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Learning, Sharing, and Teaching => Ask a Mustachian => Topic started by: Janelle12 on March 03, 2015, 02:55:12 PM

Title: Please help me figure out how to handle this situation(underwater on cell phone)
Post by: Janelle12 on March 03, 2015, 02:55:12 PM
I outline my current cell phone expense drama here in my blog. PLEASE read it and then tell me what you would do in my situation (besides punch yourself in the face, which I have figuratively done countless times over the last week). I want to fix this BAD.

http://frompinchedtoprosperous.blogspot.com/2015/03/cell-phone-ridiculousness.html

My husband says he is happy with his iphone and not wanting to switch but I find it impossible to stomach the disgustingness of our current situation and would feel as bad about staying in this dysfunctional relationship (with Sprint) as I would staying in a relationship with a loan shark or something.
Title: Re: Please help me figure out how to handle this situation(underwater on cell phone)
Post by: dunhamjr on March 03, 2015, 03:12:50 PM
why not copy and paste your story here instead of forcing the page hits on your blog.
Title: Re: Please help me figure out how to handle this situation(underwater on cell phone)
Post by: Daley on March 03, 2015, 04:10:48 PM
why not copy and paste your story here instead of forcing the page hits on your blog.

Agreed, especially with it being a first post to the community. Also, as someone who did bother reading the post anyway... start by reading the guide (http://forum.mrmoneymustache.com/share-your-badassity/communications-tech-son-of-the-superguide!/) (unabridged here (http://www.techmeshugana.com/theguide/)), grow some cojones about the financial mistakes you've made with Sprint, do more math with your actual usage, and stop hinging any financial savings purely on the hype of Republic Wireless. There's other providers, better providers, cheaper providers. Providers that might let you bring your existing handsets or let you buy even cheaper ones.
Title: Re: Please help me figure out how to handle this situation(underwater on cell phone)
Post by: jmusic on March 03, 2015, 05:40:35 PM
The other thing you could do is switch both phones to Ting instead of Republic.  You can still do wifi calling (just not quite as seamless as Republic) and you could keep your current phones, reducing your cash outlay.  Ting would also give you a 25% credit on their service for your Early termination fees (make sure to contact them before cancelling though, I'm not sure on the process). 

What I actually did was to port my phone number to Google Voice when I was switching, and then I disabled Ting's messaging features. 

Regardless of which way you go, quit making excuses and just do it!
Title: Re: Please help me figure out how to handle this situation(underwater on cell phone)
Post by: Janelle12 on March 03, 2015, 05:42:25 PM
Cell Phone Ridiculousness
I can't remember ever not spending a fortune on my cell phone. I got my first cell around 1998 and I can't remember a bill less than a hundred dollars. And we didn't even have mobile data! I didn't start texting till after 2007, when I had a fancy slide out keyboard. I still miss that thing, I hate the smart phone text keyboards. I got my first smartphone in 2012. Now that I have experienced the smart phone convenience, can I ever go back to not having it? I personally think so since I am rarely anywhere that doesn't have WiFi. And I can always get a dedicated GPS for my car should I need it, but I don't think so since I can just print maps from my home PC.

Right now I have a balance of about $366 on my phone. I pay Sprint $23/month towards my phone. At $23/month paying for my actual phone, it would take me 15.91 months to pay it off (lets round to 16).  I looked up how much I could sell it for, and it's less than what I owe (I could probably sell it for $150). So I need to try to convince my husband about selling it at a loss and then going to buy another phone (a cheaper one) on Republic Wireless, who offers phone plans from $5-40/month (with smart phones ranging from $99-399) in order to save money in the long run. Let's break it down.

I would get the $99 phone (one time fee) and the $10/month plan (unlimited text talk and data over wifi; no 3G). If I sold my current phone for $150 (losing $216), and spent $99 on a new phone on Republic wireless, if I only pay $10/month, it would only take a few months to come out ahead, and then I'd be saving money every month.

