Hey Siri, Save Me Money
Following dinner one night in early July, I couldn’t find my phone and, thinking back, didn’t remember putting it away after using it on the bus earlier that day. Using my daughter’s phone, we made several calls to my phone number, all of which went unanswered. That confirmed my thought – I left my phone on the seat of a Madison Metro bus.
At this point in the Project Money journey, I had established an emergency fund and was getting the hang of budgeting, so I knew how to adjust for this unexpected expense. That peace of mind allowed me to focus on a plan, rather than succumb to stress. Metro Customer Service wouldn’t open until the next morning and the odds of recovery were 50/50, so I took to social media for advice on budget-friendly phone replacement ideas. Friends recommended purchasing an unlocked refurbished phone and looking into a mobile virtual network operator (MVNO).
The next day, I was relieved to discover that my phone had been turned in and I could pick it up that night. Still, the lingering idea to reconsider staying with a big carrier was hard to ignore. My phone would be fully paid off with July’s payment, so I began researching other options. After reading online reviews and considering my personal phone usage, I decided to make the switch!
I chose a mobile virtual network operator (MVNO) that charges a flat fee for service that mirrors a big carrier, but only charges for data according to usage. For someone who doesn’t use much data, this adjustment has the potential to significantly lower the total cost per month. I even found a referral code by searching online that saved $20 on my bill following 30 days of service!
I’m thankful for the winning combination of proper savings organization and budgeting skills that Project Money has provided. When I’ve lost or broken phones in the past (I know, I have a problem!), not having a plan in place has driven me to make costly, spur-of-the-moment financial decisions for a quick replacement, without considering all options. Participating in this challenge has been the wakeup call I needed in order to gain control over my finances!