Friday, September 26, 2014

Entering The Android World .. Without Breaking the Bank!


It's been a while since I've written a "Frugal Fridays"* post, but whenever I learn about something that could save you money I wanna pass it on.  I'd been avoiding replacing my old flip-phone with a smart phone for years, but after all this time I finally did it ... and my phone bill is cheaper now!

If you've followed this blog for a while, it won't surprise you that the main reason I avoided a smart phone was the price.  There's no way I'm gonna spend big bucks for a phone.  Even if I could get a smart phone really cheap with a contract, I wasn't about to spend another $40 a month on top of the basics for a data plan.

Another reason I avoided a smart phone ... the contract that I mentioned.  Both Ken and I have been eligible for an upgraded phone with AT&T for over a year now, but we'd have to sign another 2-year contract ... no thanks!  With our hopes of living together on our sailboat soon, we'll only need one phone and we don't want to be stuck in a contract when that happens.

So, what finally changed my mind?  For the past few months my phone would die after more than 3 minutes into a conversation ... even with a full charge.  I had to do something, but I wasn't thrilled about paying a $50 deductible to use the insurance policy for my piece-of-crap phone.  Looking back, I should have dropped the $5 monthly fee for the insurance a long time ago.  Then, I saw a commercial for Cricket!  No, not the insect but the pre-paid wireless company that AT&T recently bought out.  I'd never heard of Cricket until I saw the commercial, but the promise of a free or inexpensive smart phone without a contract and a cheap monthly price got my attention.  After researching the company and learning that they're now owned by AT&T, I started taking the thought of transferring to Cricket a little more seriously.  The coverage would be the same as AT&T, which we've been very happy with the past few years ... even in the Virgin Islands and Mexico.    

My new Motorola MotoG!

A few weeks later, Ken and I are now with Cricket Wireless and we each have a new smart phone.  Ken chose the Nokia Lumia 630 with Windows 8 and I chose the Motorola MotoG.  The MotoG has the new KitKat operating system and 8GB of storage.  It doesn't have a SD card slot but it came with an offer of 65GB of "cloud" storage on Google "Drive" when activated.  That's plenty enough storage for me.  After the $50 rebate that was offered, Ken's phone was free and mine was $50 ... the same as I would have paid for that insurance deductible.  What's even better ... for $45 each (with AutoPay) we get unlimited calls, texts and 3GB of data (each line) on our phone.  We're saving about $40 per month, and we have smart phones too!  There's no contract and we can change our plans every month,  There's a cheaper plan of 1GB for $35 and a more expensive plan of $55 for 10GB of data!  You can even change your plan in the middle of a cycle (up to 2 times) and get a credit or additional charge, depending on if you choose a smaller or larger plan.  In fact, I've already lowered my plan to $35 for 1GB since I'm always around WiFi.  What happens if I go over my data plan?  I doubt I will, but if so I don't get billed more or lose my data for the rest of the month ... instead it just slows down.

I told our daughter about this, and she now has a Cricket account as well.  (It would have been even cheaper if she'd joined our account as Cricket gives a discount for every line added, but she's married now).  She wanted to keep her Samsung Galaxy, so she paid only $10 to buy a new SIM card.  Although AT&T charged her $180 early termination fee (she was still in contract), she'll save that much in just a few months.  So far, we're all happy!  

Oh, and after a year of paying on time and having at least one of us on the mid-range or highest data plan we'll each get a $50 credit for a new phone.  We get one every year, and if not used it will be added to the next year's $50.  I wish I got a commission from Cricket (I don't), because I sure do love their product so far!  Yes, I read some terrible reviews online about customer service, but we've been happy.  I went to a local store to buy my phone, and Ken ordered his online.  Both experiences were good, and although buying at a store instead of online generally means a $25 activation fee ... the guy waived mine and gave me a great discount on a heavy duty phone case!

Wanna know how to save another $25?  If I share your email as a referral and you activate within 30 days, then we'll both get a $25 credit after you've been a paying customer for two months!   So, if you wanna join and get a credit just email me privately (top of our site) with your email address and we'll both benefit.  Although we're happy, I can't make any guarantees. So, I'd suggest that you look at their coverage map first to be sure you're happy with what you find.  Here in Louisiana, we haven't had any problems.

Although I was reluctant to own a smart phone, I must admit that I LOVE  it!  I'm now able to easily check my email, research something real quick, and even use my phones as a GPS.  I've already learned a few new things that I'll be sharing soon in future posts, including streaming your own music files directly from your "cloud" and quickly/easily transferring and/or copying files from one cloud account to another.

Our laptop computer is old and soooo slow, so our phones are much handier.  If it weren't for writing these posts on our blog or Ken's need to type an invoice for his business, we'd probably never use our laptop anymore!  I've yet to add the "Facebook" app on my phone, but I can see how it would make posting to our page so much easier.  Now I know everyone's secret!  I'm sure I'll add the app once we're working on the boat and living aboard, but for now I'm trying to resist.  Ken doesn't have a Facebook account, and I try to make a point of not looking at Facebook on the weekends or evenings at home.  It's good to "disconnect" for a while.

Hasta luego ... until then.  Mid-Life Cruising!

*For those that missed the other posts of this series, check them out below:

2 comments:

Bob Stuke said...

You should also be able to "unlock" the smartphones so you can buy other prepaid SIM cards for wherever you are?

Ken n Cheryl said...

Bob, first thing you may want to do is check that your phone is compatible with Cricket at www.cricketwireless.com/shop/byod.html
If it's compatible then unlocking the phone is all you'll need. Our daughter was able to get AT&T to unlock her phone.

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