When I was in high school and all my friends started getting cell phones, I promptly argued to my parents that I should have one too. They told me that I could get a phone whenever I wanted to, but I had to pay for it. So I rocked a pay-as-you-go flip phone for a couple years when I was 15 or 16. Then I got an iPod touch, and just used a texting app whenever I was on wifi. It wasn’t until I graduated high school that I started coughing up 35 bucks a month for using my brother’s 2011 Android smartphone.
Set on auto-payment, I hardly noticed the $35 slipping out of my checking account every month. Then I started tracking my monthly spending, and realized that in the last 2 years I had spent $840 on keeping my hand-me-down dinosaur of a phone alive.
That had to change.
The hours after that realization were spent researching how many texts, minutes, and megabytes I used on a monthly basis and finding what plan could deliver those numbers at the lowest price.
I found TPO aka The People’s Operator. They run off of Sprint’s network and keep their costs low by not having physical stores, and by spending nothing on advertising (which is why you’ve never heard of them). They also donate 10% of your bill to a charity of your choosing.
Their $16 a month plan ($19.51 after taxes) gave me as many texts/minutes/data that I had been using previously, and saved me $15 every month which would be $360 saved after two years. Then I started watching how much data I used, and found I could significantly cut it down by downloading podcasts while on wifi instead of listening to streaming music while biking.
So now I pay $10 a month which comes to $12.18 after taxes. My $22+ savings every month will add up to over $500 after two years. If I invest my savings for the next 40 years ($270 every year compounded annually at 7%) I’ll have an extra $57,000 lying around just from substituting podcasts for Pandora radio. Not a bad tradeoff, huh?
If you’re interested in TPO’s plans, feel free to check them out here. If you follow that link and end up using their service, you’ll get a $10 credit (and I will too, so thanks!)*
The one bump in the road that I had with TPO was that it didn’t send pictures when I first started using it, but it’s an easy fix which you can find here, and I haven’t had any problems since.
Also, if you are interested in reducing the amount of data you use, check out these tips, most of which I use and allow me to easily get by on the lowest-cost plan possible.
Happy savings friends! #MoneyGoals
*If I ever recommend any product/service on here, I will do so only if I believe that the product/service will save you money or make you money. In short, if I’m saving/making money it’s only because you are saving/making money. It’s all about the win-win 🙂
(Pictured: My good friend Sammy J modeling his state-of-the-art iPhone 4s. September, 2013. Mora, Minnesota)