cell phone http://www.wisebread.com/taxonomy/term/166/all en-US How to Minimize Cell Phone Charges When You Travel Abroad http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-minimize-cell-phone-charges-when-you-travel-abroad <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/how-to-minimize-cell-phone-charges-when-you-travel-abroad" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://www.wisebread.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/international-phone-call-200252062-001-small.jpg" alt="international phone call" title="international phone call" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="143" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>You can use your cell phone as usual when you travel abroad, but cellular providers charge outrageous fees for this service &mdash; and you can expect to find a huge phone bill in the mail when you get home. Instead, here aere are some economical ways for you to stay connected with your loved ones at home while traveling abroad.</p> <p><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/top-5-travel-reward-credit-cards?ref=ci">(Click here to see Wise Bread's picks for our favorite travel rewards credit cards with generous sign-up bonuses and rewards.)</a></p> <h2>Know Your Roaming Fees</h2> <p>The simplest way to minimize your phone charges is to keep track of them. For a short trip, this is a great solution that doesn't require much time or effort.</p> <p>Every cell phone provider has a different set of roaming fees, so contact yours before the trip. They usually have different rates for calls, texts, and data. Additionally, the rates may vary from country to country. There may also be special roaming phone plans you can get to lower your international phone rates.</p> <p>Take note of all the rates that apply to every country in your itinerary, then keep track of your phone usage. You may have to use your phone less frequently to stay within your budget, but on the bright side, you can use the extra time to explore instead. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/fantastic-phone-services-for-people-on-the-go?ref=seealso">Fantastic Phone Services for People on the Go</a>)</p> <h2>Turn Off Data Roaming</h2> <p>This is a quick and easy trick, but it can save you a lot of money during the trip. Your phone may be consuming data even when you're not actively using it, especially if you use push notifications.</p> <p>To completely stop data use while you're abroad, go to your phone settings and turn off data roaming. With data roaming off, you'll still be able to make phone calls and text. The phone will also retain the ability to connect to the Internet via Wi-Fi, which may be free at airports and hotels. When connected to a Wi-Fi network, you'll also be able to use a VoIP service like Skype to make calls over the Internet.</p> <p>Alternatively, you can choose to turn off push notifications only. This way, you'll be able to use data roaming services without having to pay for superfluous automated data use. You can then choose to use data-heavy apps only when you're connected to a Wi-Fi network.</p> <h2>Turn on Airplane Mode</h2> <p>While abroad, you'll have to pay roaming fees when you receive phone calls and text messages, regardless of who's contacting you. Even if the phone call is from your gas company, you'll have to pay for every minute the representative blabs about the new green energy program.</p> <p>To completely eliminate the risk of mounting roaming charges, turn on airplane mode. This shuts off data service, phone calls, and text messages. You can still turn on Wi-Fi and connect to the Internet, so your family and friends can contact you through chat apps, social media, and email.</p> <h2>Use a Local SIM Card</h2> <p>If you travel a lot, consider getting an unlocked phone. By placing a local SIM card in an unlocked phone, you'll be able to enjoy local rates. This is useful when you need to get online or call local contacts like hotels or airlines. You'll have to pay international call rates to ring home, though, so it's best to stick with VoIP services like Skype for that.</p> <h2>Use an International SIM Card</h2> <p>If there are multiple destinations in your itinerary, you can get an international SIM card like <a href="http://www.onesimcard.com/">OneSimCard</a> or <a href="http://www.telestial.com/">Telestial</a> instead of a country-specific SIM card. These global SIM cards are generally cheaper than if you were to use roaming services on your U.S. phone plan, but more expensive than if you were to buy a local SIM card every time you entered a different country.</p> <h2>Rent a Phone</h2> <p>If it seems like too much of a hassle to get your phone unlocked, you can rent a phone instead. Global cell phone providers often offer this service. You'll pay a daily or weekly rental fee, the company will deliver the rental phone to you, and you'll be able to return it by mail at the end of your trip.</p> <p>A global phone rental usually also comes with a global SIM card and a short-term phone plan, making it an easy option for short trips. However, the call, text, and data rates with a rental global phone are higher than they would be if you used a local SIM card in your own unlocked phone.</p> <p>If you'll be traveling to isolated areas with little cell phone coverage, you can rent a satellite phone instead of a regular phone. The rates will be higher, but you'll be able to use the phone in most open spaces.</p> <p>In both cases, you'll get a phone number that your loved ones at home can use to contact you, wherever you are in the world. If you set your American home and cell phones to forward calls to your global phone number, you won't miss a call at all.</p> <p><em>How do you use your cell phone or smartphone while traveling abroad &mdash; without incurring excessive fees? Please share in comments!</em></p> <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-minimize-cell-phone-charges-when-you-travel-abroad" class="sharethis-link" title="How to Minimize Cell Phone Charges When You Travel Abroad" rel="nofollow">ShareThis</a><br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">Written by <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/deia-b">Deia B</a> and published on <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/">Wise Bread</a>. Read more <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/taxonomy/term/"> articles from Wise Bread</a>.</div></div> Technology Travel cell phone international calls roaming smartphone Thu, 10 Jul 2014 17:00:04 +0000 Deia B 1156615 at http://www.wisebread.com Best Money Tips: Slash Your Expensive Cell Phone Bill http://www.wisebread.com/best-money-tips-slash-your-expensive-cell-phone-bill <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/best-money-tips-slash-your-expensive-cell-phone-bill" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://www.wisebread.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/phone-5198235-small.jpg" alt="cell phone" title="cell phone" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="179" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Welcome to Wise Bread's <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/topic/best-money-tips">Best Money Tips</a> Roundup! Today we found some great articles on slashing your cell phone bill, saving on high end cosmetics, and a checklist for quitting your job.</p> <h2>Top 5 Articles</h2> <p><a href="http://www.savvysugar.com/How-Reduce-My-Cell-Phone-Bill-24228468">8 Ways to Slash Your Expensive Cell Phone Bill</a> &mdash; To slash your cell phone bill, use texting apps and be aware of roaming. [PopSugar Smart Living]</p> <p><a href="http://bargainbabe.com/how-to-save-money-on-high-end-cosmetics/">How to Save Money On High End Cosmetics</a> &mdash; Organizing a beauty swap or purchasing a makeup subscription can help save you money on cosmetics. [Bargain Babe]</p> <p><a href="http://moneysmartlife.com/quit-your-job-checklist/">A Checklist for Quitting Your Job</a> &mdash; When quitting your job, create a plan and refresh your network. [Money Smart Life]</p> <p><a href="http://www.stretcher.com/stories/13/13jun17g.cfm?slider#.UcCigYWf-UM">7 Dealership Fees to Avoid</a> &mdash; When at the dealership, try to avoid processing and advertising fees. [TheDollarStretcher.com]</p> <p><a href="http://www.freemoneyfinance.com/2013/06/top-ten-assets-owned-by-millionaires.html">Top Ten Assets Owned by Millionaires</a> &mdash; Did you know that most millionaires own investment real estate? [Free Money Finance]</p> <h2>Other Essential Reading</h2> <p><a href="http://andthenwesaved.com/art-wall-diy/#more-4890">Spruce Up Your Home With A $15 Art Wall - DIY</a> &mdash; Making your own art wall is as simple as getting some frames, craft paint, and art! [And Then We Saved]</p> <p><a href="http://www.20sfinances.com/2013/06/17/traits-of-a-successful-investor/">Traits of a Successful Investor</a> &mdash; Successful investors tend to think long term and don't watch stock prices. [20's Finances]</p> <p><a href="http://yesiamcheap.com/2013/06/tips-for-gambling-responsibly/">Tips for Gambling Responsibly</a> &mdash; When gambling, remember to never gamble more than you can afford. [Yes, I Am Cheap]</p> <p><a href="http://parentingsquad.com/making-your-money-work-for-you-8-financial-tips-for-new-families">Making Your Money Work For You: 8 Financial Tips For New Families</a> &mdash; It is important for new families to save for retirement and teach the children about money. [Parenting Squad]</p> <p><a href="http://christianpf.com/benefits-patient-advocate/">The Benefits of Having a Patient Advocate</a> &mdash; Since the healthcare system tends to be too complex for most people to understand, having a patient advocate can be highly beneficial. [Christian Personal Finance]</p> <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/best-money-tips-slash-your-expensive-cell-phone-bill" class="sharethis-link" title="Best Money Tips: Slash Your Expensive Cell Phone Bill" rel="nofollow">ShareThis</a><br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">Written by <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/ashley-jacobs">Ashley Jacobs</a> and published on <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/">Wise Bread</a>. Read more <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/taxonomy/term/"> articles from Wise Bread</a>.