When I began my journey to become frugal, I learned quickly that my phone expenses were a silent saboteur to my financial wellness. Despite what your peers might say about “investing in good phone service”, there are ways to cut back on prices, without cutting corners in quality and data.
Pay as you go
A large portion of the expenses connected to having a phone is wrapped up in a beautifully deceptive bow known as a phone plan or contract. Some of which can run you up to hundreds of dollars per month! So how do you combat this?
Simply ditch the contract. I try to avoid signing over my rights to a contract that locks you in for a year to two, depending on the plan. Signing these contracts ensures that the company can make upwards of 1200 dollars from you in one year!
One company that I used for years was Boost Mobile. The no contract plans can be as low as 35 dollars per month! Another great company for affordability is Cricket Wireless. This is one of my favorites, because you can literally have a month to month plan as low as 15 dollars. thats a small fraction of the price that you would pay for one of your standard big three phone companies! Just think of all of the other things that you could do with the extra cash.
If you decide to take the no contract route (or pay as you go, depending on your region), there are no ties to your credit if you do not wish to continue with that particular plan. If you decide that you cannot pay your bill any longer, or you want to switch phone services, you can simply discontinue the service and go elsewhere. This is a stark contrast to plans with the “big three” pone companies, that may take a lot of hoop hopping to terminate early.
Paying as you go helps get us in a routine of not spending superfluously, and helps keep the focus on what we actually need in a phone. Like scrolling through your instagram timeline.
Do not Lease
An enigmatic trick that seems to be picking up speed, is the concept of not paying for your phone, or “leasing”. While it makes it easier to obtain a certain phone of your fancy in the moment, it may not be the wisest choice.
First, it is never truly your property. With that comes the notion of making sure you can pay up should it be stolen, lost, or fall in the toilet. Like a car, when your term is over, or if you choose to switch to a different company, you will need to return that phone.
Leasing also introduces unnecessary debt onto your credit score. Currently, a reliable apple I phone can cost upwards of 1000 dollars. However, if you split that cost to be paid with your monthly bill it increases how much you pay each month. All that does is introduce interest to the principal phone amount. You can kiss that possible 15 dollar plan with Cricket Wireless goodbye! There is No fun in paying MORE hard earned cash.
Instead, try purchasing a reliable phone at retail price. Though it may be pricier upfront, it allows you to choose any phone company and plan that fits your financial goals. And the phone is your property!
Avoid Phone Chasing
Have you ever been walking down the street when you spot a line wrapped around everyones favorite tech store?
These people are just a few in a world full of tech enthusiasts (nothing wrong with that, I love a good piece of tech myself). This is probably not the first time some of them have found themselves in a long line waiting for their pre-orders. And it’s a surefire way to bust a great budget.
There are multiple new phone launches per year, and with this comes people who will chase the newest most shiny object.
Resist. This. Urge.
Some of these phone prices can run as high as a one way international plane ticket! If you take good care of your phone there should be no problem with sticking to it for a good 3-4 years. This will allow you to save hundreds of dollars for more meaningful things. Your pockets will thank you.
These are just a few of my tips on how to save a little dough when navigating your phone expenses. Don’t let money traps like new tech launches, and upgrades make you feel uninspired by a reliable phone that probably has a few good years left.