Taking control of expenses and trying to minimize them can be a daunting task. Some expenses seem immovable. For example, you will always have to pay your utility bills no matter what. Sure, you can try and trim usage here and there, but the bill is coming around each month either way. Same with things like food, rent, Internet, and other similar expenses. But there are some expenses you can make changes to in order to minimize them.
When I was first looking into saving money in our budget, one of the line items that consistently bothered me was our Verizon bill. We were on a family plan, but still shelling out about $80 per month for our share of two lines. This is very much on the low side. I’ve heard of friends that pay $100+ for Verizon just for their own line. Charges can get out of hand with any of the major carriers when they go unchecked.
I started shopping around and read about MVNO’s, or Mobile Virtual Network Operators. They are cell service providers that run off of large network infrastructure. One of the services I found that intrigued me was called MintMobile (it was actually MintSIM at the time). Their approach is very “Costco” in nature. You buy cell service in bulk. Instead of paying month in and month out, you pay for your service ahead of time, and since you are buying multiple months of service, you get a discount. I had to learn more.
I ordered one of their trial SIM cards where you could try out the service. They have a page where you can punch in your IMEI number to check if your phone is compatible with their service here: https://www.mintmobile.com/byop/
I have a used iPhone 6S Plus, and it supports 4G LTE with MintMobile so I was in luck. You will be too if you have an iPhone, as our experience has been very good overall. I believe it works well with Android too, although I have no first-hand experience with it. When you download their app and then go through the instructions on porting over your existing number, the instructions are fairly easy to follow, and the port is almost instant. I was a bit worried because MintMobile runs off of T-Mobile towers. My wife actually stayed on Verizon for about three months while I was on MintMobile so we could compare service. I had service in almost every place that she did. I ran some speed tests on both phones and MintMobile was actually faster in some areas in and around Portland, OR. T-Mobile is doing a pretty good job of expanding and bolstering their service quality.
Now that we have both switched over, I hardly ever even notice that I am on a different carrier. Speed is there when I need it to watch the latest tech video or browse social media. iMessage works just as well as it did before. Service has been good all along the way from Portland back to Missoula, MT and even to Bozeman. The Idaho panhandle was the only place where service struggled, but that was the case before even when we were on Verizon. Something about mountains and lots of trees that cell towers dislike.
All in all, our experience has been a very good one now that we are almost seven months into it. Would I make the switch again? Absolutely, in a heartbeat. Do I miss anything about Verizon? Mmmm not really. Their current ad campaign has me particularly annoyed, so I smile every time I watch one knowing I’m not contributing to that hot mess anymore.
So, the big question: what does it cost? Well, right now their deal is actually pretty crazy. During this holiday season, you get three months of service with unlimited talk and text + 5GB of LTE data for only $20… total. 90 days of service for 20 bucks. Come on now, that’s good stuff.
Pricing after that intro offer is still crazy good. If you opt for the 12-month payment like I have, pricing works out to $15/month for 2GB, $20/month for 5GB, and only $25/month for 10GB of data. What about overages, you ask? Well, they rock on that too. If you go over your data allotment, your speeds just slow down. No overage charges. And they don’t auto charge you for any data over your allowance for that month, it just comes in at a slower rate. If you need more data at full LTE speeds, you can tack on 1GB at a time for $10 each. Pretty sweet deal.
I realize I am starting to sound like a bit of salesman here, so I’ll cut the crap. I think the major carriers gouge users like you and me. I don’t think cell service should cost an arm and a leg. We have saved a lot of money making this switch, and I don’t imagine we will be going back anytime soon. Feel free to reach out to me in the comments or the Contact page and I’ll do my best to answer questions you may have.
As one last plug for MintMobile, they now have a referral program. If you are interested in signing up for service, you will get a $15 account credit if you sign up using this link:
If you’ve enjoyed this blog and you want to make the switch, this will help me out too! I will receive a $15 account credit for my account as well. Win-Win!