Back in 2013, when I got my very first iPhone – the iPhone 5, I was ecstatic. I’d signed up for a 6GB plan, with unlimited texting, Canada wide calls and all those other options like voicemail and caller ID that came with having one of the most expensive plans offered at the time. The price really didn’t matter for me at that point. I hadn’t planned a budget, but as a naïve young adult budgets didn’t seem like a big deal to me.
I was so excited about having the ‘best’ and newest phone, that I completely ignored the fact that I’d agreed to a 2-year contract with a $90 monthly plan on a student’s salary. I’d chosen an iPhone because it was an iPhone. Looking back, I’d say that we’re all a little bit stupid at some point in our lives, it’s part of learning. In the end, the $90 monthly plan, excluding taxes, was a lot for me to handle in addition to all of life’s other expenses.
Always upgrading for the newest thing is a popular trend, especially among millennials. But, the reality is that an iPhone 6 today will do just fine for your needs. You don’t absolutely need an iPhone 7 or 8. Technology is evolving at a fast pace, but sadly, our wallets aren’t always upgrading along with our cell phones.
After coming to this realization, I set out to make better choices and bigger savings. My plan is now $40 cheaper per month and includes exactly what my $90 plan had. Sure, I had to change mobile carrier along the way but, an extra $504 per year in my wallet easily makes up for having to switch.
Read more to see exactly how I did it.
1. I paid off my phone’s remaining balance
The biggest mistake that we do as consumers is change something that still works perfectly fine. In the end, this turns out to be an expensive habit. Continuously upgrading for the newest phone means you never fully own your device and will always pay $20-30 more for your monthly plan. Let me put it this way: you’re paying up to $360 a year for a new phone that barely outperforms your old phone. What we should do instead, is try to keep our phones as long as we can, buy used phones instead of subsidized ones and stay away from two year plans.
In order to get rid of your two year plan you must pay off your phone’s balance. To do so, simply give your carrier’s customer service a call. You can also wait until the end of your two year plan, at which point your phone’s balance will have been fully paid. Doing either of these will give you access to exclusive Bring Your Own Device plans.
2. BYOD plans: the gold mine
After paying off my phone’s remaining balance, I went on a price hunt. Really, I was searching for the company that would give me the most bang for my buck. After calling a handful of carriers, I discovered a gold mine: BYOD plans. They are the best plans offered by mobile carriers. Not only are these cheaper, but because they don’t have a fixed term, you can cancel them or make changes to them whenever you like without penalties from the carrier. Meaning that if your carrier releases a new plan or a promotional plan, you’ll be able to switch your plan without any hassle.
To shop and compare BYOD plans from the comfort of your home, use this handy tool from MobileSyrup.
I was fortunate enough to spot a 6GB promotional plan for $48 with another carrier. The only problem was that my phone was locked, which meant that a SIM card from a carrier different from my phone’s original would not work.
3. Unlock your phone
The sad reality for North American mobile consumers is that most phones are carrier locked even before they are sold and taken out of the box. Meaning that, if you find a plan with a carrier different from the original carrier of your phone, you’ll have to unlock it before making the switch.
Unlocking your phone can be done here at Unlock Buddy. It is very simple and will only require a few minutes of your time. It’s as simple as entering your phone’s information and proceeding to the checkout. Your code is then emailed to you once ready with all the information you need to complete the unlocking process on your phone.
Unlocking my device gave me more options for my mobile plan as my phone could work with any carrier. This meant that I didn’t have to settle for a plan that didn’t meet my needs and budget.
On top of saving every month, unlocking my phone has increased its value. I’ve made more money from the sale of my old phone than I would have if it hadn’t been unlocked. Unlocking my phones has also helped me sell them quickly when I was impatient to change phones.
Saving isn’t that difficult if you set your mind to it. It will require a bit of effort on your part but in the end the effort will always be rewarded. Even if you only end up saving $5 or $10 dollars per month, try to see the bigger picture. After multiple years, the sum of these savings may be enough for that vacation you’ve been dreaming of!
If you’d like to gain access to exclusive perks reserved for unlocked phones, you can check the price of unlocking your device and start the process here:
If you’d like more information on phone unlocking and its other advantages, we have a great article that will answer all your questions about phone unlocking here: Phone Unlocking 101.[/fusion_text][/fusion_builder_column][/fusion_builder_row][/fusion_builder_container]