A Better Alternative to Big Cell Phone Companies – Ting

I’ve had a cell phone for 15 years, and I have been with Sprint since the very beginning.  But the last 4 or 5 times I’ve upgraded my phone over the years, the price has continually gone up for the same unlimited service.  I’ve been frustrated, to say the least, when doing an upgrade with Sprint over the past 8-10 years, but stayed with them (I guess you could say I was loyal).  I did look into switching to competitors like AT&T, but their plans were even more expensive (even after the increase  in my new plan).  So I stayed with Sprint.

Over the past year or so, several companies come into my radar that have a different business model.  They make you purchase the phone up front, and then you have no contracts with a lower price point.  After doing months of research, off and on, I finally narrowed down my choice to one that actually got me to leave Sprint.

The company is Ting, and they work on Sprint’s network.  After using them for two weeks so far, the company is already going on my recommended companies page because of how they set themselves apart from the rest.  They have already become one of my favorite companies to work with, based on how they do things.  They charge you for what you actually use on your phone, instead of all the unlimited everything.  The key to what sets them apart is that they automatically adjust each month based on your usage, not keeping you locked into any set pricing plan.  So if you use your phone less one month than normal, they actually charge you LESS!

They break things apart into phone calls, text messages, and data usage, and have different level plans for each.  They clearly state those, and even give you a gauge on your current usage for the month (along with an estimate of what your monthly bill will be, based on your current usage).  It’s so clean and simple, and they even added a super easy-to-use app for Android phones.  One click, and you can quickly see exactly where you stand.  It’s awesome!

And based on our usage over the previous 4 months with Sprint, we’d end up saving roughly $70/mo for using our phones in exactly the same manner.  But we could connect up to wi-fi and our data usage would go way down (we’ve never really paid attention to our usage before, because it’s always been unlimited).  In fact, I’ve even switched my data usage off completely, and only turn it on if I want to use it when I’m not connected to wi-fi.  I kind of like that aspect of it, as strange as it sounds.

Here’s the real kicker though.  Now that we’ve been using them for a month with two phones, it looks like we’re going to be right on the border of paying either $39/mo or $48/mo for the first month.  That’s with TWO phones on the plan!  You share the minutes, and just pay an additional $6/mo for each phone.  And you can set an alert to get an email when you are approaching any of the limits you set, and even shut off data, texts, or phone calls if you really don’t want to go above a certain dollar amount.  So you have full control over what you pay every month, in every sense of the concept.  It’s truly amazing.

I guess there’s multiple kickers (in a good way).  Here’s another one. If you’re already on Sprint, there’s no reason not to switch.  You can use your same phone*, and not even have to reset it to switch companies.  You just get the same network service, same apps on your phone, but you just get a lower price every month.  Still in a contract?  Simply find out how long it’ll take to make up the early termination fee, and you’ll still come out way ahead even if you switch right now.  Ting will even pay for part of your early termination fee as well, which is an added bonus.

In case you couldn’t tell, Ting’s really up there on my list of things I love.  YNAB would be #1, but these guys are coming in a close second.  I’ve just never been so excited to pay a cell phone bill before, and they have changed that.

Want to switch?  Click on this link, and we’ll both get a $25 credit on our next month’s bill.  Why not switch?  It’s been awesome for me so far, and I’ve read a lot of reviews on the company before I switched as well.  They’ve got nothing but glowing reviews from everything I’ve read.

* Check out Ting’s whitelist page for all the Sprint phones that can be brought over.  It’s most of the phones, but there are a few minor exceptions.

Benefits to Living on a Budget: Big Expenses

Since we budget every month, there’s a lot of work that I do to get the budget ready at the beginning of the month.  It seems like things have been getting tighter and tighter with our budget, with two kids now.  For some reason, we’re having a hard time making ends meet right now, and we’re evaluating all sorts of options to get that to change.

But my view of us having a hard time making ends meet isn’t the same as most people’s version.  We just got a bill for our 6 month car insurance that’s due, and I didn’t worry about it at all.  It’s $325, and I just let it go through without a care in the world.  That’s because I’ve been saving every month for the past 6 months to make sure it’s covered.  The same thing goes for other large expenses (Christmas comes to mind right now).  With how “tight” our budget has gotten over the past few months, we’re still saving for Christmas.  So when the time comes to buy presents, we’ll have the money to do it and not worry about it at all (as long as we stick to the Christmas budget we create every year).

If you live on a budget, you plan for all those irregular expenses before they happen.  That makes it a little tougher each month, but a lot easier when the time comes that you completely forgot about a large bill.  These sort of things make me really thankful for us living on a budget.  It’s stressful each month, but a ton easier when tough times come.

So if you haven’t started a budget yet, start reading these posts on creating your first budget.  You’ll be thankful you did when things get rough.