</div></div> Frugal Living best money tips Bill cell phone Wed, 19 Jun 2013 10:00:33 +0000 Ashley Jacobs 979135 at http://www.wisebread.com Best Money Tips: Find the Best Prepaid Plan http://www.wisebread.com/best-money-tips-find-the-best-prepaid-plan <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/best-money-tips-find-the-best-prepaid-plan" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://www.wisebread.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/phone-5084027-small.jpg" alt="phone" title="phone" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="167" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Welcome to Wise Bread's <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/topic/best-money-tips">Best Money Tips</a> Roundup! Today we found some fantastic articles on finding the best prepaid plan, common missed fees you need to avoid, and dealing with difficult work personalities.</p> <h2>Top 5 Articles</h2> <p><a href="http://lifehacker.com/how-to-find-the-best-prepaid-plan-and-ditch-your-contra-485042945">How To Find the Best Prepaid Plan and Ditch Your Current Contract for Good</a> &mdash; You might want to go contract-free if you have an unlocked phone. [Lifehacker]</p> <p><a href="http://www.threethriftyguys.com/2013/04/7-common-missed-fees-that-you-need-to-avoid/">7 Common Missed Fees That You Need to Avoid</a> &mdash; Avoid the fees associated with having a DVR by looking into buying your own DVR option separate from your cable company. [Three Thrifty Guys]</p> <p><a href="http://www.savvysugar.com/How-Deal-Difficult-Co-Workers-30103939">How to Deal With These 6 Difficult Work Personalities</a> &mdash; To deal with a micromanager at work, keep him or her in the loop on what you are doing. [PopSugar Smart Living]</p> <p><a href="http://timemanagementninja.com/2013/05/10-counterintuitive-things-to-add-to-your-day-to-get-more-done/">10 Counterintuitive Things to Add to Your Day to Get More Done</a> &mdash; Spending time on your hobby or helping others can help you get more done. [Time Management Ninja]</p> <p><a href="http://www.girlsjustwannahavefunds.com/prevent-identity-theft/">Identity Theft: Ain't Nobody Got Time For That</a> &mdash; Protect yourself from identity theft by guarding your credit history. [Girls Just Wanna Have Funds]</p> <h2>Other Essential Reading</h2> <p><a href="http://www.consumerismcommentary.com/can-tipping-really-change-a-waiters-behavior/">Can Tipping Change a Waiter's Behavior?</a> &mdash; Unless you plan on making a statement with a big tip, it may be best to speak to your waiter directly if you have feedback. [Consumerism Commentary]</p> <p><a href="http://www.narrowbridge.net/how-to-have-an-unforgettable-summer-vacation-and-not-bust-your-budget/">How to Have an Unforgettable Summer Vacation and not Bust Your Budget</a> &mdash;To have an unforgettable summer vacation, watch your budget but only to a point. [Narrow Bridge Finance]</p> <p><a href="http://notmadeofmoney.com/blog/2013/04/budget-friendly-graduation-gift-ideas-2.html">Budget Friendly Graduation Gift Ideas</a> &mdash; Consider giving the recent graduate in your life a household toolbox. [Not Made Of Money]</p> <p><a href="http://www.marcandangel.com/2013/04/28/8-ways-youre-driving-yourself-crazy/">8 Ways You're Driving Yourself Crazy</a> &mdash; If you are competing with everyone else and focusing on what you don't like, you could be driving yourself crazy. [Marc and Angel Hack Life]</p> <p><a href="http://parentingsquad.com/the-savvy-parent-s-strategy-for-dealing-with-temper-tantrums">The Savvy Parent's Strategy for Dealing With Temper Tantrums</a> &mdash; When dealing with temper tantrums, remove the irritants and remember to breathe. [Parenting Squad]</p> <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/best-money-tips-find-the-best-prepaid-plan" class="sharethis-link" title="Best Money Tips: Find the Best Prepaid Plan" rel="nofollow">ShareThis</a><br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">Written by <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/ashley-jacobs">Ashley Jacobs</a> and published on <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/">Wise Bread</a>. Read more <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/taxonomy/term/"> articles from Wise Bread</a>.</div></div> Frugal Living best money tips cell phone phone prepaid Thu, 02 May 2013 10:00:33 +0000 Ashley Jacobs 973836 at http://www.wisebread.com Why I Like My Flip Phone: The 5 Smartphone Effects http://www.wisebread.com/why-i-like-my-flip-phone-the-5-smartphone-effects <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/why-i-like-my-flip-phone-the-5-smartphone-effects" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://www.wisebread.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/5457243000_deb2f5eba4_z.jpg" alt="cell phones" title="cell phones" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="211" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>In spite of my proclivity toward simple-living, over the past couple of years I&rsquo;ve been feeling more and more technologically shunned without a smartphone. Since I make my living writing for the Web and 90% of my workday takes place in front of a computer screen, I gradually began to justify a mobile phone upgrade. I told myself that it would help my career &mdash; make me more available to clients, allow me to respond more quickly to assignment requests, do editing on-the-fly, etc. (See also:&nbsp;<a href="http://www.wisebread.com/living-without-a-landline">Living Without a Landline</a>)</p> <p>Fast forward to last week. I finally took the plunge and retired my lovely, simple little contract-free flip phone. By signing a two-year contract, I got a discounted (but not by much) mega-fancy-bells-and-whistles smartphone with a conservative 2G data plan. My cell phone bill doubled, jumping from a contract-free $50.00 per month to a two-year contract at $110.00 per month.</p> <p>My humble, quietly dependable flip phone went in my sock drawer. The sleek and sexy new phone took its rightful place at my side. I finally had, albeit late, a ticket to the Smartphone Party.</p> <p>And that&rsquo;s when the trouble began. My misadventure with my new smartphone wasn&rsquo;t dramatic or comedic or the result of being technologically challenged. Rather, it was a slow disillusionment born from a dozen annoyances. Because of what I&rsquo;ve come to call &ldquo;Five Smartphone Effects,&rdquo; I began to long for humble little Flipper, sleeping in my sock drawer.</p> <h2>1. The Live Wire Effect</h2> <p>A touch screen seems like a great idea, but in practice I found it unnerving. Maybe I would have improved with practice, but I was constantly hitting the wrong key, inadvertently launching an app, or calling someone I had no desire to talk to. Touch screens make 45% of the phone a &ldquo;live wire,&rdquo; sensitive to even the most ginger graze of a fingertip. To avoid a misfire, you have to pay attention.</p> <h2>2. The Shirt-Tail Effect</h2> <p>The beauty of a smartphone is, of course, its connectedness. Audible alerts tugged on my metaphorical shirt-tail all day long. Texts, emails, Facebook updates &mdash; each clamored for attention. Different rings told me who was calling before I looked. Wonderful and terrible. If I forgot to silence these default tones before bed, my sleep became restless and my dreams infused with a cacophony of digital bird calls.</p> <h2>3. The Zombie Screen-Gazer Effect</h2> <p>I&rsquo;ve always been amused by that special subset of smartphone user, the zombie gazer. Before my foray into their world, the leagues of people walking into lamp posts, tripping on sidewalks, and driving on curbs was a constant source of fascination and annoyance. Honestly, I was probably just a few months away from plastering a &ldquo;Shut up and drive!&rdquo; bumper sticker on my car. And although I didn&rsquo;t become an avid screen-gazer, the temptation was there. Checking email, texts, and Facebook or Googling any random question I had at the most inopportune time became not only possible, it became <i>necessary</i>. I wondered and worried about my ability to ever go back to delayed gratification &mdash; to wait until I had parked the car before Facebooking about my commute. To choke down my first bite of sushi before texting my friends about how much I hated it. My standards were slowly being reset, my sense of timing was being condensed.</p> <h2>4. The Simplicity Through Complexity Effect</h2> <p>As much as I wanted to believe it and as much as I had nearly convinced myself of it, I don&rsquo;t think smartphones simplify much in our lives. Simplicity at its best is gained by a removal of something &mdash; hassles, challenges, red tape, objects we no longer use, expenses we don&rsquo;t need. While smartphones arguably offer <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-ways-convenience-is-screwing-your-finances">convenience</a>, <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/frugality-simplicity-and-sustainability">simplicity</a> is an entirely different animal. Simplicity finds the golden mean between the competing ideas of convenience and distraction, between productivity and inefficiency.</p> <h2>5. The Tribal Effect</h2> <p>Let&rsquo;s admit it; smartphones are a marker of status. They imply certain things about our financial condition, our position, our professions, or our popularity. Whether any of those assumptions hold true behind Oz&rsquo;s curtain is inconsequential. Smartphones, like all branded status products, convey an almost tribal affiliation. They&rsquo;re the slightly more expensive Jordan high-tops for adults. And, while I&rsquo;m not above a bit of vanity, I&rsquo;d look ridiculous in high-tops (my legs are too short). Besides, there are still a few hardcore members of my tribe pulling out flip phones with a steely sense of self.</p> <p>So, with a &quot;meh,&quot; my smartphone misadventure came to an end today. I was still within my 14-day trial period, and I bid farewell to sleek and sexy and retrieved my ugly duckling from the sock drawer. Numbers have been ported, car chargers exchanged, proper authorities notified, and tribal affiliations realigned. Call me crazy (you wouldn&rsquo;t be the first), but I love my little phone that simply makes great calls and takes really bad photos. I may even buy a back-up to have on-hand when Flipper makes his inevitable final call. I have a feeling he&rsquo;ll soon be hard to replace.