How We Lowered Our Cell Phone Bill By Over $100/Month – Part 1

This is a little three part series that details how we lowered our cell phone bill by over $100/month. It goes something like this:

  • Part 1 – Breaking Up With Verizon (this post)
  • Part 2 – I’m In Love With Ting! (tomorrow)
  • Part 3 – Glyde Smoothed The Way (the day after tomorrow)

20140211-195200.jpgBefore we go any further, let it be known that we have been ridiculously spoiled in the cell phone department, and by that I mean that our cell phone bill was actually pretty close to the “average American household”. (The average per line bill was $71/month in 2012, ours was $80/line for smart phones.)

We each have an iPhone 4S and have a shared plan that has allowed us more minutes, texts, and data than we could ever possibly use each month. And don’t get me wrong, I love my iPhone. I use it for just about everything. From recording all my runs using RunKeeper, to getting paid for working out with Pact (FKA GymPact), to keeping on top of our finances on a daily basis with Mint, and a whole host of other apps. This little computer has become a sizable part of my life.

But for these luxuries, we have also been paying dearly…

The Details On Our Plan (And What We Actually Used)

 

  • 2 iPhone 4S
  • 700 shared minutes (used ~250 min/month including “free” minutes like mobile to mobile and nights/weekends)
  • 1250 text messages (used ~100 messages/month outside of iMessages that go through data plan)
  • 4 GB of data, 2GB data plan on each phone (used ~1GB per month across both phones)

For our usage patterns, this was the smallest plan we could have purchased, and after taxes and fees, we’ve been paying $160.73/month and were no longer tied down with a contract. But those giant bills had to go.

 

Breaking Up With Verizon

Dear Verizon,

We’ve had a lot of good times over the years. You gave Mr PoP his first gig in retail sales that led to a great career in B2B sales, and for that we’re really grateful. And back in 2009, you were the only cell phone provider that had a signal strong enough that we could use a cell phone inside of our house and allow us to cross Alligator Alley without dropping any calls.

What you lacked in customer service (and let’s be honest… you lacked A LOT in customer service), you seemed to make up for that in the fact that we had bars just about everywhere. And we paid handsomely to be able to use our fancy little iPhones wherever the heck we wanted.

But as time went by, that wasn’t really enough anymore.

The thing is, everyone else changed, but you haven’t. You’re still the same Big Red you always were. But in the meantime, your competition has gotten a lot better (and they now accept our fancy little iPhones), and we’ve gotten a lot smarter.

So we’re leaving you. Actually we already did. But – holy cow! – you didn’t handle it well.

Bitter to be losing us, you refused to prorate our last bill. You held down and LOCKED our phones making them unsellable for weeks. Your “customer service” agents locked us out of our online account, then refused to send us a copy of our last billing statement, telling us if we wanted to see a copy of it we’d have to drive to the nearest Verizon retail location and pay a service fee of $5. I think my favorite part is that you emailed me a link to my final bill, but have completely locked me out of the account so there’s no way for me to actually view it.

I spoke with at least 3 different customer service agents, both over the phone and using your online chat option and none of them were able to give me a straight answer as to when we would finally have you out of our lives forever. Ridiculous.

I’m telling you this to help you, I swear. Because those kind of moves just make you look desperate. And nobody wants to be with someone who’s desperate.

And so, Big Red. It’s over. For your sake, I hope you clean up your act, otherwise you’ll die a long slow death like other companies that didn’t adapt and thought they could just rape their legacy customers with high fees in perpetuity. *cough* AOL *cough* But we’ll no longer let you do that to us, and we’re spreading the word that others shouldn’t have to either.

Best Wishes,

Mrs PoP

 

Check back for tomorrow’s post to see what we think of our new beau, Ting!

 

Anybody else out there want to fess up to having a high cell phone bill? I know we can’t be the only ones!

40 comments to How We Lowered Our Cell Phone Bill By Over $100/Month – Part 1

  • All I can say is hell yea!!
    Cash Rebel recently posted..cottage food laws: How to sell homemade foodMy Profile

  • I so can’t wait until someone catches up with Verizon and AT&T in our area. I can’t wait to break up!
    Kim@Eyesonthedollar recently posted..Would You Choose The Same Career Again?My Profile

  • WOW! Those Ting plans are awesome! I am dying to get a new cell phone. The one I have now was free and s u c k s…. I’m constantly getting static and dropping calls. As soon as I can get $400 together I’m totally going for the Samsung Galaxy! I love the idea of a $15 cell phone bill!
    Sharon recently posted..Death to New Year’s Resolutions and How to Set GoalsMy Profile

  • I have an iPhone and I’m with AT&T and their customer services is almost over the top friendly. Very Stepford-y almost. Im curious about how you like everything as a former iPhone user who uses similar programs like you did. I would be worried I was going to miss something. Looking forward to the next post!
    Tonya@Budget and the Beach recently posted..Should I Stay or Should I Go?My Profile

    • Tonya – as a preview to tomorrow’s post, changing service to Ting didn’t affect any of that.

