As Baby Boomers have discovered, having mobile phones can get expensive real quick. First, smartphones themselves aren’t cheap. Then, most phone carriers require a two-year commitment, full of extra charges once storage or messaging limits are exceeded. It is hard to find a cellular plan for two people that doesn’t cost at least $100 monthly!
Every Baby Boomer I know has a smartphone. Boomers have embraced using texting, taking photos and accessing the Internet just like our grandkids. It’s the frequency and volume that is different. Unlike today’s millennial generation, we are not locked into a “hive mentality.” Nor do we tend to have our whole lives stored on our mobile phones. Many Boomers simply feel better having a device for making calls when away from home.
Fortunately, mobile phones and accompanying cellular plans are an area where Boomers can easily enjoy substantial monthly savings, often cutting expenses in half. How? It’s not hard.
Save Money by Buying a Smartphone on the Open Market
First, Boomers typically do not need state-of-the-art Apple or Samsung smartphones that sell for $600 or more. Besides, Apple doesn’t make inexpensive smartphones, so if you’re looking to save money it will be in the purchase of an Android-based mobile phone (which many believe to be superior to Apple devices anyhow).
How much will it cost you? Boomers can find quite a selection of Android smartphones for under $100, with prices for some starting as low as $40. Just check out these recent articles:
In addition, the next time you are at Walmart, Target or even your local super market, look at the deals they offer on “unlocked” smartphones not tied to a specific carrier plan. We found bargains for some pretty nifty devices like the Posh Revel and Blu Studio priced under $70.
Find a Cheap Wireless Plan
A smartphone by itself is of little use without a carrier to provide the communications network. AARP endorses Consumer Cellular which has plans that start for as little as $10 monthly. There are no contracts or hidden fees. Jitterbug and Tello are other outfits to evaluate. For a broader perspective, see Best Cell Phone Plans and Deals for 2017.
Even traditional carriers are being forced to align to market trends. A recent survey by Consumer Reports states: “One bright note from the “cell war” chaos between the Big Four carriers, where more than 80 percent of our survey responders get their cell service, is the appearance of no-contract plans. No-contract plans separate the purchase of the phone from the service charges. This effectively gives you an interest-free loan for the smartphone that you can pay off over about two years. When you’ve paid off the phone, your monthly bill goes down accordingly. And there are no termination fees; if you want to leave the carrier, you just pay any remaining balance on the phone.”
Do You really Need a Landline?
If you and your spouse both have mobile phones, do you really need a landline? Traditionally, people have hung onto their landlines because it is believed they would still be operable in the event of a disaster, such as after an earthquake. As phone companies move away from copper (which transmits electricity) to fiber optics (which doesn’t), however, the risk of having landlines go down in the event of earthquakes and other disasters is much greater. So, it’s possible your landline no longer offers a benefit in the event of an emergency. If not, who needs it?! Discontinuing a landline could instantly save you $20-$40 monthly! You’re probably better off spending that money on a battery backup system for your home or just pocketing the savings.
The Bottom Line for Baby Boomers
If you are a Boomer looking for ways to save money, getting rid of your locked cellular plan is one of the first things to consider. And probably your landline too! Doing this can easily put an extra $100 or more into your pocket every month without sacrificing essential smartphone or calling capabilities.