</p> <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/why-i-like-my-flip-phone-the-5-smartphone-effects" class="sharethis-link" title="Why I Like My Flip Phone: The 5 Smartphone Effects" rel="nofollow">ShareThis</a><br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">Written by <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/kentin-waits">Kentin Waits</a> and published on <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/">Wise Bread</a>. Read more <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/taxonomy/term/"> articles from Wise Bread</a>.</div></div> Lifestyle cell phone cheap phones smartphone Wed, 03 Oct 2012 09:48:43 +0000 Kentin Waits 954859 at http://www.wisebread.com Best Money Tips: Slash Your Cell Phone Bill http://www.wisebread.com/best-money-tips-slash-your-cell-phone-bill <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/best-money-tips-slash-your-cell-phone-bill" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://www.wisebread.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/3286023692_e2440cd688_z-1_0.jpg" alt="Slash Your Cell Phone Bill" title="Slash Your Cell Phone Bill" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Welcome to Wise Bread's <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/topic/best-money-tips">Best Money Tips</a> Roundup! Today we found some fantastic articles on slashing your cell phone bill, keys to a frugal retirement, and health insurance for the unemployed.</p> <h2>Top 5 Articles</h2> <p><a href="http://www.savvysugar.com/How-Reduce-My-Cell-Phone-Bill-24228468">8 Ways To Slash Your Expensive Cell Phone Bill</a> &mdash; Want to slash your cell phone bill? Get a prepaid phone! [SavvySugar]</p> <p><a href="http://freefrombroke.com/5-keys-to-a-frugal-retirement/?utm_source=rss&amp;utm_medium=rss&amp;utm_campaign=5-keys-to-a-frugal-retirement">5 Keys to a Frugal Retirement</a> &mdash; To have a frugal retirement, consider which expenses you can cut. [Free From Broke]</p> <p><a href="http://cashmoneylife.com/health-insurance-for-unemployed/">Health Insurance for the Unemployed</a> &mdash; Are you unemployed? Look into getting COBRA coverage so you don't lose your health insurance coverage. [Cash Money Life]</p> <p><a href="http://www.carefulcents.com/enjoy-a-fantastic-summer/">Enjoy a Fantastic Summer With Some Easy Ways to Save</a> &mdash; Save money this summer by reassessing your mortgage. [Careful Cents]</p> <p><a href="http://beingfrugal.net/what-to-do-after-college-if-you-cant-find-a-job/">What to do After College if You Can't Find a Job</a> &mdash; If you can't find a job after college, try going overseas or working for yourself. [Being Frugal]</p> <h2>Other Essential Reading</h2> <p><a href="http://christianpf.com/real-companies-that-will-pay-you-to-work-from-home/">20 Real Companies that Will Pay You to Work from Home</a> &mdash; Sites like WeGoLook.com and Arise pay you to work from home! [Christian Personal Finance]</p> <p><a href="http://www.thecentsiblelife.com/2012/07/budget-friendly-wines-and-cocktails/?utm_source=feedburner&amp;utm_medium=feed&amp;utm_campaign=Feed%3A+TheCentsibleLife+%28the+centsible+life%29">Budget-friendly Wines and Cocktails</a> &mdash; SkinnyGirl cocktails and wines are fairly budget-friendly and aren't high in calories![The Centsible Life]</p> <p><a href="http://parentingsquad.com/the-busy-dads-workout">9 Workout Tips for the Busy Dad</a> &mdash; If you are a busy dad, make time for working out by taking your kids to the pool. [Parenting Squad]</p> <p><a href="http://www.doughroller.net/real-estate-investing/5-tips-to-invest-wisely-in-a-second-home/">5 Tips to Invest Wisely in a Second Home</a> &mdash; When investing in a second home, consult with a savvy appraiser. [The Dough Roller]</p> <p><a href="http://blog.themillionairenurse.com/2012/08/01/nine-steps-to-home-office-security/">9 Steps To Home Office Security</a> &mdash; To keep your home office secure, use spam filters and firewalls. [The Millionaire Nurse Blog]</p> <h2>News &amp; Events</h2> <p><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/top-100-most-popular-personal-finance-blogs/news/2012/08/the-plutus-awards-voting">The Plutus Awards Voting</a> &mdash; Be sure to vote in the 3rd annual Plutus Awards! Voting closes on August 14th.</p> <p><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/top-100-most-popular-personal-finance-blogs/news/2012/07/wise-bread-tweetchat-wbchat-1">Wise Bread Tweetchat (#WBChat)</a> &mdash; Don't miss our weekly #WBChat at 12pm PST! We will be giving away prizes!</p> <p>Be sure to check out our <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/top-100-most-popular-personal-finance-blogs/news">News &amp; Events Calendar</a> to see all the awesome upcoming events in the personal finance world!</p> <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/best-money-tips-slash-your-cell-phone-bill" class="sharethis-link" title="Best Money Tips: Slash Your Cell Phone Bill" rel="nofollow">ShareThis</a><br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">Written by <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/ashley-jacobs">Ashley Jacobs</a> and published on <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/">Wise Bread</a>. Read more <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/taxonomy/term/"> articles from Wise Bread</a>.</div></div> Frugal Living best money tips cell phone Thu, 02 Aug 2012 10:00:42 +0000 Ashley Jacobs 947139 at http://www.wisebread.com Ask the Readers: Could You Survive Without a Cell Phone? http://www.wisebread.com/ask-the-readers-could-you-survive-without-a-cell-phone <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/ask-the-readers-could-you-survive-without-a-cell-phone" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://www.wisebread.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/4662188057_2cc4c10978_z-1.jpg" alt="Could You Survive Without a Cell Phone?" title="Could You Survive Without a Cell Phone?" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p><em>Editor's Note: Congratulations to </em><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/ask-the-readers-could-you-survive-without-a-cell-phone#comment-508647"><em>Michael</em></a><em>, </em><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/ask-the-readers-could-you-survive-without-a-cell-phone#comment-508518"><em>Guest</em></a><em>, and </em><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/ask-the-readers-could-you-survive-without-a-cell-phone#comment-508797"><em>Ernest S.</em></a><em> for winning this week's contest!</em></p> <p>For those of us with cell phones, it is almost impossible to imagine what our lives were like before cell phones. Between the ability to make phone calls, text message friends, and check emails, most of us would have a very tough time functioning without our phone. However, there are people who manage to get by without having a cell phone.</p> <p><strong>Could you survive without a cell phone? &nbsp;</strong>Would you be able to use email, Skype, or instant messenger services for all your communication needs? Why or why not?&nbsp;</p> <p>Tell us if you could live without a cell phone and we'll enter you in a drawing to win a $20 Amazon Gift Card!</p> <h2>Win 1 of 3 $20 Amazon Gift Cards</h2> <p>We're doing three giveaways &mdash; one for random comments, one for random Facebook &quot;Likes&quot;, and another one for random tweets.</p> <h3>Mandatory Entry:&nbsp;</h3> <ul> <li>Post your answer in the comments below&nbsp;</li> </ul> <h3>For extra entries (1 per action):</h3> <ul> <li>Go to our <a href="http://www.facebook.com/pages/Wise-Bread/26830741467?ref=ts">Facebook page</a>, &quot;Like&quot; us, and leave a comment telling us you did, or</li> <li><a href="http://www.twitter.com/">Tweet</a> your answer. You have to be a follower of our <a href="http://twitter.com/wisebread">@wisebread account</a>. Include both &quot;@wisebread&quot; and &quot;#WBAsk&quot; in your tweet so we'll see it and count it. Leave a link to your tweet (click the timestamp for the individual URL) in a separate comment.</li> </ul> <p><strong>If you're inspired to write a whole blog post OR you have a photo on flickr to share, please link to it in the comments or tweet it.</strong></p> <h4>Giveaway Rules:</h4> <ul> <li>Contest ends Monday, September 26th at 11:59 pm Pacific. Winners will be announced after September 26th on the original post. Winners will also be contacted via email.</li> <li>You can enter all three drawings &mdash; once by leaving a comment, once by liking our Facebook update, and once by tweeting.</li> <li>This promotion is in no way sponsored, endorsed or administered, or associated with Facebook.</li> <li>You must be 18 and US resident to enter. Void where prohibited.</li> </ul> <p>Note: Due to recent changes in Facebook's promotions guidelines, we have restructured the entry format of our giveaways.</p> <p><strong>Good Luck!</strong></p> <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/ask-the-readers-could-you-survive-without-a-cell-phone" class="sharethis-link" title="Ask the Readers: Could You Survive Without a Cell Phone?" rel="nofollow">ShareThis</a><div class="field field-type-text field-field-blog-teaser"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Tell us if you could live without a cell phone and we&#039;ll enter you in a drawing to win a $20 Amazon Gift Card! </div> </div> </div> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">Written by <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/ashley-jacobs">Ashley Jacobs</a> and published on <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/">Wise Bread</a>. Read more <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/taxonomy/term/"> articles from Wise Bread</a>.</div></div> Giveaways Ask the Readers cell phone Tue, 20 Sep 2011 10:36:22 +0000 Ashley Jacobs 709075 at http://www.wisebread.com Ask the Readers: What's Your Favorite App Idea? http://www.wisebread.com/ask-the-readers-whats-your-favorite-app-idea <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/ask-the-readers-whats-your-favorite-app-idea" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://www.wisebread.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/4757033856_5f3694a75b_z-1.jpg" alt="What&#039;s Your Favorite App Idea" title="What&#039;s Your Favorite App Idea" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p><em>Editor's Note: Due to Facebook changing their promotions guideline rules, we had to select two winners from the comments and one from Twitter. Congratulations to </em><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/ask-the-readers-whats-your-favorite-app-idea#comment-494138"><em>Chris</em></a><em>, <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/ask-the-readers-whats-your-favorite-app-idea#comment-494131">NJJ</a>, and&nbsp;</em><a href="http://twitter.com/#!