 Right now, with Sprint, my phone is an add-on to the plan ($70 plus a $15 fee for each phone on the plan, mine and my husband's). Plus my iphone payments of $23/month. Remember from above, it would take me about 16 months to pay it off. So during that time in non-phone fees, I'll pay $15/month towards my service.  16 months of paying for only phone service (so not counting my $23 monthly payment for my current iphone) would cost $240. With the phone payment, I'll spend $606. But with Republic Wireless (counting the phone) over 16 months I'd pay only $259. That's a savings of $347.  Minus the iphone money difference loss by selling the phone at a loss (of $216), I'd still save $131 over the course of 16 months.

 Let's pretend the iphone's paid for. Phone service for a year for my phone only would cost 180/year. By switching to Republic, I'd pay only 120. Is paying $40 less per year for a phone worth it for me, considering I would lose my 3G data on the go? I'm not sure.

But, if I could get my husband to switch his phone at the end of his lease contract in a year and a half (he pays the per phone fee like I do, plus he pays $30/month to lease his phone, and the two kids' tablets are also $25/month combined, and don't forget the actual plan, in case you're wondering, which is 8 G of data for $70/month plus a $15 per phone fee), and just had the kids's tablets only work on WiFi, we could save a considerable amount of money, even if he went with the higher Republic plan with 3G (which is $25/month instead of $10). Yearly bill for two people would be only $420 (not counting actual phone cost, so add another $200-$400 depending on which phone he chooses...he probably wouldn't pick the $99 model) and we still would come out way on top.

I'll keep you updated as to whether/when any changes will be  made on this front! I have a husband's complexity to consider.

Update: 3/3/15 Things are way worse than I thought. After I found out that just dropping my service from our sprint bill would only save us at the most $38/month (after I finish paying $366 for my iphone and I'd have a useless phone I'd have to sell), I started to look into what would have to happen for us to drop Sprint entirely. I found out that my husband could get out of his lease but that he'd owe the balance of his iphone, which is $334. So that's $700 of a breakup fee which is pretty high. But wait, there's more. Sprint at one time offered us, out of the generosity of their black little hearts, a free tablet (samsung galaxy Tab 3.0) for each of our kids if we purchased the monthly service for a couple years (of 25/month for both tablets). Great, we said, Sign us UP! So the nice lady tells me we'd also have to finish paying (wait, I thought they were free?!) $343.71 for each tablet, bringing our Sprint Breakup Fees to a whopping $1,387.42. We'd still be able to keep and use the tablets on Wifi but that's a hefty price considering we could have gone and bought them ourselves for considerably less than what Sprint is charging us for them!! I MIGHT be able to earn back $400 by selling the iphones so even if we take that off the bottom, we still lose $987.42. How long would it take to earn that back by switching (we'd save $145/month by switching) to Republic Wireless? 6.81 months. Now, should we pull the plug or not?

Thanks for the replies. The above is my blog post. I wasn't trying to force page hits on my blog, I don't get a high on page views, but I see your point.

My husband basically thinks we should just wait our contracts out, and then our monthly charge would be 'only' $126. That still seems high to me  and I spoke to Sprint today and they are going to 'research to see if they can give us a better deal' and call me back Sunday. I will point this out to them and beg them to bring my basic plan costs down to something reasonable. Just the sprint surcharges and federal taxes come to $25, where Republic Wireless's would be less than five bucks.

Any help from y'all on what you'd do if you woke up in my shoes on this situation is greatly appreciated, thanks!
Title: Re: Please help me figure out how to handle this situation(underwater on cell phone)
Post by: alsoknownasDean on March 03, 2015, 05:55:48 PM
Yeah, why not switch carriers with your current phones, rather than selling them to buy some proprietary handset that will only work with one carrier, which may or may not work for you? Vendor lock in isn't very Mustachian :)

Give some of the other Sprint MVNOs a look (Ting maybe), and the tablets can go on WiFi.