      Re AT&T’s service – the Verizon folks were always friendly, just inept and unwilling to give me a straight answer most of the time!

  • wow I’m amazed at those plans that Ting offers! How have I not heard of them before??? As soon as I have the money, I’m going to buy one of their phones and switch carriers. I’ve been dying for a new phone…mine was free and s u c k s .. I’m constantly getting static and dropping calls. their phones might be more expensive, but I love the idea of a $15 bill! Thanks for sharing!
    Sharon recently posted..Death to New Year’s Resolutions and How to Set GoalsMy Profile

  • Wow! I canceled my Verizon account a few months ago but didn’t have anywhere near as negative of an experience. That stuff is ridiculous! I’ve been with Republic Wireless and I have to say I’m lukewarm and cooling off. There are plenty of times that the calls through wi-fi delay my voice and I have to hang up and call back on the cell service. And the sprint cell service is fine in the city, which is where I am most of the time, but it gets pretty spotty as you move away. I’ve heard lots of good things about Ting, as well as some other providers, and may be switching soon.
    Matt Becker recently posted..The Stock Market is Falling! In Other News, Grass is Green!My Profile

    • Matt it was insane and it really did make them all seem fairly incompetent.

      We looked into Republic Wireless, but the finicky-ness was a huge turn-off and didn’t seem worth the savings. Not to mention that I don’t have wi-fi at work, which is one of the primary places I use the data connection on my phone. Check out the full Ting review tomorrow – I think you’ll be pleased!

  • Thanks for the post, I want to break up with T-mobile. I wonder if ting is available in my area NJ.
    EL @ Moneywatch101 recently posted..Companies that might go bankrupt in 2014My Profile

    • Since Ting runs on the Sprint network, as long as there are sprint towers, you can get Ting. Tomorrow’s post has a link to the Sprint coverage map that shows you what type of service is at your address (3G, 4G etc).

  • Haha! So Verizon is a bad breaker-upper, eh? I’ve been tempted to switch to Ting, so I’ll definitely stay tuned for your next installment. People complain about T-mobile, but I’ve actually been pretty with them so far. I call T-Mobile periodically to inquire about cheaper plans, and they’re always able to get me on one, even if it’s only slightly cheaper. We pay $116/month for unlimited text and data and talk (2 lines). But, according to Ting, we could be paying $67/month. If that’s the case, and the service and everything is the same, I’m all for switching. Very curious to read your next post!
    Kristin Wong recently posted..Frugal tips from a money expertMy Profile

    • Verizon’s like that creepy boy that after you break up with him shows up saying, “I thought we were gonna hang out?”

      Definitely read tomorrow’s post. I think you’ll be pretty pleased. =)

  • I’ve luckily not dealt with Verizon Wireless’ customer service before, but that just sounds horrible! We had $180/mth cell phone bills last year, and now we’re down to $125/mth (employer discount + AT&T’s new mobile share plans), and after July, we’ll likely be down to $110/mth (Dad’s phone rolls off contract). We’re sticking with AT&T because of the international roaming for me, but it sounds like the MVNOs are really doing well!
    Mom @ Three is Plenty recently posted..Taxes finalized – and already plotting to amend themMy Profile

  • Our phone plans are pretty cheap in comparison but we get a lot less for the money and we pay a lot more for phones upfront. Not sure what i prefer…
    eemusings recently posted..RTW and back: An interview with Maddie and Paul of Two for the RoadMy Profile

    • Well, with Ting you need to either buy a phone upfront from them or buy one from someone else. So for the new phones they can be pricey. But I still think I like that better than paying out the nose in perpetuity.

  • Boo on Verizon, then.
    Sometime after August, we’ll be giving give AT&T the stage-right hook. I’ve been hearing about Ting for sometime, as they’re one of the sponsors of Dan Carlin’s podcast. Look forward to details on the next post.
    101 Centavos recently posted..New vehicle or used used vehicle… crunching some numbersMy Profile

  • We both have Verizon but are exploring options since we’ll probably combine our plans… looking forward to your next post!
    anna recently posted..I’m Ready to “Give Birth” to This Wedding!My Profile

    • Definitely look into it. Depending where the honeymoon is you might want to wait until after you go – or check which countries have roaming since Sprint’s roaming capabilities are smaller than Verizon I think. But I guess that only matters if you’re planning on using your phone when you travel abroad. =)

  • Gwen

    I love my $32/month T-mobile plan with unlimited texting and data. I only have 100 minutes/month, but I just save those for short calls and make any of my longer calls through Google voice. I’m not fond of talking on the phone anyway, so it’s nice to have an excuse. :)

    I also had a very brief, very unpleasant experience with Republic Wireless last year and am so glad I didn’t rush to cancel my T-mobile plan.