/1bets1"><em>1bets1</em></a><em>&nbsp;for winning this week's contest!&nbsp;</em></p> <p>For iPhone's alone, there are over 350,000 apps available for download. These days it really does seem like there is an app for everything! But have you ever come up with an idea for an app that wasn't already available for download?</p> <p><strong>Do you have a good idea for a mobile app? </strong>Have you ever wanted to do something&nbsp;with your phone or iPad but you couldn't find an app for it? Do you have an app on your phone to help you with your finances but wish that it had more features? If so, what other features would you like to see?</p> <p>Feel free to share any app ideas you have. But of course, this being Wise Bread, we'd especially love to hear about apps that will help people save time and money!</p> <p>Tell us about your favorite mobile app idea we'll enter you in a drawing to win a $20 Amazon Gift Card!</p> <h2>Win 1 of 3 $20 Amazon Gift Cards</h2> <p>We're doing three giveaways &mdash; one for random comments, one for random Facebook &quot;Likes&quot;, and another one for random tweets.</p> <h3>Enter 1 of 3 Ways:</h3> <ul> <li>Post your answer in the comments below, or</li> <li>Go to our <a href="http://www.facebook.com/pages/Wise-Bread/26830741467?ref=ts">Facebook page</a>, &quot;Like&quot; us, then &quot;Like&quot; the update mentioning this giveaway (you can comment, as well &mdash; but you don't have to for entry), or</li> <li><a href="http://www.twitter.com/">Tweet</a> your answer. You have to be a follower of our <a href="http://twitter.com/wisebread">@wisebread account</a>. Include both &quot;@wisebread&quot; and &quot;#WBAsk&quot; in your tweet so we'll see it and count it.</li> </ul> <p><strong>If you're inspired to write a whole blog post OR you have a photo on flickr to share, please link to it in the comments or tweet it.</strong></p> <h4>Giveaway Rules:</h4> <ul> <li>Contest ends Monday, May 22nd at 11:59 pm Pacific. Winners will be announced after May 22nd on the original post and via Twitter. Winners will also be contacted via email, Facebook, and Twitter Direct Message.</li> <li>You can enter all three drawings &mdash; once by leaving a comment, once by liking our Facebook update, and once by tweeting.</li> <li>You must be 18 and US resident to enter. Void where prohibited.</li> </ul> <p><strong>Good Luck!</strong></p> <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/ask-the-readers-whats-your-favorite-app-idea" class="sharethis-link" title="Ask the Readers: What&#039;s Your Favorite App Idea?" rel="nofollow">ShareThis</a><div class="field field-type-text field-field-blog-teaser"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Tell us about your favorite mobile app idea we&#039;ll enter you in a drawing to win a $20 Amazon Gift Card! </div> </div> </div> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">Written by <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/ashley-jacobs">Ashley Jacobs</a> and published on <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/">Wise Bread</a>. Read more <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/topic/deals-and-coupons/giveaways">Giveaways articles from Wise Bread</a>.</div></div> Giveaways apps Ask the Readers cell phone ipad mobile Tue, 17 May 2011 10:36:20 +0000 Ashley Jacobs 542876 at http://www.wisebread.com The 1-Cent Cell Phone Protector, and Other Hacks. http://www.wisebread.com/the-1-cent-cell-phone-protector-and-other-hacks <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/the-1-cent-cell-phone-protector-and-other-hacks" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://www.wisebread.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/340x_kbp7k-rmh7u.jpg" alt="Protection" title="Protection" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="188" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>When you're forking out several hundred dollars for a cell phone, the thought of spending even more money to keep it scratch-free seems a no-brainer. But I'm cheap. And I don't like spending a few bucks on a piece of clear tape when, well, a free piece of clear tape will do. Or in this case, almost free.</p> <p>The DIY screen protector is great for so many frugal folks like myself. First, it's (almost) free. Most of us have a roll of clear packing tape lying around, and you usually get about 55 yards for around $5. And that equates to less than one cent for a piece of tape big enough to cover your average smart phone. But hold on, don't just go sticking it to your phone and calling it a day. There's a method to this, which you will see in the</p> <p><a href="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kbP7K-rMh7U">Howcast video below</a>.</p> <p><embed width="425" height="350" allowfullscreen="true" allowscriptaccess="always" type="application/x-shockwave-flash" src="http://www.youtube.com/v/kbP7K-rMh7U&amp;hl=en_US&amp;fs=1&amp;"></embed></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Great stuff, and way cheaper than those screen protectors you'll find in your local cell phone store. But why stop there? I did some hunting around for other great cell phone hacks, tips, and tricks to save you some money that you can put towards your enormous phone bill. In no particular order, here are five more excellent phone hacks worth checking out.</p> <h3><a href="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3l0NralSb5M">1. The Duct Tape Cell Phone/iPod Case</a></h3> <p>It's a bit rough and ready, but hey, it's almost free as well. Maybe it will catch on and become cool to have, at which point you'll be able to buy a pre-made Duct Tape case at Target for $19.99.</p> <p><object width="425" height="350"> <param value="http://www.youtube.com/v/3l0NralSb5M&amp;hl=en_US&amp;fs=1&amp;" name="movie" /> <param value="true" name="allowFullScreen" /> <param value="always" name="allowscriptaccess" /><embed width="425" height="350" allowfullscreen="true" allowscriptaccess="always" type="application/x-shockwave-flash" src="http://www.youtube.com/v/3l0NralSb5M&amp;hl=en_US&amp;fs=1&amp;"></embed></object></p> <h3><a href="http://www.clipsyndicate.com/video/play/1231397/how_to_make_an_outlet_mount_for_your_cell_phone">2. The Plastic Bottle Cell Phone Outlet Mount</a></h3> <p>If you're tired of having your cell phone just lying around taking up space on the counter, or worse, the floor, this is a handy little gadget made from an old shampoo bottle. Can you say free? Nice.</p> <p><object width="425" height="330" classid="clsid:D27CDB6E-AE6D-11cf-96B8-444553540000" id="cs_player"> <param name="movie" value="http://eplayer.clipsyndicate.com/cs_api/get_swf/3/&amp;wpid=0&amp;page_count=5&amp;windows=1&amp;va_id=1231397&amp;show_title=0&amp;auto_start=0&amp;auto_next=0" /> <param name="allowfullscreen" value="true" /> <param name="allowscriptaccess" value="always" /><embed width="425" height="330" src="http://eplayer.clipsyndicate.com/cs_api/get_swf/3/&amp;wpid=0&amp;page_count=5&amp;windows=1&amp;va_id=1231397&amp;show_title=0&amp;auto_start=0&amp;auto_next=0" type="application/x-shockwave-flash" allowscriptaccess="always" allowfullscreen="true"></embed></object></p> <h3><a href="http://www.wonderhowto.com/how-to-car-cell-phone-holder-cd-162887/">3. Make A Car Cell Phone Holder From an Old CD</a></h3> <p>The video is without sound (it's not needed by the way) and it shows you in about 30 seconds how to turn an old CD into a nifty holder for your car. Another super cheap option.</p> <p><embed width="400" height="345" type="application/x-shockwave-flash" pluginspage="http://www.macromedia.com/go/getflashplayer" name="Metacafe_728109" allowscriptaccess="always" allowfullscreen="true" wmode="transparent" src="http://www.metacafe.com/fplayer/728109/car_mobile_holder.swf"></embed></p> <h3><a href="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=T2iDN9bWpMs">4. USB Charger From an Old Cassette Tape Box</a></h3> <p>You'll need a $2 part from a local Radio Shack, and some soldering experience. But it does create a handy and portable charger for very little money.</p> <p><object width="425" height="350"> <param name="movie" value="http://www.youtube.com/v/T2iDN9bWpMs&amp;hl=en_US&amp;fs=1&amp;" /> <param name="allowFullScreen" value="true" /> <param name="allowscriptaccess" value="always" /><embed width="425" height="350" src="http://www.youtube.com/v/T2iDN9bWpMs&amp;hl=en_US&amp;fs=1&amp;" type="application/x-shockwave-flash" allowscriptaccess="always" allowfullscreen="true"></embed></object></p> <h3><a href="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fAi6l0C0am0">5. Use Your Cell Phone as a Wireless Mouse!</a></h3> <p>No kidding. If you have a bluetooth-enabled cell phone, this is possible. But only useful if you've lost track of your mouse, or have a laptop and don't have your mouse with you.</p> <p><object width="425" height="350"> <param value="http://www.youtube.com/v/fAi6l0C0am0&amp;hl=en_US&amp;fs=1&amp;" name="movie" /> <param value="true" name="allowFullScreen" /> <param value="always" name="allowscriptaccess" /><embed width="425" height="350" allowfullscreen="true" allowscriptaccess="always" type="application/x-shockwave-flash" src="http://www.youtube.com/v/fAi6l0C0am0&amp;hl=en_US&amp;fs=1&amp;"></embed></object></p> <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-1-cent-cell-phone-protector-and-other-hacks" class="sharethis-link" title="The 1-Cent Cell Phone Protector, and Other Hacks." rel="nofollow">ShareThis</a><br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">Written by <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/paul-michael">Paul Michael</a> and published on <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/">Wise Bread</a>. Read more <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/taxonomy/term/"> articles from Wise Bread</a>.</div></div> DIY General Tips bargain cell phone cheap hacks save money Fri, 30 Apr 2010 13:00:03 +0000 Paul Michael 53133 at http://www.wisebread.com Living Without A Landline http://www.wisebread.com/living-without-a-landline <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/living-without-a-landline" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://www.wisebread.