One way to cut an expense but not your lifestyle

Life without a smartphone?

I'm old enough to remember when cell phones were non-existent for regular consumers, and experienced the evolution of phones from large hand-held devices, to sleeker flip phones, to the now-ubiquitous smartphones.  

Flickr image courtesy of: Joe Loong

Flickr image courtesy of: Joe Loong

I remember my first cell phone - a Nokia model with a nice blue backlit screen.  Talking, and the occasional text that you paid for per message, was about the extent of my phone's capabilities.  Now I have an iPhone (paid for by work) and so does my husband (paid for out of our own resources).  

We've become so accustomed to our smartphones (me especially) that it is hard to imagine going back to the "old ways".  However, we both agree that paying over $100 a month for just a single, limited phone plan is not how we want to use our money.  Dilemma.  How do we cut expenses without cutting lifestyle?

The StraightTalk Solution

About four months ago, we learned that StraightTalk was providing a "Bring your own phone" program that at last included the AT&T iPhone!  If you aren't familiar with StraighTalk, it's a mobile virtual network operator (MVNO) and doesn't require a lengthy contract for service.  You can purchase a phone directly from them or bring your own compatible phone.

Maybe you can see where this is going... My husband's phone is **was** on an AT&T contract. I smell freedom!

Moving to StraightTalk

We ordered the AT&T SIM card on the StraightTalk website, and my husband went through the process of porting his number over and starting his new service.  The transition, however, wasn't a smooth process.  There was a mix up in StraightTalk's database with the SIM card number that was assigned to his phone versus what was actually in his phone.  After several days of playing phone tag with customer service and spending several hours with support, we got the phone to work on StraightTalk's network.  Compared to the customer service experience with AT&T, I would say that StraightTalk is definitely not a step-down in quality.  

Was it worth the hassle of my husband being phoneless for a week and spending hours with technical support?  I think so.  Now, instead of paying $109/month for less than 1 GB of data, he has an unlimited talk/text/4G LTE data plan (with throttling reportedly starting around 2.5 GB) for only $45/month.  And no contract.  That's a savings of $786 a year and a better plan.  Love it.