Good luck!
Title: Re: Please help me figure out how to handle this situation(underwater on cell phone)
Post by: Dee18 on March 03, 2015, 06:08:01 PM
Absolutely drop the kids' data plan.  Tonight.  One of the best parenting decisions I made was to tell my daughter that she could have a phone when she could pay for the phone and the monthly service herself. 
Title: Re: Please help me figure out how to handle this situation(underwater on cell phone)
Post by: jmusic on March 03, 2015, 06:17:16 PM
Just read one of your other posts... 

1.  Take that tax refund, get out of your ridiculous cell phone plan, and get with Ting (25% credit) or Republic as I mentioned earlier. 
2.  Sell the motorhome ASAP! I know you have a family deal on it, but even at the "discount" you probably paid too much.  RVs depreciate faster than BMWs! 
3.  Next time an appliance goes out, check Craigslist and pay cash! $800 for an oven is spendypants!  Anyway, be sure to knock out the Home Depot card while still in 0% territory...
4.  Your car insurance also sounds high, have you shopped around lately?
Title: Re: Please help me figure out how to handle this situation(underwater on cell phone)
Post by: Janelle12 on March 03, 2015, 07:42:41 PM
the reason we have the kids data for 25/ month is so we dont have to pay for the early termination fee of 696. ($20/month per tablet at 16 months). by keeping the data plan for them we will pay 375 over that time period. god i wish i could go back in time.

after the phones are paid and tablets off the plan, our sprint bill will be 126, which is the same as what Ting quoted us. it looks like im just stuck with my bad decisions for now but ah, learning experiences dont often come cheap.

other recommendations duly noted.
Title: Re: Please help me figure out how to handle this situation(underwater on cell phone)
Post by: alsoknownasDean on March 03, 2015, 08:50:16 PM
$126 on Ting? How much are you using? Is a data diet possible?
Title: Re: Please help me figure out how to handle this situation(underwater on cell phone)
Post by: jmusic on March 03, 2015, 09:44:19 PM
$126 on Ting? How much are you using? Is a data diet possible?

+1.

Cutting down from 4GB of mobile data is no different than cutting cable TV...  I guarantee that 80% of that is wasteful/careless usage.  Do you even use wifi at home?

Another good thing about Ting is that you can set alerts/limits based on usage, even by device. 
Title: Re: Please help me figure out how to handle this situation(underwater on cell phone)
Post by: Daley on March 03, 2015, 09:48:02 PM
$126 on Ting? How much are you using? Is a data diet possible?

It's starting to look like Janelle needs more than just a data diet. (Though again, READ THE GUIDE (http://forum.mrmoneymustache.com/share-your-badassity/communications-tech-son-of-the-superguide!/) and learn how to do this stuff yourself!) It looks like they're probably in a debt emergency and suffering financial paralysis and they need to post a full-on case study (http://forum.mrmoneymustache.com/ask-a-mustachian/how-to-write-a-%27case-study%27-topic/).