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/rotary%20dial%20phone.jpg" alt="rotary dial phone" title="rotary dial phone" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="188" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>I had been thinking about shedding my landline for a while. I was attached to the convenience for a long time and, more recently, unlimited calls for one price in the United States. What I wanted most from a landline, though, was reliability; but, for me, neither the cable company nor the traditional bell company could deliver. So, after more than four decades, I cut the cord. Here&rsquo;s how I&rsquo;m getting along without a regular phone.&nbsp;&nbsp;</p> <div style="margin: 0in 0in 0pt"><b>Finding the cell phone.</b> Being able to find my cell phone on demand has been my biggest challenge. The landline was useful for calling and locating my phone. My regular&nbsp;phone was always in the same location, attached to a wall in my kitchen, so I didn&rsquo;t have to worry about finding it. Not being able to find my cell phone is especially troublesome if I am home alone. So, I make it a habit to make sure I always know where my phone is, and if I know my&nbsp;teenage son&nbsp;might be home for a while alone, I make sure his&nbsp;phone is&nbsp;turned on and easily accessible.&nbsp;This process may sound like a lot of trouble but at the rate that <a href="#reliable_service">my&nbsp;real phone was out</a>, I needed to do this anyway. (Apparently you can use Google's <a href="http://lifehacker.com/software/cell-phones/find-your-cell-phone-with-google-maps-clicktocall-226988.php">Click-to-Call feature to locate your phone</a>&nbsp;though I haven't tried this yet).&nbsp;</p> <p><b>Giving out the home phone number. </b>My cell phone number is my home number, period. Whenever I fill out forms that request my home number, I list my cell number, even if it means&nbsp;listing my cell number twice (once in the home phone section and then&nbsp;in the cell phone section). I remember hearing from someone who said that she didn&rsquo;t get recorded announcements&nbsp;from her child's&nbsp;school because she didn&rsquo;t have a landline; no worries, the school calls me on the cell phone/home phone. I have found this method more reliable than using my home phone, because the message goes directly to me. Before,&nbsp;my kids might answer the&nbsp;phone and by the time I reached the phone and started listening to the message, the call was nearly over.&nbsp;With my direct, rather than family line, I get the messages I&nbsp;need.</p> <p><b>Getting numbers changed.&nbsp;</b>The first two places&nbsp;that I notified about my new&nbsp;number&nbsp;was my kids&rsquo; schools; I wanted to make sure I&nbsp;was reachable&nbsp;for any urgent needs, which is one reason that I&nbsp;had the phone in the first place.&nbsp;I&nbsp;hadn't considered all the places that my home number was listed at first, but there are lots of them. Some changes I&nbsp;made online and some were made by notifying service providers of the&nbsp;change (places to update include&nbsp;the bank, dentist's office, and library).&nbsp;In regard to the phone directory, no change was needed as my&nbsp;home number&nbsp;has been unlisted for several years to avoid telemarketing calls, pre-dating the do-not-call registry.&nbsp;&nbsp;</p> <div style="margin: 0in 0in 0pt"><b>Keeping it charged. </b>Before I switched to my cell phone full time, I used it so infrequently&nbsp;that I charged its battery just once every couple of weeks. When I started using it more regularly because I didn&rsquo;t have the landline, such as making after-hours client calls that lasted an hour or so,&nbsp;I found that I needed to charge it more often. Now, I charge it after making a long call.&nbsp;I am planning on getting a solar charger just in case the power goes out (my neighborhood has underground utilities so losing power has happened just one or two times in the last 10 years; also, I live within walking distance of services).</div> <div style="margin: 0in 0in 0pt">&nbsp;</div> <div style="margin: 0in 0in 0pt"><strong>Staying in touch. </strong>Most of my friends communicate on a day-to-day basis via email so changing my number wasn't a big deal:&nbsp;I&nbsp;just emailed and let them know to use my cell&nbsp;number.&nbsp;Maybe it's because we keep differing at-home&nbsp;hours and can contact each other at odd hours without disturbing dinner conversation or keeping someone from an important task&nbsp;but&nbsp;email has superseded phone contact.</div> <div style="margin: 0in 0in 0pt">&nbsp;</div> <div style="margin: 0in 0in 0pt"> <p><b><a name="reliable_service">Getting reliable service</a>. </b>Until recently, I had considered the traditional landline as the most reliable for phone service. I grew up using rotary dial phones in basic black; though analog wasn&rsquo;t exciting, it never failed even when the power went out.</p> <div style="margin: 0in 0in 0pt"> <div style="margin: 0in 0in 0pt"> <div style="margin: 0in 0in 0pt">After VoIP technology had been around awhile, I decided to try digital phone service from the cable company so that I could save on long distance calls, which I make frequently to my family and out-of-town clients. (Technically, the digital phone may not be considered a landline but my phone was connected to wires and not wireless.) There were often outages for no apparent reason; these interruptions didn&rsquo;t seem to bother the cable company but they disturbed me.&nbsp;And when city workers accidentally cut the cable when they were repairing a drainage pipe in my front yard and I lost phone service for a couple of days, I started to rethink the redundancy of a landline and the reliability of the digital phone. After another misstep by the cable company (sending out a repair crew, unannounced, to make a repair to previously working&nbsp;phone&nbsp;that rendered the service unavailable), I decided to go back to the regular landline.</div> <div style="margin: 0in 0in 0pt">&nbsp;</div> <div style="margin: 0in 0in 0pt">Or, rather, I tried to go back to the regular landline. I never received the phone service as requested. The initial installation didn&rsquo;t happen as planned and the tech guy who asked me to call him never returned my calls (I called 3 times over the course of a week; apparently he was sick but didn&rsquo;t transfer his calls to another service person). A trouble report provided to the service department was cleared without being resolved. The service failures continued with every communication, made via cell phone. I didn&rsquo;t want to pay a premium price for such&nbsp;unresponsive service, so&nbsp;I&nbsp;cancelled it.&nbsp;</div> <div style="margin: 0in 0in 0pt">&nbsp;</div> <div style="margin: 0in 0in 0pt">One of my primary concerns about not having a landline was not being able to contact emergency services; however, the phone still has a dial tone and will allow me to call 911, and GPS capabilities in cell phones allow pinpointing of callers' location regardless of where the caller is at home or elsewhere.&nbsp;(For more on 9-1-1 services, see <a href="http://www.fcc.gov/pshs/services/911-services/Welcome.html">FCC&nbsp;website</a>.)</div> <div style="margin: 0in 0in 0pt">&nbsp;</div> </div> </div> </div> <div style="margin: 0in 0in 0pt"><strong>Exploring&nbsp;<a href="http://www.skype.com/">Skype</a>.</strong> Now that&nbsp;my cell usage has increased, I decided to explore more communication options that might offer even&nbsp;more&nbsp;convenience and cost savings. Though I&rsquo;d heard of Skype, it sounded somewhat geeky for someone like me who was not even an expert on&nbsp;cell-phone features. But after hearing about it from an acquaintance who uses it&nbsp;to call her family in Poland,&nbsp;receiving a client call from Costa Rica via Skype (the reception was amazing), and following a discussion on <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/forums/lifehacks-personal-development/what-phone-option-use-work-phone-4362.html">the forums</a>, I decided to check it out. I downloaded the interface and tested it for free, ordered a <a href="http://www.amazon.com/dp/B000VEMNQO/ref=nosim/?tag=wwwwisebreadc-20">headset with microphone </a>from Amazon using a gift card, and found it&nbsp;simple and&nbsp;intuitive to use. Instructions are in plain English, not bureaucratic mumbo-jumbo&nbsp;with misleading verbiage. You can make calls for free if both the caller and recipient have signed up; if not,&nbsp;you can buy credits or get a subscription ($2.95 per month for unlimited calls in the U.S. plus options for worldwide calling). If you want a fixed&nbsp;number and features such as voice mail, you can buy a number in the area code of your choice.</div> <div style="margin: 0in 0in 0pt">&nbsp;</div> <div style="margin: 0in 0in 0pt">There are many ways to configure your own&nbsp;telecom plan, depending on your personal situation, work set-up, and lifestyle. If you&rsquo;re at home a lot and your family lives nearby, you might opt for a traditional line and use a prepaid cell phone (see Linsey&rsquo;s post on <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-reasons-i-still-dont-have-a-cellphone-plan-yet">reasons she doesn't have a cell phone plan yet</a>) or if you&rsquo;re married and work at home, you could try one cell phone only and a two-way radio (Myscha explains <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/four-tech-products-that-save-you-time-and-money">how to use tech items&nbsp;to save time and money</a>). But if you happen to have a cell phone set-up (prepaid plan or contract)&nbsp;that meets your needs, dispensing of&nbsp;a&nbsp;landline could&nbsp;save at least&nbsp;$25 every month and $50-80 per month&nbsp;for a&nbsp;business line.</div> </div> <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/living-without-a-landline" class="sharethis-link" title="Living Without A Landline" rel="nofollow">ShareThis</a><br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">Written by <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/julie-rains">Julie Rains</a> and published on <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/">Wise Bread</a>. Read more <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/taxonomy/term/"> articles from Wise Bread</a>.