Monday, February 15, 2016

How I Saved $500 a Year On My Cell Phone

My first cell phone was handed down to me from my now ex when he "upgraded" to a newer model. There was no contract for my second-hand Android phone by that point and so I stayed on my ex's plan for about $60/month (I don't remember the exact monthly cost).

I did not understand data plans yet.

Eventually that phone started having a lot of problems so I went to my ex for cell phone advice because he "knows about those things." He got me set up with a brand new iPhone 6 with a top-of-the-line data plan with Bell Aliant. I asked if I really needed all that data. "Oh yes!" he said.

That's how my monthly cell phone bill went from $60/month to $110/month!

I was actually told I could not opt for a smaller data plan with my new iPhone 6. So there I was, locked into a contract with a data plan I did know I did not need.

Well since then I have become much more familiar with cell phones and more importantly, how often and in what ways I use my cell phone.

When I started being mindful of my personal finances last year, my cell phone bill was one of my biggest annoyances. I gritted my teeth every time I paid off that $110 bill. I started to message customer support about reducing my bill. There was very little wiggle room save for a $10 Apple Care fee (insurance).

Even though I used far less than half of the data I had on my plan, there seemed to be little I could do but wait for the 13 months left on my contract to run out.

Then I found out that Eastlink buys out competitor contracts and gives you up to $200 towards your contract termination fee! (Note: I got the full $200 reimbursement.)

So I carefully reviewed their data plans to find one that worked for me and would still meet their minimum data plan requirement for the buy out (I went with the minimum data plan requirement).

I calculated my costs and my break-even point using the Wireless Plan Calculator (see my calculations below).

I made the switch.

My new total cell phone bill (including tax) is $64. It is still not cheap.

The data plan is still more than I need (TIP: Use wifi, not data!)

However, since Eastlink is also my Internet provider, I now get a $15/month discount on my Internet (new total is $74.70/month).

So I am now saving approximately $60/month on cell phone and Internet combined.

Note: I do not have a landline. My cell phone also has unlimited text and Canada-wide long-distance. I do not have any other extra services on my plan like insurance. I am now contract free!

After I feel like I've been fair and given Eastlink enough of my business for buying out my contract, I will look into my options for further reducing my cell phone bill.

My Wireless Plan Calculator Results

How I calculated my contract termination fee:

$57 unlocking fee
$333.27 cancellation bill
MINUS $200 (buy out fee from Eastlink)

Current Cell Phone Plan

Cost per month (before tax):
Contract termination fees:
Months left on contract:

New Cell Phone Plan

Cost per month (before tax):
Cost of new equipment (optional)*:
Set-up fees (optional):


You will break even on investment in 4.6 months, and save $348.32 over the lifetime of your contract by switching today.

After the break even period, switching to this new plan should save you about $497.16 per year on your wireless budget.

Wednesday, February 3, 2016

Why Graceful Simplicity

Welcome to my new blog.  Recently I've gained some clarity as to what I would like my life to look like. You can read a bit about that and what I envision for this blog here.

In mid-2015 I really starting being mindful of my personal finances, as I realized it is key to reaching my dreams. I reached my first financial goal last year of saving $5,500 and got free of a mortgage I still shared with an ex (whom I was with for 10 years). I currently have no debt, which is a huge bonus! Soon I'll write a post about this year's financial goals.

My ultimate goal is to buy or built a small cottage in the country and semi-retire! With some financial independence I can work freelance and/or part-time doing any old job (marketing jobs are hard to come by in rural areas!) and earn enough to cover living costs and save for full retirement without having to spend 8 hours a day, 5 days a week staring at a computer screen. I'll spend the rest of my time cottage homesteading and doing whatever else I feel like.

In the meantime, I am very content with living in a small city and creating an intentional, minimalist homemaking lifestyle in my little studio apartment.

With this blog I hope to share my stories and lessons I'm learning along the way.