A shift in mindset is needed to understand that saving real money isn't about trying to get the same amount of crap for cheaper, but that the consumer sucker mindset is the real moneypit and using only what you need is the true path to financial savings. It also means making tough choices and taking responsibility for the poor financial decisions made, which includes eating the loss on paying off the effing tablets and selling them at a loss right now. The fool-hearty bizarro logic defending how it's cheaper to keep this sort of crap instead of paying the ETF and terminating service has to stop. It only makes sense if you stay with Sprint's financially-crushing extortion and keep up the clown-data habit. The Ting (or any other compatible MVNO for their current handsets) isn't cheaper than Sprint excuse is rubbish, too... especially given the new Sprint GSM unlocking policies (http://www.sprint.com/legal/unlocking_policy.html) and the cheaper than Ting GSM MVNOs available that could easily be used with those iPhones.
Title: Re: Please help me figure out how to handle this situation(underwater on cell phone)
Post by: Janelle12 on March 04, 2015, 05:54:30 AM
im ready to cut the cord. its my husband who wants to keep things as they are :(
im going to read the guide and see if i can figure out any more convincing arguments/options. thanks and ill keep you updated. ill post a case study too.
Title: Re: Please help me figure out how to handle this situation(underwater on cell phone)
Post by: Janelle12 on March 04, 2015, 07:16:53 AM
I should also say that I might have gotten the megabytes used wrong. I couldn't get it from my sprint online account because it would not show me, it kept either showing me for the wrong device not matter which device I clicked, or it would give me some weird error. So I tried a chatbox online with a CSR and she kept giving me different formats for the data (mb, kb, gb) and confusing me. I can copy and paste the entire conversation here if anyone wants to read it, let me know.

But I will say that for our home internet, we have never gone below 78 gigs of data used per month so in all actuality, the Ting quote is probably right. My husband doesn't have wifi at work that works (long story) and he streams music all day and watches movies on his lunchbreak. A data diet is definitely in order but I cannot impose this on my husband, he is very stubborn and feels like he is entitled to spend his money how he wants. He feels that patience, waiting, and baby steps is the way to get financially solvent and is fine with a snails pace. So that's what I'm working with.

Title: Re: Please help me figure out how to handle this situation(underwater on cell phone)
Post by: jmusic on March 04, 2015, 10:10:07 AM
But I will say that for our home internet, we have never gone below 78 gigs of data used per month so in all actuality, the Ting quote is probably right. My husband doesn't have wifi at work that works (long story) and he streams music all day and watches movies on his lunchbreak.

On the surface, it's an easy problem to fix. 
1.  Home internet use is irrelevent.  We're talking about mobile data.  I probably use the same at home for my household of 1, and I typically use about 600mb/month on Ting.
2.  Regarding the music/movies, minor changes is all it takes.  Either switch his phone to one with more storage, or get a wifi enabled hard drive.  Then put the media on the "local storage" and then no mobile data is required.  Mobile internet is the most expensive source of internet on planet earth!!

BUT...
Quote
...my husband, he is very stubborn and feels like he is entitled to spend his money how he wants. He feels that patience, waiting, and baby steps is the way to get financially solvent and is fine with a snails pace. So that's what I'm working with.

This is the bigger issue!!! I was seriously about to give up on this thread thinking you were just too much of a complainy-pants, but now I understand a lot more.   

Since you're married, finances really need to be a team effort.  Even in the eyes of the law, it's not "his" money or "your" money, it's "our" money.  In your situation, instead of beating him over the head with frugality (which WON'T WORK), just try leaving subtle clues for him.  Dave Ramsey is an excellent resource for motivation, so maybe start listening to the Ramsey radio show just before he comes home.  Leave this page (http://www.mrmoneymustache.com/2014/11/11/are-you-giving-the-shaft-to-your-future-self/) or this page (http://www.mrmoneymustache.com/2012/04/18/news-flash-your-debt-is-an-emergency/) open on a computer for him to find.  Etc...

Title: Re: Please help me figure out how to handle this situation(underwater on cell phone)
Post by: I'm a red panda on March 04, 2015, 10:15:39 AM
Quote
My husband doesn't have wifi at work that works (long story) and he streams music all day and watches movies on his lunchbreak.

Easy solution: stop doing this. 
It's not different than going out to lunch. It is a habit that needs to change.

Upload music to the phone to listen to instead of streaming. Data cost- $0.
Download a free kindle app and read books (you can get tons free) instead of watching movies at lunch. Download the books using home wifi.  Data cost- $0.
Title: Re: Please help me figure out how to handle this situation(underwater on cell phone)
Post by: GuitarStv on March 04, 2015, 10:21:31 AM
Why do you need a cell phone at all?
Title: Re: Please help me figure out how to handle this situation(underwater on cell phone)
Post by: Travis on March 04, 2015, 11:00:11 AM
Quote
A data diet is definitely in order but I cannot impose this on my husband, he is very stubborn and feels like he is entitled to spend his money how he wants.

