New Phone and Service March 13, 2019
From my previous post on tidying, one of the ways I was going to "tidy my finances" was to switch phone providers.
My coworker has been on Google Fi for a few years, and he has always talked about how he's used so little data, and his monthly payment was in the 30-50 dollar range every month. While jealous of his payment, I always came back with the fact that I get unlimited data. Unlimited Data!! For less than $120 a month. 120 dollars!
The company advertised it as you get unlimited data and calling for $70 a month though. However, I was on a program where you can upgrade to a phone any time you want, up to three times a year. The phone leasing and various taxes and a phone protection plan apparently cost me another $50 a month. However, I don't remember ever asking for the phone protection. I leave the old company a little bit mad at them because of that, a fact that I only discovered when I was switching, and the fact that I couldn't turn my phone in and kill me lease, they would charge me for the remainder of the lease? WTF?!? I still have the phone as the store said the main HQ will bill me later. At that point I plan on protesting it.
I'm now 10 days in with Google Fi and a new shiny Google Pixel 3 XL. Over those ten days I've used 150 MB of data. Over that same time I've used 15 GB over WiFi. I always thought I'd be crippled without an unlimited data plan, or 6 GB or whatever, but it's actually pretty easy.
Google phones offer a data saver. I thought it was new to my new phone because I never checked, never needed it. But it's there, and you only care if you're not on an unlimited data plan that is over priced. The data saver is an amazing piece of software! It will turn off background data for all apps, except for two by default, and for any that you choose to allow access to background data (none on my phone ...). My data usage is at an all time low.
To get the data so low, though, you really need to make some sacrafices. No web browsing. No YouTube. No streaming music. These can be alleviated by downloading things over WiFi. I've downloaded a few albums. I download some podcasts before I leave for work or for the office. I have plenty of material to keep me entertained for many drives back and forth to work.
It will get tricky once I need to go somewhere I'm not familiar with, and use the Google Maps app. You can download your area to maps instead of streaming that data, but traffic needs to be real time! But this isn't a data elimination, just a diet. I might go up to 1-2 GB, and that's fine, as my bill will still be less than $50. $68 less than what I used to pay.
For the phone, like I said I was leasing phones with the other company. To get rid of leases, I bought the phone on my credit card. $800 total! Yes, it's steep, but I will pay it off quickly. The way Google Fi works, it'll only ever charge you for 6 GB of data if you go over. With $20 base and $60 for data at the most expensive payment (add some taxes) for the Fi a month, I'll still pay $20+ less than the old plan. If I did that and used maximum data every month, the phone and plan switch would pay for itself in 40 months. If I use 1-2 GB a month, figuring my monthly payment is $68 or so less than my old plan, the switch pays for itself in 12 months. If I shut off data completely, I'm $93 cheaper, the switch pays for itself in 10 months. Figure I'll own this phone for a few years, at which point I can trade it in and get the next faster phone cheaper. This is big time savings and I was stupid for not doing it a while ago.
As long as Google Fi exists, I won't be on a major carrier. It's plain dumb.