phone, and about $5 on internet. That's about $840/year.

1 comment:

  1. This is the best post on this subject that I have ever read ... Great good reading, really worth cutting and pasting. Thank you!


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