Speaking as the breadwinner of my family - bullshit.  It became your (collective) money the moment you got married, and your financial difficulties are a family problem to solve.  Whether it's gentle reminders or dropping anvils on his head, somehow he needs to understand that he is a big part of the reason you're having problems.  This can't be just a pet project of yours if you expect to get anywhere.

I don't know what you've done so far to discuss this with him, but simply showing him how his smartphone movie habit translates into your monthly bill would be a good start.  Do you have any debts you're working on?  Comparing your data plan price to those monthly payments might help.  Quite often on here we'll have someone show us that their car payment, phone plan, and smoking habit cost about the same and wonder why they can't pay anything off faster.
Title: Re: Please help me figure out how to handle this situation(underwater on cell phone)
Post by: MsPeacock on March 04, 2015, 11:01:55 AM
Quote
My husband doesn't have wifi at work that works (long story) and he streams music all day and watches movies on his lunchbreak.

Easy solution: stop doing this. 
It's not different than going out to lunch. It is a habit that needs to change.

Upload music to the phone to listen to instead of streaming. Data cost- $0.
Download a free kindle app and read books (you can get tons free) instead of watching movies at lunch. Download the books using home wifi.  Data cost- $0.

+1

And I do not see how he thinks that his path of excessive spending is somehow going to magically lead to a better financial situation.

Might be helpful to read something on the sunk cost fallacy.

Title: Re: Please help me figure out how to handle this situation(underwater on cell phone)
Post by: Full Beard on March 04, 2015, 12:13:50 PM
My contract with Verizon was due to expire in May of this year and I kept seeing the ads for Sprint's "Cut your bill in half" promotion.  I was paying about $65 a month with Verizon for unlimited talk, text, and 2 gigs of data.  I decided to visit a Sprint store and see about this promotion.  They were able to cut my plan in half but they made me give up my Iphone 5 and lease an Iphone 6.

Also with leasing the Iphone 6 they made me get insurance on it.  With the new Sprint plan and Iphone 6 lease my new bill came out to about $68 a month.  At first I thought it wasn't too bad because I got a new Iphone, but then after thinking about it for 5 days I realized it wasn't such a good deal after all.  I decided to go back to Verizon and I told them what I did and they were able to take me back.  They offered me an early upgrade to the Iphone 6 for $199 and they gave me a $100 bill credit and I got my old plan back.  Because it was within 14 days I was able to return the Sprint phone and get my Iphone 5 back.

I wanted to make the switch to Republic Wireless but I just started using my Iphone for UBER and I'm making a lot more than the savings I would get for just switching carriers.
Title: Re: Please help me figure out how to handle this situation(underwater on cell phone)
Post by: The Beacon on March 04, 2015, 06:40:00 PM
I wanted to make the switch to Republic Wireless but I just started using my Iphone for UBER and I'm making a lot more than the savings I would get for just switching carriers.

Wife switched to RW a month ago from Tracphone.  We use Uber once in a while.  She could not be happier.  She is on the 10 dollar plan 90% of the time though.  Very good coverage in my area.  Sound quality is even better than our Ooma Telo, which is also good.  BTW Our Ooma Telo has been running strong since 2011.
Title: Re: Please help me figure out how to handle this situation(underwater on cell phone)
Post by: FarmerPete on March 05, 2015, 10:13:47 AM
So let me get this straight...you guys are in the middle of a debt emergency, and your husband wants to take baby steps?  Really?  He sounds like a great candidate for Dave Ramsey (as mentioned earlier).  You need a more approachable/relatable financial guru than MMM to ease him in to paying off your debts and saving money.