</div></div> Life Hacks Lifestyle cell phone cutting the cord landline skype VoIP Sat, 21 Mar 2009 16:03:03 +0000 Julie Rains 2946 at http://www.wisebread.com Two More Crafty Ways to Steal From You - GPS Units and Cell Phones. http://www.wisebread.com/two-more-crafty-ways-to-steal-from-you-gps-units-and-cell-phones <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/two-more-crafty-ways-to-steal-from-you-gps-units-and-cell-phones" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://www.wisebread.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/2484304877_83f51f9513.jpg" alt="GPS unit" title="GPS unit" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="141" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>I got another one of those emails recently, from my mother-in-law this time. As usual, I began reading with skepticism and was ready to take it all with another monstrous grain of salt. But as I continued reading, I realized the information actually seemed plausible. So I checked it out at Snopes and found truth behind the stories. </p> <p>The Chinese Whisper effect has done its job on these stories, adding embellishments and hyperbole. But the base facts mentioned here are very real, and these methods could easily be used to clean you out. </p> <p><strong> Method One &ndash; GPS and a Garage Door Opener. </strong><a href="http://www.snopes.com/crime/intent/gps.asp">(Snopes reference)</a><br /> The basic premise is this. You&rsquo;re parked at an event where the criminal knows you will be inside for some time, like a concert or sporting event. He or she will then scour the parking lot for cars with GPS devices and garage door openers, which is a vast number of the population and rising. </p> <p>The thief takes the GPS and garage door opener, hops into their own car or truck, and then used the GPS device to guide the car &ldquo;home&rdquo; which is the first address anyone with a GPS will program into the device. </p> <p>Once at your house, the thieves have access via the garage door opener, and they know they plenty of time to&nbsp; ransack your home and get away before you get to your car and drive home. Some people don&rsquo;t even notice the devices are gone until they go to open the garage door.</p> <p><strong> What can you do to stay safe?</strong><br /> First, if you have a dashboard-mounted GPS device, put it out of plain sight once you arrive at your destination. Most come with a carry-case and are small enough to take with you, or you could hide it somewhere in the car. </p> <p>Second, don&rsquo;t program your home address into the &ldquo;home&rdquo; button. It&rsquo;s easy enough to find your home address from a list of recent places, but the thieves won&rsquo;t know that. All they will see are a long list of addresses and any one of them could be yours. </p> <p>Third, put your garage door opener in an unexpected place. The first place thieves will look is on the visor. If they have to hunt around for both your GPS and your opener, they&rsquo;ll no doubt give up very quickly and move onto the next car. </p> <p><strong> Method Two &ndash; The Cell Phone Scam </strong><a href="http://www.snopes.com/fraud/telephone/pintheft.asp">(Snopes reference)</a><br /> The story goes that a woman&rsquo;s handbag was stolen, and her cell phone was one the of many personal items inside, along with credit cards, debit cards and so on. About 20 minutes after the handbag is stolen, she calls her husband from a payphone to tell him what has happened, and he tells her &ldquo;I got your text asking for our PIN number, I just replied to it.&rdquo; </p> <p>When they checked their bank accounts, a chunk of money had been withdrawn using the stolen card. What had happened was the thief had texted her husband, labeled on the phone as &ldquo;hubby&rdquo; or &ldquo;sweetheart&rdquo; and asked for the information.<br /> If you received a text from your significant other, you probably wouldn&rsquo;t think twice about it, and reply with the 4-digit PIN. Maybe you&rsquo;d call, but texting is so easy and convenient these days. </p> <p><strong> What can you do to stay safe?</strong><br /> First, try not to use pet names or other words that would disclose your relationship to that person. In particular, avoid common phrases like Home, Honey, Hubby, Wifey, Sweetheart, Dad, Mom, Boyfriend, Girlfriend, and so on. These are the first names that the phone thieves will go to. </p> <p>Second, never reveal ANY personal info over a text message. If you get such a request, call and confirm if you can. I know it&rsquo;s a lot easier to text in a busy meeting rather than leave the room to take a call, but do what you can. You can always ask a question only your significant other would know the answer to, just for verification, if you only have the option to text. </p> <p>Third, if anyone ever asks to meet you somewhere via text message, make sure you call back to verify it&rsquo;s the real person. Far worse than someone trying to take your money would be someone trying to harm you. Remember, phones carry photos and videos, thieves could see a pretty girl and attempt to set up a meeting via text message.</p> <p>As always, keep your wits about you everyone. Stay safe. <br /> &nbsp;</p> <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/two-more-crafty-ways-to-steal-from-you-gps-units-and-cell-phones" class="sharethis-link" title="Two More Crafty Ways to Steal From You - GPS Units and Cell Phones. " rel="nofollow">ShareThis</a><br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">Written by <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/paul-michael">Paul Michael</a> and published on <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/">Wise Bread</a>. Read more <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/taxonomy/term/"> articles from Wise Bread</a>.</div></div> Cars and Transportation Consumer Affairs cell phone garage door opener GPS rob safety Steal Wed, 11 Mar 2009 21:13:09 +0000 Paul Michael 2917 at http://www.wisebread.com 6 Reasons I Still Don't Have a Cell Phone Plan (yet) http://www.wisebread.com/6-reasons-i-still-dont-have-a-cellphone-plan-yet <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/6-reasons-i-still-dont-have-a-cellphone-plan-yet" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://www.wisebread.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/cell%20phone.jpg" alt="" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="188" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p> <meta http-equiv="CONTENT-TYPE" content="text/html; charset=utf-8" /><br /> <title></title><br /> <meta name="GENERATOR" content="OpenOffice.org 2.3 (Win32)" /></p> <style type="text/css"> <!-- @page { size: 8.5in 11in; margin: 0.79in } P { margin-bottom: 0.08in } --><!-- @page { size: 8.5in 11in; margin: 0.79in } P { margin-bottom: 0.08in } --> </style></p> <p style="margin-bottom: 0in;">If you ask most people what they can't live without, many would say their computer. Just about as many would say their cell phone/PDA/Crackberry. I agree with the first one &ndash; I couldn't earn a living without my PC. I don't currently have a cell phone plan, however, and here's why.</p> <p style="margin-bottom: 0in;"><b>I'm particularly homebound.</b> I'll admit it. I'm a SAHM, WAHM, and a homeschooler. Notice any recurring themes in my job description? Yeah.. I'm home a lot. Which brings me to the number one reason I don't have a cell phone. I'm almost always home, and my home phone works just fine, thank you.</p> <p style="margin-bottom: 0in;"><b>I'm cheap.</b> The going rate for a plan in my area with enough minutes to make it worth my while is around $50 a month. Then you add ridiculous taxes to the bill, the commitment of a 2-year-plan, and the cost of replacing the charger that I seem to always lose every 30 days, and you have one heck of a phone bill. I don't even have cable, so how can I justify spending over $80 a month for conversations that can most likely wait until I get home?</p> <p style="margin-bottom: 0in;"><b>I'm private.</b> Those of you who follow me on Twitter have probably already forgotten about me. I don't especially like to share every sordid detail of my life with everyone in &ldquo;My Circle.&rdquo; I talk to my Mom, my sister, and ocassionally a Grandma or two during my day &ndash; one time each. The rest of the world usually conducts their business with me via email or when I see them in person. I don't do too much small talk on the phone.. it just feels weird.</p> <p style="margin-bottom: 0in;"><b>I'm busy.</b> Did I mention that I homeschool? That's 4 kids, 2 sets of diapers, 40 or so dirty dishes, 2 lesson plans, and 100 emails that must be tended to-- before noon. Seriously, though, I do try to keep moving. When I'm not writing or folding laundry, I like to sit in the rocking chair in my kids' room and watch them sleep. All this takes great focus, and a rogue cell call just doesn't fit into the plan.</p> <p style="margin-bottom: 0in;"><b>I'm committed to my landline. </b> I hear so many things about Skype, and it really sounds like a good option &ndash; for someone else. Living in the middle of nowhere takes great faith in things like cell receiption, internet connectivity, and electricity (especially during tornado season, when outages are common.) If I can't pick up my old fashioned rotary phone and place a call during an emergency, I'm out. Technology can only replace so many of my dependencies on reliability.</p> <p style="margin-bottom: 0in;"><b>I'm committed to safety. </b> This is just how things work for me, so please don't take offense if it doesn't apply to you. As much as I appreciate what cell phones can do, I seem to always lose my focus when talking on one. Whether I'm driving, walking, or frying potatoes, the conversation can be the priority &ndash; or what I'm doing, but never both. It's just best for the rest of the world if I pay attention to what's at hand.</p> <p style="margin-bottom: 0in;">So how do I handle not having a cell phone plan? I do, actually, have a cell phone. It's a cheapo $14 pink tracfone with 120 minutes and a good charge. I take it with me when driving any distance and especially when toting around the kiddos in the dead of winter. It comes in handy when I need to get ahold of my hubby or if I'm doomed to wait in the doctor's office for longer than I've planned. I've relied on it when attending conferences and am stuck in the cabin of a going-nowhere plane with no chance of catching the next flight. But the entire set up costs less than $10 a month, and I'm free to ditch this plan any time I like.