Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Oh The Freedom

I finally freed myself from the tyranny of a cell phone contract! I feel so freeeeee!

Some background...

I was on a Sprint plan with Todd and my sis and BIL. It cost us about $100/month for all four lines sharing 800 minutes. I might use somewhere less than 40 minutes per month. Todd used maybe 120 minutes per month. The rest of the minutes was used up completely by my sis and BIL. Some months, they used up all 800 of the minutes and more, and I had to pay for the overage. Finally, when our Sprint contract was up after four years (two years at a time contract), I decided it was time for a change. And it was time to un-tether ourselves from my sister and BIL.

So Todd and I had a discussion about our cell phone needs and how we could save some money. It was around this time that we also both got invited to get Google Voice. It is FREE.  So now I have a phone number that I can set up to ring at home, at work, and on my cell phone.  It is my completely portable freedom number.  If I'm at home and someone calls my google voice number, I can just answer my home phone and save my cell phone minutes.  If I'm at work and someone calls my google voice number, I can pick up my work phone and save my cell phone minutes.  In effect, I had very little use for my cell phone anymore except for those times when I'm truly out and about and NEED to use my phone.  Oh and you can use your google voice number to call FREE long distance from your home phone.  So now, I might use 30 minutes on my cell phone per month, tops.

Todd has a work cell phone and a google voice number.  So he decided to just completely do away with his old cell phone number with Sprint.  So then I had complete freedom to set about researching a no-contract pay-as-you-go cell phone plan that meets my minimal needs.  If there's one thing I hate, it's the tyranny of cell phone contracts.  In order to get the phone hardware for a discounted price, most cell phone companies require that you sign up for a two-year contract.  That contract requires a monthly fee no matter how little you use your cell phone.  And if you break your contract, oh there are big fees to pay.  No more of that for me!

I present to you, my new Virgin Mobile cell phone.

Todd found a deal online and got it for me, brand new, for $48.
I called their customer service number and was connected IMMEDIATELY to a live person!  (When's the last time THAT has happened???)  That person not only helped me activate my phone and port over my old phone number from Sprint in a speedy manner, she even asked how I was doing today.  My old cell phone number was ported over to my new cell phone in two hours.  Then I simply went online and used my credit card to pay for $10 worth of minutes.  I get 50 minutes for the $10.  I only have to add money to my account every 90 days, and I'm not bound to any long-term contracts.

So let's compare.  We were paying ~$1,200 per year ($100/month) for four cell phone lines.  I set my sister and BIL free.  Todd quit his personal cell phone.  Now I'm paying $10 (or less) per month for my cell phone.  The startup cost was $48.  So in the first 12 months, we're saving $1,032.  I'm beyond happy about this.  AND the bonus part?  I don't have to be tethered to a long-term contract.  Oh the freedom indeed!

PS - you can request your own Google Voice invite here.
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