What the Cheapskate is Reading

by Christina Brown · 12 comments

in Frugal Living

So much buzz about Verizon adding the iPhone to its product line this week. Will you switch carriers just to get an iPhone?  Will you be heading to Verizon to upgrade?

I currently have a Blackberry.  While it is not frugal, it’s been a necessary evil for me to handle e-mails and blog-related things when I’m away from home.  I also have an iPod Touch.  The iPod Touch has made me want an iPhone in the worst way.  It is so much more user friendly for surfing the internet/e-mails/Facebook than the Blackberry is.

But, being the cheapskate I am, I’ll wait until the excitement of the Verizon iPhone wears off a little.  I want to make sure that the infamous antenna issues are corrected on the new Verizon iPhone.  I also want to see if waiting until my contract is up will net me a better deal.

What bothers me the most is how much these companies charge for data plans, when data is super cheap.  Ugh.

Anyway…. here are a few things I’ve been reading that I thought you would find interesting:

A couple of weeks ago we had a five-hour long power outage during -25°F weather (that’s air temp, NOT windchill).   We survived, but for those of you who face power outages, I think Wise Bread‘s list of 20 Things to Have on Hand for Power Outages is very useful.

If you have a flexible spending account (FSA), you’ll want to read 2011 Flexible Spending Account Changes at Bible Money Matters.

Absolutely LOVE this post at Marketing MamaWhat It’s REALLY Like to be a MOM.  I can really relate to this one.

Feeling stuck at your job?  Do you think there’s no way to change your career path.  The Simple Dollar reminds us Who is Your Real Boss? Some Perspectives on Career Success.

I love 2011, in one word over at Surviving and Thriving.  It’s amazing how one simple word can open so many doors to us… even when we are at our lowest point.

Enjoy reading these posts.  I did.


{ 12 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Sharon January 16, 2011 at 1:32 pm

I have IPHONE envy too, however, I am unwilling to add to Verizon’s profit margin. It’s just not worth it. Verizon takes way too much of our hard earned cash every month already! :)!

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2 Donna Freedman January 16, 2011 at 2:16 pm

Thank you for the link, Christina.

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3 AnnMarie January 16, 2011 at 8:45 pm

So the word on the street (I just found out today) is that Verizon has a 30% discount for teachers and that AT&T has a 15% discount on cell phone bills for teachers. Do college professors count as teachers? Ever heard this before?

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4 Christina @ Northern Cheapskate January 16, 2011 at 9:45 pm

Haven’t heard that one, AnnMarie… There is a discount for state of Minnesota employees… but it wasn’t 30 percent. Think we saved about $8.

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5 missy January 17, 2011 at 1:01 am

Hey Christina, thanks for the link! Was a wonderful guest post. Makes me feel like my job is easier with only two kiddos! :)

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6 Kristin January 17, 2011 at 1:27 am

I worked for a cell phone company for a couple of years, one that is local to the southeastern states only, and although Verizon isn’t even in the same league I can honestly tell you that your decision to wait it out and let the kinks work out before you invest is very smart! Have you thought about adding Skype to your iPod Touch to make it more like the iPhone? It would definitely be cheaper; the downside to only having the iPT is of course you cannot always have internet. I’m not sure if you’ve ever researched it but Straight Talk and Net 10, and some of the other pre-paid carriers, offer unlimited data plans that are very reasonable and the phones are fairly easy to access the web with. We haven’t gone with a more expensive data plan yet but we do the prepaid option to avoid paying taxes, etc. and since we don’t rely on it as a main form of communication. If one could get an iPhone at a reasonable cost with a pre-paid plan I highly recommend going the pre-paid route! The fees and taxes that companies are forced to charge are largely based upon a percentage of your bill among other factors, and IMHO it is worth it to go pre-paid and forgo fancy equipment to avoid the fees and have the flexibility of not signing a contract. Having a cell phone unfortunately is a luxury we may not always be able to afford, and I’ve already had to pay fees once for breaking a contract. Don’t want to do it again.

I blab a lot, sorry about that! You always have wonderful, thought provoking posts and I enjoy talking with my husband about what I’ve read and discussing our thoughts on them the following day.

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7 Christina @ Northern Cheapskate January 17, 2011 at 12:26 pm

Thanks for all the great advice Kristin! I must admit, I haven’t researched the pre-paids as much as I should. I know that the smartphone is a luxury… but I’ve gotten so attached to the convenience…. Still I know how much money I could save by scaling back….

Thanks for your kind words!

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8 Scott January 18, 2011 at 10:16 pm

We have Google’s Nexus phone, using the our old sim card on the old voice only plan. We called to get a data block so it would not charge for data. We get the full features of the smart phone when there is wifi around but sacrifice some features at some times to be cheap. Most the time when there is not wifi, it is better to be engaged in other things, i.e. driving. While the Nexus was about $540, going this way we saved $60/month making it $1100 less than a “$200″ iphone. The Mrs. got a smart phone, I got to be a cheapskate. win-win.

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9 Wendy January 19, 2011 at 6:04 pm

Christina, a wise decision indeed to wait awhile for the exiting 4G, but if you want really cheap data you should try the Straight Talk unlimited plan for only $45/month for unlimited web,e-mails, talk, texting, free calls to 411. They offer the cheapest unlimited plan and they offer the most benefits than any other prepaid plan on the market, plus they don’t charge activation fee, no contract, no cancellation fee, no surprise monthly statements, no overages, and you have control over your entire cell phone cost per month. Just have one of these plans in your family and the whole family can use it when you’re not and save even more money on calls. Local calls are the same price as calls to the opposite side of the US. I’m using this plan am very happy with it and the coverage is great.

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10 Christina January 20, 2011 at 9:13 pm

@ Scott – Interesting idea! I’m wondering if I could do the same with my Blackberry… since it does have Wi-Fi capabilities, and I don’t use it very often in places that don’t already have a hot spot. Will have to check into that.

@Wendy – Hadn’t heard of Straight Talk before… sounds like it’s worth checking out, too.

Thanks for all the info, everyone!

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11 Mom of Two January 23, 2011 at 4:43 pm

I switched to Virgin Mobile and have a Samsun Intercept (bought it from Best Buy for a little cheaper than buying it from VM). I am happy with it, but what I am REALLY happy about is I pay $40 (plus tax) a month and have 1200 minutes and UNLIMITED data, email & txt. I could have gone with the $20 plan which is 300 minutes a month and UNLIMITED data, email & txt, but I check on my first month and I was about 350 minutes and I didn’t have much going on that I needed to call, so I would rather not worry about going over just have those minutes. Virgin Mobile runs off Sprint towers, so if you have Sprint towers near you, you will get service.

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12 Christina January 23, 2011 at 6:14 pm

Not sure how well Sprint works up here… mostly AT&T and Verizon in these parts… Sounds like you have a GREAT plan, though!

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