</p> <p style="margin-bottom: 0in;">Do I envy my friends with the iPhones and the unlimited web plans? Sure. Sometimes. On those rare, brief moments when I'm out and about, not running after stray kids, and feel the need to check the weather report. But those times aren't nearly often enough to justify that cell phone plan.</p> <p style="margin-bottom: 0in;">&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-reasons-i-still-dont-have-a-cellphone-plan-yet" class="sharethis-link" title="6 Reasons I Still Don&#039;t Have a Cell Phone Plan (yet)" rel="nofollow">ShareThis</a><br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">Written by <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/linsey-knerl">Linsey Knerl</a> and published on <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/">Wise Bread</a>. Read more <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/taxonomy/term/"> articles from Wise Bread</a>.</div></div> Personal Finance Frugal Living Budgeting Consumer Affairs cell phone cheap frugality plan Sat, 06 Dec 2008 03:48:19 +0000 Linsey Knerl 2629 at http://www.wisebread.com Are some lives so empty that an iPhone 3G will fill the void? http://www.wisebread.com/are-some-lives-so-empty-that-an-iphone-g3-will-fill-the-void <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/are-some-lives-so-empty-that-an-iphone-g3-will-fill-the-void" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://www.wisebread.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/iphoneg3dude.jpg" alt="iPhone 3G" title="iPhone 3G" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="333" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>In certain parts of the world (Russia comes to mind), people have stood in line for hours just to get some food. It’s messed up, but I get it. If standing in line for hours will result in putting a meal on the table for your hungry family, I’m right there. But why are people spending hours in line for a cell phone?!</p> <p>I saw a clip from a news show this morning featuring a reporter who is clearly as dumbfounded as I am. The future iPhone 3G customers were stood in a long line waiting for the technological marvel that was about to change their lives forever.</p> <p>It would make them happy. It would bring them the joy their lives were missing. It would be their friend, their confidant and their partner. On dreary days, it would sing sweet songs to them. It would massage their brows in times of sorrow. It would like the same food. Love the same sports teams. Everything was about to be perfect.</p> <p>Well, not really. Because as several people have already tried to point out, including <a href="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=luYvuRoSzTs&amp;eurl">the reporter in the clip</a> , it’s JUST A PHONE!</p> <object classid="clsid:D27CDB6E-AE6D-11cf-96B8-444553540000" codebase="http://download.macromedia.com/pub/shockwave/cabs/flash/swflash.cab#version=6,0,29,0" width="425" height="344"><param name="movie" value="http://www.youtube.com/v/luYvuRoSzTs&amp;hl=en&amp;fs=1" /><param name="quality" value="high" /><param name="menu" value="false" /><param name="wmode" value="" /><embed src="http://www.youtube.com/v/luYvuRoSzTs&amp;hl=en&amp;fs=1" wmode="" quality="high" menu="false" pluginspage="http://www.macromedia.com/go/getflashplayer" type="application/x-shockwave-flash" width="425" height="344"></embed></object><p> Sure, it’s groovy, but what else could you be doing with your time? Wisebread’s core philosophy is about living large on a small budget. And standing in line for hours to pay $200 (plus thousands in future cell phone bills) for a cold, hard gadget is neither of those things.</p> <p>This all goes back to the article I wrote on <a href="/an-important-financial-lesson-from-fight-club">Fight Club.</a> It’s just stuff. It’s just a thing. A thing that will cost you high monthly charges for a minimum of two years. Why would anyone feel the need to waste their time and money on this? I mean, I like gadgets, I really do. I just bought a GPS system for my car because I’m so hopeless with directions. But I found it used on eBay and it was delivered straight to my door.</p> <p>However, the iPhone 3G craze seems to go a lot deeper than just having some cool gadget. It’s almost as if people are afraid NOT to be one of the first to own it. I mean, what would their uber-techy friends say? What sneers and jokes would be made behind their backs if they shamefully pulled out the brick that is the original iPhone. Oh, the humiliation. Could they ever show their outdated faces in public again?</p> <p>Personally, if you don’t pull out an iPhone 3G in my presence, and instead dial someone on a crappy old cell-phone that doesn’t even have funky ringtones, I’ll be way more impressed. You’re not owned by technology or advertising. You clearly have more self-confidence. And you’re not making up for something (like the guys driving the $120k slick black Porsches that guzzle gas and may be a substitute for something else sadly lacking). Here&#39;s another great clip from <a href="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cDZUk67FpB0">The Soup</a> that made me chuckle, probably because it&#39;s so true...</p> <object classid="clsid:D27CDB6E-AE6D-11cf-96B8-444553540000" codebase="http://download.macromedia.com/pub/shockwave/cabs/flash/swflash.cab#version=6,0,29,0" width="425" height="344"><param name="movie" value="http://www.youtube.com/v/cDZUk67FpB0&amp;hl=en&amp;fs=1" /><param name="quality" value="high" /><param name="menu" value="false" /><param name="wmode" value="" /><embed src="http://www.youtube.com/v/cDZUk67FpB0&amp;hl=en&amp;fs=1" wmode="" quality="high" menu="false" pluginspage="http://www.macromedia.com/go/getflashplayer" type="application/x-shockwave-flash" width="425" height="344"></embed></object><p> I know I’ll get negative comments galore for this one, but I really don’t care. At the end of the day, if you really do feel like a gadget is worth all of this wasted time, effort and money, I’d like you to sit down, form the lotus position, and repeat after me…</p> <p>It’s only a phone.<br />It’s only a phone.<br />It’s only a phone.</p> <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/are-some-lives-so-empty-that-an-iphone-g3-will-fill-the-void" class="sharethis-link" title="Are some lives so empty that an iPhone 3G will fill the void?" rel="nofollow">ShareThis</a><br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">Written by <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/paul-michael">Paul Michael</a> and published on <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/">Wise Bread</a>. Read more <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/taxonomy/term/"> articles from Wise Bread</a>.</div></div> Consumer Affairs cell phone iPhone G3 line waiting Mon, 14 Jul 2008 16:54:38 +0000 Paul Michael 2239 at http://www.wisebread.com Cell Phone Relief http://www.wisebread.com/cell-phone-relief <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/cell-phone-relief" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://www.wisebread.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/can%20phones.jpg" alt="" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="203" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>If you watch TV or listen to the radio, you’ve probably heard your fair share cell phone advertisements, which are ubiquitous. What I’ve always found interesting about them is how the coyly squeeze in all that legal jargon at the end of the commercial, either by displaying it in illegible fine print or by a quickly worded addendum that the average human could never comprehend, or for that matter, would even make the slightest effort to try to understand.</p> <p>Well, it just so happens that part of that message relates to what are known as <em>early termination fees</em>. These fees, as everyone who has a cell phone is well aware of, are a penalty that the service providers charge if you back out of, or sometimes even simply change, your original agreement.</p> <p>The reasons for why you might want to do this could be as simple as the phone being too expensive or the realization that maybe you didn’t actually need one in the first place. Whatever the conclusion, once you lock into a phone plan, you’re in it for the duration of the agreement, which usually ranges anywhere from one to three years. If you do want to change, the penalties are steep, often running into the hundreds of dollars.</p> <p>The cell phone companies claim the fees are necessary because they help subsidize the cost of the cell phones, while consumers argue that the fees are unreasonable and are simply a ploy by the cell phone providers to lock customers into their service.</p> <p>Well, now the government is trying to do something about it. Under an <a href="http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20080521/ap_on_go_ot/cell_phone_fees">FCC proposal</a> , lawmakers want to eliminate cancellation fees for up to 30 days after a customer signs a contract or ten days after they receive their first bill. They also want to cap fees and make them more representative of the costs incurred by the phone company while also prorating the penalties over the course of the contract.</p> <p>Too good to be true? Well, of course there’s a reason behind it, and as hard as it may be to believe, it is not entirely altruistic. It should be mentioned that this proposal was submitted to the FCC by the phone companies, which pretty much says all that need be said.</p> <p>It turns out that the cell phone companies are currently embroiled in a series of class action lawsuits by angry customers who are trying to recoup billions of dollars of late fees in the state courts. If the FCC approves this bill, it would exempt the phone companies not only from these lawsuits, but also from any further state regulation of these charges. As it stands today, federal law prohibits the states from overseeing wireless rates but gives them some authority over contractual terms and conditions.</p> <p>Regardless of the outcome, people with cell phones should do their homework and choose a plan responsibly. And remember to take some time to sort through the legal jargon that is sequestered in the fine print of your contract. It could spare you a lot of pain and suffering, not to mention expense, in the future.