Cost cutting and smartphones

m8cb0ym8cb0y Posts: 77Member, Beta Tester
edited December 2012 in Success Stories
Ok, so like most folks, I've been using YNAB for a bit (1+ years now) and it has changed the way I am viewing spending and life choices. We have found ways to refinance both auto loans, our mortgage, paid one of our two credit cards off in full and are now using it as a cash back card, and even traded down our 1 year old purchased new outback for an older truck. In every case, our financial situation has improved. Except for the snowblower we recently purchased on credit (back saver, well worth the cost), we have incurred no new debt in the year we've been on YNAB (not counting refinances, since they were improvements).

Now, I have re-evaluated every bill we have and have come to the conclusion that the expensive smartphone plan has got to go. We pay $137/month on AT&T with two smartphones (have some grandfathering going on).

However, I think I have found a solution and wanted to share.

There is a Mobile Virtual Network Operator (MVNO) of Sprint's that works like no other I have seen. They basically charge you for a bucket of usage. So if you use less than 100 minutes of voice, you get charged $3. If you go past 100 minutes, you are charged for the next higher bracket. If you don't use your mobile phone at all during the billing period, you are only charged the line fee ($6).

It is basically budgeting for mobile phones. The only downsides are phones are unsubsidized, no iPhone, and you are on Sprint. Upsides: charged only for what bucket you use, no contract, save immediately (heavy users don't though), roam for free on Verizon (text/talk, no data roaming) and can bring some of your own phones.

I can't think of any better companion to someone who uses YNAB. So, if you are interested, take a look at their website. If nothing else, use their calculator to see how much you could save. Many of use came to YNAB to help get out of debt and a manage our spending. This may help you.

And hey, if you use my referral link, we both save. You get a device credit of $25, I get a service credit. Even if you don't use my link, you will still save. I'll be saving about $80/month once I fully switch next month (need to wait for those pesky contracts to expire).

Good luck YNAB'ers!

Ting referral link => https://z5k8knmtc1.ting.com/
Post edited by Unknown User on

Comments

  • m8cb0ym8cb0y Posts: 77Member, Beta Tester
    Oh yeah, need to borrow something from Jesse:

    "You've never used a mobile phone plan like this before..."

    :-)
  • LarryinLALarryinLA Posts: 292Member
    I'm looking to cut my cell phone bill as well, I'm curious what people's experience has been on MVNO's. I'm nervous about it, and I don't like the idea that I have to buy the new phone first, and I'm out a 300-400 dollars if I don't like the experience. Cell phones are a huge bill, and to cut it in half would be great.
  • zyonuf79zyonuf79 Posts: 35Member
    Yeah, I have been thinking of moving my phone to Straight Talk and just get my wife on a solo plan (she will not move from ATT). It's getting real hard to justify paying $150 a month for service.
  • WillWill Posts: 788Member, Beta Tester
  • LunaLuna Posts: 2,915Member, Beta Tester
    Wow, that is comprehensive! I have FiOS, so I'm stuck with it for landline (house alarm and Internet). Not sure I want to give up my iPhone, but it's something I'm considering for 2013.
  • m8cb0ym8cb0y Posts: 77Member, Beta Tester
    LarryinLA wrote:
    I'm looking to cut my cell phone bill as well, I'm curious what people's experience has been on MVNO's. I'm nervous about it, and I don't like the idea that I have to buy the new phone first, and I'm out a 300-400 dollars if I don't like the experience. Cell phones are a huge bill, and to cut it in half would be great.

    The only reason I tried Ting was that I had a couple of older Sprint flip phones laying around. Granted, you may have to be a little more of a techy to program your own unsupported phone (their BYOD program is still in beta) to their network, but I was able to get voice calls and SMS working on both, and basic WAP Internet working on one of them. This let me test their coverage in my area as well as their customer service (not 24 hr, but you get a person, not a computer).

    Best way to ensure you are covered is to ask anyone you know with Sprint how their service (signal) is in your area. Better yet, if any of your friends and family have an old sprint phone laying around, you could possibly get it working on Ting to test it out. This latter option is the one I would recommend.
  • LarryinLALarryinLA Posts: 292Member
    I currently have Verizon, so I'm considering PagePlus, but let's just say their site doesn't give me the best confidence. I might know someone here in SoCal who's got a Sprint phone, I'll check around.
  • quinreitzquinreitz Posts: 1Member
    Haven't tried pageplus yet.
  • cuda2000cuda2000 Posts: 1Member
    What model flip phone were you able to activate on ting? How do you do it? I have a old lg lotus phone that my wife loves that she would want to use again if she could. It was on sprint before.
    any info is much appreciated! I am very tech savvy so should not be a problem if you can get me started.
    thanks,
    Brad



    m8cb0y wrote:
    LarryinLA wrote:
    I'm looking to cut my cell phone bill as well, I'm curious what people's experience has been on MVNO's. I'm nervous about it, and I don't like the idea that I have to buy the new phone first, and I'm out a 300-400 dollars if I don't like the experience. Cell phones are a huge bill, and to cut it in half would be great.

    The only reason I tried Ting was that I had a couple of older Sprint flip phones laying around. Granted, you may have to be a little more of a techy to program your own unsupported phone (their BYOD program is still in beta) to their network, but I was able to get voice calls and SMS working on both, and basic WAP Internet working on one of them. This let me test their coverage in my area as well as their customer service (not 24 hr, but you get a person, not a computer).

    Best way to ensure you are covered is to ask anyone you know with Sprint how their service (signal) is in your area. Better yet, if any of your friends and family have an old sprint phone laying around, you could possibly get it working on Ting to test it out. This latter option is the one I would recommend.
  • m8cb0ym8cb0y Posts: 77Member, Beta Tester
    cuda2000 wrote:
    m8cb0y wrote:
    The only reason I tried Ting was that I had a couple of older Sprint flip phones laying around. Granted, you may have to be a little more of a techy to program your own unsupported phone (their BYOD program is still in beta) to their network, but I was able to get voice calls and SMS working on both, and basic WAP Internet working on one of them. This let me test their coverage in my area as well as their customer service (not 24 hr, but you get a person, not a computer).

    Best way to ensure you are covered is to ask anyone you know with Sprint how their service (signal) is in your area. Better yet, if any of your friends and family have an old sprint phone laying around, you could possibly get it working on Ting to test it out. This latter option is the one I would recommend.

    What model flip phone were you able to activate on ting? How do you do it? I have a old lg lotus phone that my wife loves that she would want to use again if she could. It was on sprint before.
    any info is much appreciated! I am very tech savvy so should not be a problem if you can get me started.
    thanks,
    Brad

    I got a Sanyo MM-7400 and an LG LX350 activated on Ting. I provided the ESN on their website when bringing my own device and received an email with the MSL. The only other information I needed was something called an MEID. This is something tied to the phone number you receive, so you will need to call them to get this.

    One other thing: my Sanyo has voice, texts, and internet working, but not MMS (unable to send). My wife's LG only has voice and text, not MMS and not internet. I haven't tried a full reset on her phone yet (have to get some stuff off of it) but that is our next step to troubleshoot the internet.

    Basically, if you are bringing your own device, and it is not on Ting's short list, you have to have a love for figuring out how things work. Our phones worked enough for us to try out the service before plunking down the full price of a smartphone (or two).

    Good luck!
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