Friday, May 8, 2009

Tip #1: Buy A Phone Online, Not A 2 Year Contract

I currently have a contract with a wireless company and I noticed on my online account that I was eligible to upgrade my cellphone for a shiny brand new one only IF I signed up for another 2 year contract agreement with my carrier. At first I asked myself "why not"? but then I asked myself "What if I get laid off or fired from my job"?, "What if I like the phone I have now"? I found out there is a month-to-month option under my wireless company, not to be confused with a pay-as-you-go plan. A month-to-month plan is basically the plan you have now but contract-free and you usually pay full retail price for any phone you want in the future instead of getting the discount pricing under a contract. A pay-as-you-plan is when you pay for what you use like $0.50 a minute or $0.10 every text message.

I decided I will not be getting the upgrade I am eligible for and wait until my contact is over in the next 3 months so I can go into the month-to-month program. Some people might argue that if I do this, I will be spending more money because I have to buy any phone under the retail price. That's true, but I can also buy a phone online for half the retail price or cheaper and activate it through my carrier. If you choose to go with the upgrade and 2 year contract, not only are you stuck with your carrier for another x years but you still have to pay some of your new phone or depending on your taste, get it free AFTER a mail-in rebate.

This way I won't have to pay an ETF (early termination fee) with my carrier If I decide to opt-out of any changes done under the company or god forbid lose my job. Early termination fees can be a headache when you want to fire your wireless company for charging you more than they should in the first place. By switching to the month to month plan I won't be obligated to stay with my carrier and can switch whenever I please. Also if my phone gets lost, stolen, broken or just up for a new one, I can buy one cheaply online or from a friend. I like the feeling of being free and not having a wireless company own you so if it does'nt work for you, you know you can always go back.

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