Thursday, May 16, 2013

Prepaid Cell Phones vs. Paid Plans

For the first 10 years of owning a cell phone, I enjoyed receiving a free phone with a 2 year cell phone service commitment. Just like most people, I love shiny new gadgets and couldn't resist the offers of the latest and greatest phones. I started to get a bit antsy with the bills as I noticed new usage charges and taxes every month. My $29.99 monthly plan would end up being closer to $40 every single month! Adding to the frustration, I would receive calls from telemarketers from my phone company, suggesting that I move to a different, more expensive plan several times per year. Does this sound like you?

Finally, in 2011, I decided to switch to a prepaid plan. The phone itself is very basic, and if it breaks, I'm not worried about it. When it loses its sparkle, I can always spend another $40 to get a new one. The best part is that through AT&T Wireless, I only pay $15 per month or $25 for two months. If it appears that I am going to use all of my minutes, then I top up the account. The only true annoyance about the phone is that I often receive calls from bill collectors from the previous owner of my phone number. It can be pretty irritating to receive one of these calls and then when I hang up, to see that I was just charged 10 cents for someone wasting my time. Still, this could have happened with a traditional cell phone plan.

I love the bells and whistles of smart phones, just like most people, so I carry an IPOD Touch. I've loaded all of the apps that I need on it other than GPS, which came standard with my car. The benefit of the IPOD touch is that whenever I am within wifi service area - library, coffee shop, home and work - I can make and receive unlimited free phone calls using Skype. Now, if only I can break my addiction to the app, Candy Crush!

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