Communicating with our loved ones or someone these days is far easier compared to 2 or 3 decades ago. Most of us now carry a cellular phone or a smartphone. It is now becoming a basic necessity. It is now a part of life that many of us can’t live without it.
Cellular phones or Smart phones are considered to be one of the important inventions in the 21st century. Moreover, it is not only a tool to communicate with anyone but a powerful handheld device that is so beneficial that can do so many tasks making our lives a lot easier. With technology cellular phones have gone a long way hence it’s now called a smartphones.
While phones are getting smarter, the cost of owning one and having network service is also getting more expensive.
Buying new or second hand?
I had never bought a new phone until a few years ago. When we arrived in Canada about 12 years ago, we bought second hand phones from Craigslist and if I remember correctly it is an iPhone 3. We then upgraded to an iPhone 4 with my wife and two kids. I bet this is now funnier talking about iPhone 3 and 4. How time flies eh?
You may then ask, which one is our network provider?
Prior to landing in Canada I already did a ton of research on things that are an immediate necessity, one is having a phone and a network that works for prepaid phones.
Prepaid phones are great and you are in control of how much you will pay and use. We always avoid contract phones and never have one even when we were still living in the United Kingdom.
Key advantages for prepaid phones:
- No credit checks
- No monthly bills
- No commitments or obligations
- No contracts
The only network provider that we know at the time is 7-Eleven Speakout. After getting an unlocked phone from Craigslist we then bought sim cards at a 7-Eleven store. We activated the sim cards and bought some airtime vouchers.
Uniquely, what is great with 7-Eleven Speakout is that when you buy a voucher your airtime credit will not expire up to a year or 365 days. In contrast, other prepaid phones’ airtime expires within a few months whether you use it or not. See further details in this link for talk and text cell phone rates.
In addition, If you have not used your credit and you add airtime before it expires, the remaining airtime will carry forward for another 365 days. I believe it is the longest lasting airtime available in Canada for prepaid wireless phones.
How to use prepaid phones efficiently?
It is a pay per use and you will only be charged if you call and send a text. We basically use the phone for emergency or urgent calls. Otherwise we delay important calls when we get home using our landline phones that offer free calls Canada-wide. On average while using 7-Eleven Speakout our cost on average monthly was about $10 individually or $40 for the four of us.
7-Eleven Speakout was great and already saved us a ton of money but what if we can even cut down our phone bill down to $0? Is it even possible and is there any provider that offers a free phone service?
Enter Shaw Mobile
If you are a residential Shaw internet customer within a Shaw mobile coverage area then you may be eligible for a discount. See this link for more details.
As a BC resident, we are fortunate living in an area that has a Shaw coverage area. As a matter of fact, we have been a Shaw internet customer for about 6-8 years.
The main reason we are able to cut our cellular phone bills down to their $0 plan.
The Shaw Mobile plan offers Unlimited Canada-wide calling and global text.
How does the $0 plan work?
- You must be a residential internet customer of Alberta and British Columbia within a Shaw mobile coverage area.
- You can buy one of their own phones or you can bring your own phone to Shaw that is compatible with their current network. (For this reason, I have no option but to buy a new phone Samsung A71 that is compatible with their network)
- A one time non-refundable connection fee of $35 applies.
- Set up a pre-authorize payment on your account otherwise an additional $5.00 will be applied per month if its not activated on your account. ( The most important information to know to keep your phone bill to $0)
- You can also purchase Rollover data of $10/GB if you want internet while on the go. (Optional)
However, I don’t really need an internet or data plan as I will spend much of my time at home or at work where Wi-Fi is free. Moreover, once you are a Shaw internet customer and enroll your device, you will also have free access to many Shaw Go Wi-Fi connections in several places eliminating the need for a data plan.
Not to mention, I spend most of my time outdoors and liberate myself from constant access to my phone and just enjoying the scenery of this beautiful island and having a real conversation with your loved ones or a friend except of course taking photos of the amazing views we have on offer.
My Final Thoughts
Owning a smartphone is considered a basic necessity for communication in our generation. However, having such a powerful hand-held device can be expensive if buying it up front and running it through a network. On average it ranges from $25-100 a month per person. That’s about $ 1,200 plus taxes annually at the top of that range. Imagine a family of four!
Being frugal is a way of life. If there are ways that we can cut some of our regular monthly expenses such as a mobile phone bill without even sacrificing its significance as a tool for communication – it frees up some cash which we can either divert to other meaningful use.
In effect, these free cash flow can either channel towards additional payment of mortgage or other debts or even much better adding towards an emergency fund or growing your nest egg.
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