</p> <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/cell-phone-relief" class="sharethis-link" title="Cell Phone Relief" rel="nofollow">ShareThis</a><br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">Written by <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/fred-lee">Fred Lee</a> and published on <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/">Wise Bread</a>. Read more <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/taxonomy/term/"> articles from Wise Bread</a>.</div></div> Lifestyle Shopping cell phone early termination fees FCC Wed, 21 May 2008 19:05:37 +0000 Fred Lee 2113 at http://www.wisebread.com Hand-me-down Cell Phones http://www.wisebread.com/hand-me-down-cell-phones <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/hand-me-down-cell-phones" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://www.wisebread.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/cellphones.JPG" alt="cell phones" title="Lots of people have a used cell phone or two hanging around" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="188" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>I was hard on cell phones as a carefree single gal. Now that I have two little kids, I&#39;m impossible. Teething slobber and juice in diaper bag knocked out the first two phones of my parenting years.</p> <p>When phone No. 3 slipped from my sweater pocket into the toddler&#39;s tub shortly after I&#39;d extended my service plan to replace phone No. 2, I was stuck. I wouldn&#39;t be eligible for an upgrade for at least a year. I couldn&#39;t bear the thought of paying over $100 out of pocket for a new phone, but -- pregnant and with a small child -- I didn&#39;t feel right walking and driving around Chicago without the safety net of a cell phone.</p> <p>I mentioned my trouble to my father-in-law, who laughed and said he had two unused phones from the same carrier sitting at home. He&#39;d changed providers, and the phones had belonged to members of their family plan. With relief, I switched my SIM card into one of them. It was old, a bit clunky, with no camera or other frills, but it worked great.   </p> <p>Last weekend, on a work/family trip to California, I forgot to zip the pocket of my ski jacket on the slopes of the Sierras. One major wipeout later, it was good-bye, hand-me-down phone. </p> <p>I checked in with AT&amp;T, and no, I couldn&#39;t get a free or cheap new phone until April. Being on vacation, trying to meet up with old friends, and working a trade show as a reporter with no cell phone was agony. </p> <p>At some point in our trip, the battery door fell off my husband&#39;s  Motorola Razr. On our last night in California, a friend offered him the battery door from his own Razr, which he had just replaced with one of those phones with all the buttons for the thumb typing. Since he had been planning on recycling the old phone, he was quite happy to pass it on to me instead.</p> <p>When we got home I called At&amp;T, and the customer support person told me to go to my local outlet for a free replacement SIM card. She even called me back today to make sure the shop had given it to me for free. How I ended up with such a kind and conscientious customer service rep at a WIRELESS COMPANY is a mystery unto itself.</p> <p>So here&#39;s the moral of the story: If you lose or drown your phone, don&#39;t despair. Just tell everyone you know, and someone is bound to have a used handset sitting around, waiting for them to figure out how to recycle it. One of the few consumer benefits of industry consolidation is that you have a good chance of finding someone with a phone equipped for your carrier.</p> <p>If you can&#39;t get a free one, you can of course procure a replacement phone on EBay, but what with shipping and not knowing how much oomph is left in the battery of used phones for sale, I like hand-me-downs much better.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/hand-me-down-cell-phones" class="sharethis-link" title="Hand-me-down Cell Phones" rel="nofollow">ShareThis</a><br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">Written by <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/carrie-kirby">Carrie Kirby</a> and published on <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/">Wise Bread</a>. Read more <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/taxonomy/term/"> articles from Wise Bread</a>.</div></div> Frugal Living cell phone reuse Sat, 01 Mar 2008 03:57:10 +0000 Carrie Kirby 1871 at http://www.wisebread.com Why I was an AT&T wireless customer…for 72 hours. http://www.wisebread.com/why-i-was-an-at-t-wireless-customer-for-72-hours <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/why-i-was-an-at-t-wireless-customer-for-72-hours" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://www.wisebread.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/thankscell.jpg" alt="Cell suck" title="Cell suck" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="347" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>For the last 7-8 years, I have been a loyal Virgin Mobile customer. I liked the prepaid pricing plan, the customer service, I didn’t want a large monthly bill or overage charges. Everything was perfect. Well, almost everything. </p> <p>The phones sucked. Completely. While everyone around me had the latest, greatest phones from Nokia and Motorola, I was stuck with cheap, archaic-looking models with limited features and horrible battery life. So, a few weeks ago my wife and I started looking around and decided on prepaid GoPhone, from AT&amp;T/Cingular wireless. </p> <p>We chose AT&amp;T because they’ve been around forever. My wife had tried Amp’d Mobile last year for a few months, but when they went under she came back to Virgin. She didn’t want to switch unless it was a big name with big staying power. And they don’t come much bigger than AT&amp;T.</p> <p>I found us some great “refurbished” phones at att.com. I say “refurbished” because they looked brand new to me, and I suspect they were (a great article for another time) Probably just a slightly older model or maybe a display model. I used the website to complete the deal and filled out the form to carry over our current numbers. </p> <p><img src="http://healthcarehacks.com/files/fruganomics/u17/338699_talking.jpg" alt="Go away" title="Go Away" width="300" height="224" /></p> <p><em>&quot;You talkin&#39; to me? Not for long, I&#39;ll transfer you...again.&quot;</em></p> <p><strong>The problems begin.</strong><br />I spent a grand total of 6 hours on phone calls trying to complete the number transfer, also known as porting. I was passed from one department to another. One annoying feature of AT&amp;T customer service that immediately became apparent is that GoPhone customers are treated like second-class citizens. It was impossible to get straight through to a GoPhone rep, I often had to punch or say my phone number 3-4 times before I got to anyone, and on three occasions the phone went dead on me. Nice.</p> <p>Unlike any other company I have ever dealt with, AT&amp;T requires your prepaid account number to complete the porting process. Do you know what your prepaid account number is? Doubtful, it’s usually something you have to call and ask for because you never need to know it. You buy it from the store, you top up with cards, as far as you are concerned your account number is your phone number. Not so.</p> <p>So, after doing a whole bunch more calling, I got the info and completed the port. End of story? Not quite. When my wife had left that morning, she had $10 in credit on the phone. She called me a few hours later, it was almost gone. “$10 in a few hours, what have you been doing?” I said. It turns out that unlike Virgin Mobile, AT&amp;T charges you 25 cents/minute per call for everything. That means not just regular calls, but calls to check your messages, your balance, anything. 25 cents comes out the first second you make a connection, which didn’t surprise me. If you receive a call, 25 cents/minute also applies. Again, not so shocking. Then I found out that a call to 411 for 30 seconds had cost over $2.30! Ouch. We burned up a further $30 between us in the span of 3 days, although I was double-billed and I&#39;m disputing one $15 charge. We also discovered that, unlike Virgin, your money expires. $15 lasts only 30 days, regardless of how much you use.</p> <p>I know, I know. I should have read all that small print, so that’s my fault completely. I just couldn’t believe how expensive this no-contract phone was. So, we decided to bite the bullet and get a contract plan with T-Mobile, which came with great free phones and the most minutes around for the price. </p> <p>But then we needed to carry over our numbers from AT&amp;T. Now, guess how easy it is to get your prepaid account number from AT&amp;T? Well, when you realize that the only reason you need an account number from a GoPhone is to switch to another cell phone carrier, you quickly understand that the process is not simple. In fact, I spent an enormous amount of time on the phone, again, before finally being transferred to an office in India (big surprise). And the whole time, I was questioned about why I was leaving. </p> <p>Is there a moral to this story. Most definitely it’s READ EVERY PIECE OF SMALL PRINT YOU CAN. If I had done so, I’d probably have saved myself almost a full day on the phone and at least $30 in airtime that lasted less than an hour. Also, if you do go prepaid, use it sparingly and it makes all kinds of sense. But use it more often than that and you’re eating up money. From what I can understand, Virgin is still way ahead of everyone else in the prepaid arena, apart from the crappy phones.</p> <p>So, my apologies to Virgin. You’ve always been great and I’m sorry I had to leave you (update your phones and I&#39;ll be back). And to AT&amp;T, I’m saying nothing. I’ve quickly discovered that talking to AT&amp;T can be a costly affair. </p> <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/why-i-was-an-at-t-wireless-customer-for-72-hours" class="sharethis-link" title="Why I was an AT&amp;T wireless customer…for 72 hours." rel="nofollow">ShareThis</a><br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">Written by <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/paul-michael">Paul Michael</a> and published on <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/">Wise Bread</a>. Read more <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/taxonomy/term/"> articles from Wise Bread</a>.</div></div> Consumer Affairs AT&T cell phone Cingular prepaid wireless Wed, 23 Jan 2008 22:38:35 +0000 Paul Michael 1665 at http://www.wisebread.com