Has the high cost of living made an indention into your budget lately? It has ours. We have had to plan a budget, re-plan that budget, and then tighten it up just a little bit more.
Between Dishnet, Apple, Nintendo, and Sony, our budget had just about become unbudgeted!
So I had to get busy and find some way to save some money. One of our greatest expenses is the cell phone. When we first got a cell phone, I was the only one that needed it. We got rid of our home phone, which we couldn’t seem to get below the $30 mark (for local calling only), and used my cell phone instead.
But alas, as a frog being boiled, I got used to the convenience of the cell phone, and the luxury of became an expected need. It wasn’t long until I was lured into the seductive power of the Apple iPhone. What style! What ease! What power! I went from talking to family and friends on the phone to being able to map out a long trip, or look up an elusive meaning to any word I came across, not to mention when Siri came along. With these smartphones, we hold the world in the palm of our hands. (Ahh…I digress.)
However, as the kids became teens, they thought they needed phones too. Son #4 was able to purchase his own phone. He too started out with a nice convenient cell phone, but was quickly caught up with the whole fandomhood of Apple I-Phone-itus. Looking at the family plan, he could get an iPhone fairly reasonably, as long as he gave them two years of his life. And we soon found that two-year commitment had become very costly with purchasing the data plan, paying overage costs, and a little mishap with a river excursion. Fortunately, he was financially independent from us. 🙂
Daughter #4 was next. For a short while, she was satisfied with a $20 phone and that cost us $10 per month. But she quickly found that wasn’t sufficient for her. She now has Virgin Mobile prepaid, but it’s still quite a bit more than our budget likes.
So I got on the WWW and began to search “cheap smartphone plans”. I just couldn’t go back to a dumb phone. I tried to use The Farmer’s phone and didn’t even know how to operate it anymore. It didn’t do anything when I touched the screen. And all those push buttons just had numbers on them…it was so confusing!
Fortunately Daughter #1 lives very frugal and she told me about a site called mrmoneymustache (highly recommend you check him out). On his site I found a company called Republic Wireless.
Republic Wireless is a company that started a beta phone service in 2011. The way I understand it is that their phones use existing free wifi service to make calls. Unlike the big boys who use the cell towers and charge you an arm and leg, this company makes use of free wifi hotspots that you find everywhere. I have used free wifi from McDonalds, Lowes, Starbucks, Target, and my favorite car dealer, Chris Auffenberg Ford, in Washington. And of course I use the wifi I have here at home.
However, Republic Wireless doesn’t only rely on free wifi, their phones also use the cell towers. The default setting for their phones are free wifi, and the backup for the cell phones are the cell towers.
When I first began to look into it, the only phone they had was their beta phone—Motorola Defy XT. And the only plan they had was $19 a month for unlimited text, data, and talk (a lot cheaper then I was paying for that same service). So using Daughter #5 as a guinea pig, we purchased the phone for her and I tracked her activity for that first month.
She got great reception, always had service, and never missed a call (well, except when I would be calling her to check to see if she had finished her chores while I was away—not the fault of the phone). So when my servitude, I mean contract, with AT&T ended I switched to Republic Wireless.
Unfortunately the beta Motorola Defy XT was not available, but fortunately they offered an awesome Android phone, the Motorola X (and I could purchase the white color for the same price as the black-can’t do that with the iPhone). I love it! With a little bit of a learning curve, I find the Moto X as appealing to me as the iPhone.
Now here’s the best part (well another best part), Republic Wireless offers smartphone plans starting at $5 a month! The plans range between unlimited talk, text, and data (wifi only) for $5/month up to unlimited talk, text, and data (wifi and 4G) for $40/month. There are other plans for $10 and $25 per month.
I have had Republic Wireless for 1 ½ months, (Daughter #5 has been with them for 4 months) and I highly recommend their company. If you would like to look into what they have to offer, here is my affiliate link. Just link on the image.
Seriously, I will be saving $480 a year using Republic Wireless instead of AT&T.
That’s just enough money to go on a 7-day Caribbean cruise!