If you are new to the How To Save Money Radar, then take a look at the very first edition to find out what it’s all about!
Last week I talked about the MBNA Smart Cash Mastercard and encouraged people to sign up for it because it is the best cash back credit card in Canada. I saw that lots of people clicked through to check it out, but it doesn’t look like anyone actually decided to fill out the form and complete the application! Why is that? Why not leave a comment and let us know what’s holding you back?
I’m also pretty excited this week because I’m getting a new smart phone. I’ve been using my HTC Touch from Bell now for just over 3 years and it has been great because of the $7 unlimited data plan that came with it, which hasn’t been surpassed by anyone in the entire 3 years I’ve had it. However, Windows Mobile is buggy and needs fairly regular reboots so I’ll be glad to move over to Android for good. I had tried Android out for a few weeks previously, but ended up moving back to my Touch until my contract expired in February.
Check out the “How I Saved Money This Week” for details on how I scored a sweet Android phone for extra cheap and with no contract!
Good Articles On My Radar
- Give Me Back My Five Bucks asks an interesting question: is it possible to save 1 million dollars before you retire?
- The Financial Blogger gives some down to earth lessons to be learned from the recent financial crisis.
- Finance Fox thinks about the impact of government regulations on shorter term mortgages.
- Everyday Tips And Thoughts presents 7 tips for sales people that want to be useful and relevant to consumers.
- Realized Returns has a good overview of the Smith Manoeuvre – a somewhat risky but effective way to make your mortgage tax deductible.
- Consumerism Commentary has an aptly timed post on how to financially survive a financial disaster.
- Prairie EcoThrifter lists some quick and easy ways to save money on your mortgage.
- Financial Samurai tells a captivating story about a middle aged successful attorney wondering if she has wasted her life.
- Balance Junkie demystifies both GICs and Bonds and does a nice comparison of the two.
How I Saved Money This Week
So, as I said, my contract with Bell is done and I have been looking to get a new Android smart phone but this time without a contract, for several reasons. Being in a contract: practically eliminates your negotiating power with your service provider, stops you from switching to another provider that has a service that better meets your needs or is cheaper, makes switching or upgrading your phone much harder. Therefore, I’ve had my eyes peeled for a good deal on a decent smart phone for not a lot of money.
I have been considering buying used off Kijiji or Ebay, but I admit that does make me uncomfortable for such an expensive item because I like to have a warranty and it is nice to buy very personal electronics like a phone brand new. The problem is, most good smart phones can’t be had until very recently for less than $500 without a 3 year contract. Enter the LG Optimus One from Koodoo. It is a lower end Android phone but to my surprise it has better reviews than most of the higher end phones like the Samsung Galaxy and other phones from Motorola or HTC. Price is probably a factor in the positive reviews as people buying it are likely upgrading from some seriously crappy phones, but still it was a shocker.
Even this phone you would still expect to pay $300 for off contract though. The Koodoo special is offering the phone for only $200 with no contract. But, it gets much better! Then, they throw in a $100 Visa gift card that you get 4-6 weeks after activation. You can also get a $25 referral bonus for having an existing customer refer you (they get the same bonus too). Finally, you can take another $150 off the price using the Koodoo “tab” that is like a contract but isn’t. Essentially, 10% of your bill goes towards paying down your tab every month until it is paid off. If you have a balance on your tab left when you decide to cancel, you have to pay it back.
My plan initially was to get the phone with the tab, use the cheapest $15/mth plan for 1 or 2 months until my Visa gift card comes in and my $25 referral credit. Then I would cancel the phone (paying the remaining tab) and use it on the Petro Canada Mobility network instead which is pay per use and has caller ID and voice mail included for free. Their $100 top up card has a 365 expiry as well so I could feasibly only spend $100 for a full year of service (that’s $8.50 per month). I would probably need to spend at least $25 per month to get the equivalent from Koodoo and my balance wouldn’t carry over to the next month if I didn’t use my phone much in a given month.
However, I’ve since heard that President’s Choice Mobile is now offering unlimited high speed data for only $7 a month on smart phones as long as you configure your internet settings correctly on the phone. They have also recently introduced a $100 top up card with 365 days expiry. Their per minute rate is also cheaper at $0.20/min vs. $0.25/min for Petro Canada. I still need more confirmation that this is going to work before I will take the plunge, but I am definitely considering it because you can buy PC Mobile SIM cards directly whereas with Petro Canada you need to buy an actual phone just to get the SIM card that is inside of it to use in my new LG Optimus One.
The final piece of good news is that, as rumour has it, Koodoo is dropping the price of the phone by another $50 starting today! I am going to try and get that $50 credited back to me as I haven’t opened or activated the phone yet. I can always return it and buy it again at the lower price if they won’t credit me the difference, so hopefully they will!
What does that make my final cost for the phone?
$200 + tax = $226 - $100 (Visa) = $126 - $25 (referral) = $121 - $50 (price drop) = $71.
$71 is an amazing price for a brand new very capable Android smart phone with absolutely no contract!!
Come back next week for more great articles and to find out more ways I was able to save money on everything I buy and do!