À la carte or Buffet – The $20 Cell Phone Plan

FREE iPhone X, FREE $200 gift card and FREE washboard abs. Just sign here! But before you do – realize it’s all a LIE – even the abs. All those advertisements you see for free upgrades, gifts with purchase and free iPhones are not really free, somebody pays and that somebody is you. It’s stacked against you by design. There is only one thing (possibly two) things in life that are always free: a mother’s love and this wonderful blog.

When it comes to plans for your cell phone you have two options – the À la carte or the Buffet. In theory the buffet sounds like a great deal, a food lovers dream, all you can eat for a fixed price. Fuck Yeah. Skip breakfast and go hungry. But in reality, we all know the buffet is shit and so are contract phone plans.

To get that *FREE* iPhone you have to sign up for the platinum, diamond (sounds impressive) extra large tab, 2-year plan to get the deal. But math is hard – don’t worry about it – just sign the contract, the salesman said it’s a great deal. Did anyone say washboard abs?

You can pick up an iPhone XR on a 2-year contract at the big T on a data plan that states “For moderate use only.” the cost is $175 per month. Not bad, you did good – you resisted all the other upgrades to your plan that could have resulted in a monthly bill more expensive than your first set of wheels. And you got a *FREE* phone out of the deal.

Once you sign the dotted line, this is what it looks like. $175 X 24 = $4,200 over the 2 year period. Your total cost for that *FREE* iPhone is a complete face punch worthy $4,200. And that’s what I call the Phone plan Buffet. You not only paid for the phone in FULL but you actually paid an additional $3,200 and you still have flabby abs.

A better strategy is to dump the iPhone and buy a reasonable pocket computer with a phone app for max $300. I’m being serious here as my $99 smartphone does it all. Dig deep and determine what you actually use your phone for. Do you actually need unlimited calling? Check your call logs – I bet you call a lot less than you realize. Do the same for your text messages. Are you just wasting time watching Adele, Celine Dion videos and zit popping videos on Youtube or do you actually need an 80GB data plan?

There is a better way, the À la carte option – As the name suggests, some cell phone providers let you order just what you want. And it’s still really simple folks, all you do is add the cost of the phone and pick each part of the plan that suits your needs. Koodo, which ironically is owned by the big T and also sells those ridiculous buffet plans, also has some great À la carte options. Crazy right? But before I begin, let’s take a moment for a PSA. I just want to inform all you doubters that a prepaid phone service, À la carte (AKA burner phones) are not just for drug dealers, crooked lawyers, your BIL, and people with no fixed address. There is real value here.

Koodo – Prepaid – No contract – No BS

  • $15/Month – Unlimted Text Messages – US & Canada.
  • $5/Month – 1GB Data & 600 Minutes – Booster Add on.
  • $20/Month

A complete cell phone plan for $20 bucks a month. To be fair you still need to add in the cost of your fancy smartphone that cost you at most $300. Amortize this over 24 months and your total for going À la carte would be $780 over a 24 month period. A total savings of $3,420 in just two years over the not so *FREE* iPhone buffet.

If you stuffed the savings every year into your TFSA at historic rates of return, this would end up being a cool quarter million to boost your retirement. The best part is – that you still get a fancy phone, with unlimited texting and voice and data usage. Albeit not a full buffet – which only means less Adele videos on youtube and more time to work on those abs.

Author: The Money Runner

Husband, father, runner, personal finance enthusiast and computer geek. Thanks for visiting. Please check out my other posts and follow me on Twitter and Facebook.

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