Saturday, February 6, 2010

Cell phone 101

Cell phones.  Remember way back when before everyone had a cell actually had to WAIT to talk to someone.  When G-man and I first started dating, he had a pager (remember those???).  I would page him and he would call me back.  Actually, we didn't get a cell phone until the kids were born, and that was a teeny tiny plan to be used in an emergency (hey, when your kids are born at 1 lb each, emergencies are a high liklihood).

But in this day and age, they have been ingrained into culture.  Additionally, when you have kids, you need to know that the school can get a hold of you.  Sick kids happen.  And with a special needs just never know.

I digress......(sorry, I am tired.....didn't sleep well last night, but that is a different post).

Our cell phone contract is up next month (March 7; we found the exact date when we called).  So yesterday, when we were both off from work, we went cell phone plan/phone shopping.  Here are the discoveries:

1)  Carriers are pushing you towards a "smart phone," aka, Droid, BlackBerry, Palm.  While selections are vast for these phones, selections are limited for "messaging phones," aka, ones that you just use to talk and text.

2)  If you get a smart phone, you are REQUIRED to sign up for the data streaming plan (which is the internet and all the really cool features that the phone will do).  This is about $25-$30 per month, per phone.  On top of whatever plan you have.

3)  Most of the carriers have similar plans.  They seem to be fairly standardized across the board. 

4)  Actual phones offered....vary greatly.   Again, messaging phones seem to be going the way of VHS (we aren't quite at Beta yet).  Yeah, you can get them, but I predict in the next few years, you will be forced to get a smart phone.

5)  Incentive to choose them....this was interesting.  The carrier we currently have basically said "no incentive, do what you want."  Only one had an answer (we will get to that.....).

While we both would have loved to get BlackBerries, that wasn't in the budget.  We can't justify spending $60 just so we can surf the web from our car (shouldn't we be watching the road anyway???).  So we are left with a messaging phone.

(Let me add....we both needed new phones.  Mine won't hold a charge anymore.  His has gone "swimming" twice in the pool, and took a spin in the washer....and believe it or not, it still worked for the MOST don't need numbers 4, 5, and 6, right?)

(Boy I am rambling.......)

Bottom line, one carrier, Verizon, stood out.  Great customer service in the store.  Largest selection of decent phones (most of what we looked at was really cheap, or so basic that it could pass for a child's toy).  One of the higher end messaging phones was on a super deal of B1G1 free, plus it was on sale for $50.  So was 2 phones for $50.

Unfortunately this deal was ending as of tomorrow.  They offered to assign the phones a temporary number for a month, and we could carry over our official number in a month at contract end.  If we waited, then the phones would be about $100 EACH.  They could have a different deal going in March, but who knows.  Plus, we liked this phone best out of all our options, and liked it before we even knew of the deal.

But we would end up with 2 cell phone bills for the month of February and part of March.  Hmmmmm.  That isn't good.  So my brilliant self asked there something you can do for us to eliminate that problem?  She said probably not, but she would ask.  EUREKA!

This people, is why you always need to ask.  The worst they will say is NO.  She asked the manager, and he was willing to credit us $70 on our first bill, which will take care of about half of the overlap charges.  Great, sign us up.

We signed up for a plan that has double the minutes we currently have, plus text.  And here is the really cool thing.....they offered us a discount due to G-man's job!  It was 19% off the main plan.  So when all is said and done, with taxes, our new plan will be about $6 more than our old plan, but we have 2x the minutes.

So we can officially get rid of the land line now and save that $60 a month.

We love our new phones.  We got cases, car chargers, and a new bluetooth each for a steal.  Great customer service.  $70 off our first bill.  We are happy.


  1. Sounds like a plan for us too. Great!

  2. Glad it worked out for your needs (and yes, I agree cell phones are a necessity now with children in school). A few months ago we ditched our cell phone contract w/verizon and went with pre-paid tracfones. It's been working really well; we do not use our cells for casual conversations. I've been mentally planning to do a post on our "conversion" soon and detailing how much it costs/saves...

  3. I wanted to ditch the plan too, but G-man wasn't on board with it. He still isn't 100% into all of this.

    But at least we can get rid of the land line now.