Friday, April 4, 2014

Cell Phone Talk

I went to pay my cell phone bill, and when I opened it was $30 less than I was expecting.
My paper bill had the full amount; the on-line bill had the full amount.  But I found in the notes section on-line that a random $30 credit had been applied to the bill.  I have no idea why.  There was no elaboration on it, and it didn't have an option to click on it.

Since it was 6:00 in the morning, I wasn't going to get too worked up about it.  I did screen shots of the transaction, and I will figure it out later. I have pictures of the screen that says "amount due", the note, the "paid in full" part.  If they try and charge a late fee, or claim I didn't pay the bill in least I have something.

I am guessing that it has something to do with Verizon's recent changes in their plans.  However, when we renewed the plan last month, we were told the pricing, and the bill we received reflected what we were expecting.  I know that Verizon is trying to compete with AT&T, but from what I have read, the plan we have wouldn't have qualified anyway.  Very strange.

I know we are some of the last hold outs on locking into a contract (2 years) for our cell phone.  This is one of those area where G-man and I are on different pages, and there isn't a good solution.  I am willing to explore some of the discount plans; he is not.  The main reason he is holding out is that the coverage in our area for alot of the discount plans is spotty at best.  He rarely "talks" on the phone, so I am not sure why this is a sticking point for him.  None the is.

We renewed our cell phone plan for 2 years, vs going with Verizon's new "edge" program.  The Edge program allows you to upgrade your phone more often, and the price of the phone itself is more or less rolled into your monthly plan.  We weren't interested in upgrading the phone every time something new and shiny came out, and it worked out where we would pay $300 MORE for our phone.  Nope.

We each were able to upgrade our phones for minimal out of pocket expense (his was free, mine was $50, with a mail in $50 rebate...and each phone had a $30 contract renewal fee).  It cost us more to get the cases (we got a heavy duty Otter Box case for G-man since he isn't kind to his things; I also got an Otter Box, but the next level down from his).  Of course Verizon tried to upsell everything (actually...we got the cases elsewhere since they were cheaper, even with our Gov't discount at Verizon).  They were bummed that we didn't buy cases, blue tooth, car chargers, blah blah blah.

This only non-planned expense was a basic phone for the kids.  Now that they are home alone more, they needed a way to communicate with us.  We decided they needed their own phone because we didn't want to give them our brand new, upgraded phones, and then hear "sorry" if something happened to it.   There phone is ONLY for communicating with Mom and social use.  Our phone numbers are programmed into it, and my friend around the corner, incase they need help right away.  The phone never leaves our house, and it is put away when not in use.

They got a basic phone, and we put $100 pre-pay on it.  The kids are having a hard time remembering that they don't have unlimited texting, and have used $30 of their $100 already.  We have to keep reminding them that unless something is going on, one text per hour is enough to check in.  They were used to using one of our phones, and would have a whole conversation with us. It is a learning process.  Again, the idea that there is money behind each text is still foreign.  We will get there, but they both know that if they continue to text us and use up their pre-pay....they will have to replace it.  I love that they want to text me and tell me they love me, or ask how work is, or that they are ok....but one text per hour is enough to tell me all of that.  Not all of that.....5 times an hour.

We had $100 in gift cards that we had been saving for our new phones, so that offset the cost for the Adult phones.  Then we had to buy the cases and the kids' stuff.  It was money well spent for us.  Our phones are more reliable (mine was so fried that it randomly shut off all day, and the battery would only last about 2 hrs before it needed to be charge), and we are happy with our selections (I got a Samsung Galaxy S4, and he got a Droid something or other....Maxx??? Ultra????  Don't remember).

Oh, and we pay $148 for both phones.  That is for 3GB of shared data (which is more than enough for our needs, and is the smallest plan), unlimited text and talk.  I am fully aware that we can get cheaper plans, but as I said....we just aren't on the same page on this one.

Anyone who wants to tell me that $148 is too much, or we shouldn't have gotten the kids a phone, or any of those other things....consider yourself noted already.  This is the choice we have made for our family.


  1. Ugh-I pay about $160 for one smart phone (iphone5) and my kids have basic phones that they can only text on. I'm with Verizon too.

  2. We pay a pretty penny for cell phones and all my kids get phones at 11. They get the flip phones - basic with limited talking and unlimited texting. I don't care if they talk with friends, but phones come to me at night, except with my older teens (that is their judgement call). Our bill is $323, but that also includes wireless internet with 5 cell phones - 2 of which have data plans.

    As each of us finishes the 2 year plan, we are switching to Republic (or something similar). The phone is expensive - at almost $300, but you can get CHEAP month service on a no contract basis AND switch plans up to 4 times per year. Only one phone and it is android based - works through Sprint.

    My oldest will be doing come August. I also like it because he can start paying his own bill and not have to go through us. It will be the last phone we buy him.

  3. Do you have wi-fi internet at home? I know two different people who have used either an iPod or a non-active cell phone through wi-fi to text. There is a texting app that is free and it assigns a phone number and everything. You might check into this so they don't use the prepaid dollars on something that you could get for free.

  4. It is easy to text an entire conversation and not realize it was 10 texts. Usually kids are pretty visual. Maybe you could have 5 dimes or pennies or whatever in a cup each day as a bank, and a cup for used. Each time they text they could transfer a coin so they could visually keep track. Just an idea... I had to increase my text amount because they are easy to use. Kim

  5. One thing to consider in the future is to look at prepaid companies that use the Verizon towers. It may be good enough to suit you needs. I pay more for Verizon in part because they have always had the best coverage area. That may change when my contract is up.

  6. What do you mean by discount plans? Like, other providers, ie straighttalk, ATT, Tmobile? I'd say forego post-paid plans if he doesnt use a lot of data/minutes. You mentioned 3GB of shared data... you could get a Verizon pre-paid plan, $50 for 2GB of data each and still come ahead unless the cheap/free upgrades are something that really matter to you (you dont get those with prepaid plans). I cant remember, but they also put out a post-paid plan with upgrades and 2yr contract, but it's only $60 per phone with either 1 or 2gb of data each.

  7. I apy $35 a month for my unlimited text/ talk Virgin Mobile LG phone. Not a smart phone, but my biggest thing is texting. I need to text. Especially with son in track & having practice every day, it's nice to get a quick text when he's done. He & my dh have Tracfones. I think it's 30 every 3 months to add minutes. Neither one uses their phones often, just enough for us to all keep in touch. But we do also have our landline.

  8. Not bad, I pay about the same with AT&T, 2 lines, 10 GBS shared data w. hotspot & unlimited talk and tx... no landline at home.


  9. I am on a family plan with my Dad.. two android phones with unlimited texting & data, limited minutes we never use up. *Dad uses his phone for internet instead of internet on a computer at home. I think we pay $150-170 with Sprint.

    As for phones for kids, I didn't have one until I turned 16, even then it was a prepaid Tracfone I bought myself (since I got my license) in case of an emergency. I rarely used it since we still had a landline. I'm not opposed to children having phones so long as usage is controlled, like the phones where you pre-program Mom and Dad's #s. I couldn't imagine letting my children having access to the internet and texting at all hours of the night unsupervised. I was a responsible kid, but I imagine the temptation would be pretty great :)