NOTE: The Boost Mobile plan described in this post is no longer available. Boost still has other great plans though. We’ll be sticking with them when we add our youngest daughter in February.
Boost Mobile* FTW! Sorry AT&T, Sprint, Verizon…
Ok, it’s been a busy summer. We started with 2 full-time incomes and now we’re down to one. We made it through summer swim team, a summer wedding, a trip to the Big Apple, a family group trip to Mexico, and now we’re getting ready for our daughters to start high school and middle school respectively. Therefore, this blog entry is about 3 months overdue. Sorry ‘bout that.
Anyhow, since I believe this blog is still applicable to many of you and since we’re still trying to save money where it makes sense, I thought I’d pull it back up and finish it. With that, take yourself back in time to May…
As I blogged previously, Mrs. HackNow had her foot out the proverbial corporate door 3 weeks ago. If you read “We Didn’t Start the F.I.R.E.” you’ll remember that days before she was ready to pull the trigger, our long-term renter gave his termination notice… sonofabitch. So, since then we’ve been biding our time and planning how to quickly flip renters so we can move on with our original plan.
The background you need to know is that Mrs. HackNow has been unhappy in her job for quite a while but has been sticking it out. It seems like every few weeks another shoe drops that ultimately convinced her (us) that it’s time to make like hay and bail. So we’re clearly at the end of our rope.
Well guess what? A few weeks have passed and the next shoe has dropped. How many damn shoes are there? While this might sound like a first-world problem to many, we’ve both had our cell phones paid for by our companies for years. We’ve always considered this a fringe benefit worth upwards of $2000 a year. Not a bad deal, right? Well, get this, when Mrs. HackNow asked the big bad boss lady for an upgrade from her iPhone 5 last week, she was told, “oh yeah, we’re no longer paying for your phone so you’ll need to move your number over to your own phone by the end of the week.”
Just like that. No I’m sorry…, I know this must come as a surprise…, hey this is affecting everyone…, it’s a cost saving measure for the company as things are getting tight…, nothing! Just move your phone by the end of the week. Great interpersonal skills, this one. So here is just another sign that it’s time to jump on that #FIRE dream. Sure we’d have to get a new phone regardless when she quits, but it’s the way the situation was handled, just like every situation with this woman, poorly.
So off we go to price cell carriers. While it’s been years since we’ve paid for our own cell phones, we actually have some experience as we’ve been paying for our oldest daughter’s phone for over 2 years now. As you’ll come to understand, when you HackNow and plan to RetireEarly, no monthly recurring expense is entered into lightly. Therefore, I’ve already put a lot of research into cell phone providers. 2 years ago we bought our daughter an iPhone through Virgin Mobile. This worked out great as it was a no-contract, $30/month service with unlimited text and 2GB of data. However, after about a year Virgin got out of the Apple business and stopped selling iPhones. So when it came time to upgrade her from an iPhone 4 last year, we switched her to an iPhone 6 on Boost Mobile. This was significantly cheaper than buying an iPhone from any of the major carriers, especially over time.
So the question became, now that we need 2 lines does it suddenly become more cost effective to switch to the big guys or stick with the pay-as-you-go budget brands? This needs more analysis!
I returned to my trusty cell phone provider spreadsheet that details out each plan’s monthly fees, phone cost, taxes, corporate discounts, option to purchase a phone via pre-pay or installments, etc. What I learned quickly was that even 2 phones and 2 lines on Boost Mobile or Cricket Wireless is still cheaper than any of the major carriers. I honestly don’t know why anyone who does their homework would go with one of the big 4. On top of that, Boost is running a promotion (still available in August!) where you can get 2 lines for $65 with unlimited talk and text and 10GB of data per line, no contract*. Yes, that’s a freakin’ option, take that AT&T! I never thought I’d find a 10GB of data per line deal, especially for 2 or more lines, this works out perfectly for our situation.
I know your next question, it’s the same one I had – what’s the catch?
The catch is that you have to buy your own phone. $400+ for an iPhone is pretty steep when you can go to Sprint, Verizon, etc. and simply pay $15 month and get a new phone every 2 years right? Well, not to someone who understands value over time! Who’s with me here?
We can get an iPhone 5s for $149 (regularly $199 but they’re currently offering $50 off for moving off of AT&T) or an iPhone 6 for $449. Hell, want to spring for an iPhone 6s? It’s $549.
So, at most, that’s $549 / 12 = $45.75/month. Add in $30-35/month for the service fee and you’re paying, at most, $80.75 a month on Boost for a brand new iPhone. Even less if you go with a 1 or 2 year old model. In year 1, you’re paying basically the same price as regular service from AT&T or Sprint, but with those guys your payment continues for eternity.
At Boost, your cost in year 2 and after (until you buy a new phone) drops to only $30-35/month. That’s huge savings! And guess what? If you’re not happy you can cancel anytime because there’s no contract! Just sell your phone on eBay and move on.
Now that’s the value I’m looking for! Don’t get stuck looking at the short term and how much it costs to buy a phone. Instead, calculate your cost per year and visualize the savings. They add up quickly.
UPDATE: 3 months later and we’re still happy with our decision to double-down on Boost Mobile*. Just knowing that we’re saving money every month and have the option to leave anytime is liberating.
*This is a Boost Mobile referral link. While the purpose of this blog entry is not to entice you to sign up with Boost, if you follow this link and sign up, I’ll receive a $25 account credit.
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