Cell Phone Shopping

My wife was ready to go cell phone shopping since her 3 year term was about to expire in a few months.  Last month I did some research into prices and features for the iPhone 4 vs. BlackBerry Torch, and after careful consideration my wife decided to go with the BlackBerry Torch for her new cell phone.

According to my research, Rogers was offering the best deal on a 3 year contract, however we currently have a contract with TELUS and they just happened to have sent us a special offer to upgrade the phone early (crafty marketers, right?).

Cell Phone Shopping For The Best Deal

Cell phone shopping can be a bit stressful if you aren’t sure what you want or need.  Sometimes the sales associate will try and upsell you on a package with an unlimited plan, which may sound great at the time, but you may not need all of those extras.

We made sure to look up the total minutes and data that my wife used over the past year to determine what she would need with a new cell phone.  If you only use 100MB of data every month, why pay for 1GB or more in your monthly plan?

Related: How To Avoid The Upgrade Cycle

These new smart phones are really expensive, so to purchase the BlackBerry Torch without a 3 year contract would have cost us over $600.  Of course, the cell phone shop wants you to “lock-in” for a long term committment so they entice you with a deal for a 3 year contract.

Luckily for us, TELUS was offering an in-store deal that was better than what was advertised on their website, so we got the phone for only $149.

Being a fairly thrifty individual, what I was concerned about was the monthly recurring charges going up substantially over my wife’s last phone.  However, this deal from TELUS was offering the following package:

  • Voicemail
  • 5 Favourite Numbers Free
  • Conference Calling
  • Call Waiting
  • Caller ID
  • Outbound Call Display
  • Unlimited Messaging
  • Free Local Nights and Weekends (from 6pm)
  • Data Flex Plan (1GB per month)

This rate plan will cost us $63/month, which is actually down $3/month from the previous cell phone.

Of course the cell phone shop was not completely finished with us, as the sales associate brought over a new screen protector, a new car charger, and a variety of new skins to choose from.


Related: Why We’re Not In A Post-PC World

Not to mention the inevitable extended warranty pitch.  I declined the extended warranty but made sure to make the purchase with my American Express card which has a Buyer’s Assurance Protection Plan that doubles the manufacturer’s warranty up to one additional year.

Cell phone shopping was actually a lot of fun this weekend.  My wife got a great new phone that she really wanted, we managed to save a couple of bucks a month on the recurring monthly charges, and then we got to take our daughter to see Santa!  Win, win, win.

How about the readers, any smart phone users paying much less or much more per month?

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  1. schultzter on December 13, 2010 at 9:29 am

    I bet a lot of people fall fall for the whole “unlimited plan to avoid overage charges” pitch because they don’t really know how many minutes they use. I’ve noticed Quebec is a lot more consumer friendly so this may not be the case everywhere, but my mobile phone bill clearly shows me every month how many weekday, evening/weekend, and long distance minutes I talk; how many inbound, outbound, and short-code messages I send; and how much data (broken down into three categories) I use. So it’s very easy for me to know what plan I fits my needs without buying too much.

    • Echo on December 13, 2010 at 10:33 am

      I agree, there is no excuse for not simply looking at your past usage (minutes, data, etc) to determine what kind of plan is right for you. Most (if not all) cell phone bills will tell you this information in detail.

  2. Financial Cents on December 13, 2010 at 11:33 am

    Thanks for sharing Echo, good stuff. We might be in the same boat in 2011.

    My Own Advisor

  3. youngandthrifty on December 13, 2010 at 10:06 pm

    Cool, Blackberry Torch eh?

    I love cell phone negotiations and haggling. Did your wife renew on a 3 year contract then?

    I used to have such a great plan (without data) which only cost me $28 after tax a month including 100 long distance minutes, and when I got a smart phone (iphone4) which I absolutely LOVE, I am saddened because I don’t have my long distance minutes anymore (among other things) and am paying $56 a month after tax.

    I don’t know if your wife will need 1GB of data for a Blackberry- doesn’t the blackberry compress data so you won’t need so much of it?

    • Echo on December 13, 2010 at 11:15 pm

      $56/month is pretty good, now I feel that I got ripped off 🙂

      I know she won’t need the 1GB of data (she uses less than 200MB/month), but they included it with their special offer. Not sure if reducing the data plan down to 200MB would lower the monthly rate, but it might be worth looking into.

  4. John Goemans on October 11, 2011 at 6:25 am

    Unless you need all this feature/function for your business, why do you want to pay 60 dollars plus a month or 720 dollars per year which for most peole is 1000 dollars before tax. the latest and greatest. I bought a BB Bold 9000 unlocked on e-bay for 90 dollars and have a basic plan (25 dollars) that covers the telephone portion including id caller, limited text messaging and free weekends. I use WIFI at different locations where it is offered. I also use the camera and other functions offered on the BB standalone.

    Bottom line, as a retiree, I guess I don’t feel that to be connected all the time is that important. The phone portion is all I need.

    PS: If both members of a family (not including children) have a 60 dollar plan, that means 2000 dollars per year gross has to be earned to be always connected. I assume we all have internet at home.

    • Echo on October 11, 2011 at 6:43 am

      @John – it’s an interesting thought. I guess I look at it this way; my employer pays for my entire cell phone bill and we don’t have a landline at home. I would prefer that my wife stay connected all the time (because of no landline), and for that privilege I pay $65/month.

      Most families our age probably still have a landline and two cell phones, so I think we’re doing ok on the cost side.

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