    • “I’m not fond of talking on the phone anyway, so it’s nice to have an excuse. ”

      haha, I like it. Depending how many texts/data you use, you might still come out ahead on Ting, though $32/month is pretty great too!

  • DH almost switched us to Ting while he was unemployed (he did all sorts of research and came out with them being better than Republic Wireless), but he wanted to wait for a new phone or something to come put and then he got employed and we’re still waiting to tell the a/c people to replace our a/c (next on the chore list. Oh, and advertise that we have 3 adorable kittens and 1 lovable chill cat who all need homes.)
    nicoleandmaggie recently posted..UpdatesMy Profile

    • That’s a long to-do list! Are there any no kill shelters around that might be able to help you place the kitties?

      Sound like DH and I ran pretty similar calculus. Republic Wireless sounds great for some people, but it’s just not for Mr PoP and I for an assortment of reasons.

  • Meghan

    Ooh, we had identical cell phone plans. I am looking forward to your next post!

  • RezdentGoddess

    Really looking forward to the rest of this series! We’re on Verizon and I’m tired of the huge bill (3 lines, 260+/month). We’re not only rural but also between two hills that seem to affect coverage. My job requires that I be on call and that’s my big worry – I have to have a reliable signal for both cell and internet access. Other carriers (Sprint, AT&T) seem to drop a lot out here. Hoping you have good news!

  • Thanks for sharing! I too am considering breaking up with Verizon Wireless, although their coverage is hard to beat. I’m on their cheapest smart phone plan and it’s still costing me ~$90 per month. Looking forward to part two!
    Cashville Skyline recently posted..When To Take the Next Step With Your BlogMy Profile

  • We are in Verizon and pay $130 to $150 each for phones with voice and data packages. I have been toying with the idea of switching to get a lower monthly bill, but I really like to be able to reliably access the voice and data networks. I am in Baton Rouge mostly but I also drive back and forth across many states to DC a few times a year and I want to have coverage while on that drive. Unfortunately, Ting doesn’t have much coverage from the Sprint network. I guess it’s that trade off to pay extra for the ability to use it anywhere.
    Alice @ Earning My Two Cents recently posted..Why I Took Out A $4000 Vacation Loan (When I’m Already in Debt)My Profile

  • We are looking at moving on from Verizon as well… if we do, hopefully things go a little smoother than your experience… what jerks they are!! Hopefully you get the whole situation figured out!
    Jon @ Our Fine Adventure recently posted..Medium-Term Goal: Savings Account or Investment Account?My Profile

  • […] How We Lowered Our Cell Phone Bill By Over $100/Month – Part 1 […]

  • We had no trouble at all cancelling our Verizon service—but we did have to pay the $200 fee. We switched to two $10/month Airvoice plans and our old Verizon bill was closing in on $90 for two “dumb” phones, so the change will pay for itself in just a few months.

    Unfortunately, our Verizon phones didn’t work with Airvoice, so we had to buy even DUMBER phones. The sound is crappy–don’t know if that’s the service or the $20 phones–but the plan is to get smart phones once we’ve saved enough money. We had been thinking Republic Wireless, but sounds like the service is a problem, so I’ll be looking forward to this Ting review!
    frugalparagon recently posted..Cloth Diapering: What Not To BuyMy Profile

    • Maybe Verizon is friendlier if you pay them on the way out. =).

      The ting review is up! Just check out today’s post on the home page. I think you’ll be pleasantly surprised by the review.

  • I looked at ting awhile back, but for what our needs are as far as calling and internet, it actually is cheaper to go with one of the big 3. I looked into Virgin and T-Mobile as well. We apparently use our phones quite a bit????
    Becky @ RunFunDone recently posted..No Car Commute Month!My Profile

  • […] reading Mrs. PoP’s three-part post about saving $100 per month on her mobile plan, I was inspired to take a good, hard look at our […]

  • That’s pretty good savings. I also got out of the contract deals back in 2011. I was with t-mobile until a little while back when I found out about Solavei.No contract service, $39 per month unlimited talk text and internet. It’s the same service as t-mobile except it’s less expensive and they also give you $5 per month for everyone you refer. if you haven’t heard about them check out my website. I already saved $132 since I joined