Saving Money on your Cell Phone Provider

This is the first in a series of articles I plan to do to help you save money, either at home or with your business.

If you’re a stay-at-home parent (or would like to be) or a small business owner who needs to save money each month, one great place to look is your cell phone bill. There are so many options available today to save you money, keep you from being tied up in a seemingly endless contract, and give you even more features than you thought you could afford. I want to take a bit of time to tell you about our new cell phone provider, that has given us more options for less money!

My husband and I had two basic, standard cell phones with a minutes-only plan through Sprint. We’d been with them for years and were reasonably happy with them, although it my mind their costs just kept going up while our service stayed the same. Our contracts ended last year and I decided I was sick of being stuck on the endless contract loop and wanted to look elsewhere.

I wanted a smartphone, since I own my own business I wanted to have the ability to check orders and respond to clients while out running errands or doing activities with my kids. We looked at the major carriers, but it seemed that a data plan was simply not an option on our current budget, and I refused to pay more to a luxury I didn’t necessarily need.

That was until we found a low-cost cell phone carrier called Ting. They offer pay-as-you-go, no contract, “pay for what you use” cell phone plans. They also allow you to create an a la carte plan based on the amount of text, data, and minutes you’d like to use. The biggest bonus, unlike most major carriers, you aren’t required to pay for/use data even if you have a smartphone!

We were able to use device credits and get two refurbished smartphones for about $40 total. So far, we’ve been able to use all the bells and whistles of a smartphone while paying only slightly less than we paid for a minutes-only plan with our other carrier.  We’ve been with Ting for about 3 months 2.5 years now and the experience has been wonderful!

March 2013 Update: Since we’ve been using Ting and getting more familiar with our phones, we try to use Wi-Fi whenever possible for internet use, and thus our data use has gone down. This means we’re now at a $20 savings on Ting versus our previous Spring plan (with which we had no texting or data).

March 2014 Update: Still loving Ting! The flexibility is amazing. We love having a data hotspot available anytime we need it to use with other devices. We find we do use more data while we’re out but our two bills are still under $100 (often under $80) in a typical month.

May 2014 Update: We recently merged our two lines together to get the most cost effective Ting plan. Something we meant to do a long time ago!! Our typical bill is around $65-70 for both phones. We use Wi-Fi at home and Data while we’re out. I also text quite a bit. 

Here’s how Ting works…

Ting essentially operates with various sized “buckets” or rates. Whatever bucket you fall into for minutes, messages, and megabytes is what you pay. They consider themselves and “post-paid” service where you pay after your bill is calculated for the previous month. For instance if you use 500 minutes, 150 texts, and 1000 megabytes – your bill is $18 + $5 + 19 + $6 device fee, so $48 plus taxes. If you have two devices on one plan both phones will pool the minutes, texts, and megabytes into the same bucket.

new-rates
This is Ting’s updated rate information.

Just check out Ting’s Savings Calculator to see how much you could save compared to your existing carrier.

Benefits of Ting:

  • No contract and no ETF fees if you need to cancel
  • Plans are a la carte, you pick your text/data/minute quantities
  • Pay only for what you use
  • Easy to use dashboard showing your usage, with options to set alerts or auto shut off capabilities if you are reaching your text/data/minute threshold.
  • Each device added to your plan costs $6/month

Other Considerations:

  • Ting operates off the Sprint Network, so check to verify they cover your area
  • You must buy a new or refurbished phone through them or bring over a phone from a qualified carrier (get a $25 credit towards a Ting phone or your first bill using my referral code) 

 

 

So what do you think? Are you currently shopping around or have you switched providers recently? There are many other great pre-paid and MVNO’s (mobile virtual network operator) out there, we’d love to hear what you recommend.

Note: We were not compensated in anyway for this review of Ting’s cell service. We enjoy the service and wanted to recommend it to others. If you use my referral link above to get the $25 device or service credit, I will also receive a $25 service credit as well.

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