How To Save Money Radar – March 18, 2011

How To Save Money Radar

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

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!

Disclosure: Some links in this article may be affiliate links. We're letting you know because it's the right thing to do. Here’s a more detailed disclosure on how HTS makes money.

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Balance Junkie's picture

Thanks for putting my article on your radar this week! :)

March 20, 2011 @ 3:16 pm
Sean Conrad
Sean Conrad's picture

In regards to the MBNA card - one of the problems with the site is that with the article links, there is no way to comment.

No comments there. I'm betting more folks are like me - they want to ask questions or comment on those pages, and may not be able to backtrack to a blog post with commenting to do so.

I was one who checked it out - and in the end I may move to the card - but it's not a step I will take right away. Don't worry, when I want to apply I'll come back here to do it.

March 22, 2011 @ 2:38 pm
SavingMentor's picture

Thanks Sean, your comment is much appreciated!

When I first launched, I intended it to be very different from a typical blog but it has since turned into more of a blog. That is why there is no comments available on those pages.

I may reconfigure the layout and pages in the future and possibly allow comments everywhere but right now I'm still uncertain what I want to do with the site long term. I'm not 100% happy with how it is right now, but it is good enough that I don't want to mess with it right now.

Thanks for checking out the card though. I understand you wanting to think it over first and make sure it is right for you. I don't think you will be disappointed though if you do decide to go for it. The only potential negative I have found with it is that sometimes they can be a bit slow mailing out the cheques but they always come eventually.

March 22, 2011 @ 3:30 pm
Sepp's picture

Hey, what network does pc use? would i get any reception in rural areas

March 27, 2011 @ 10:02 pm
SavingMentor's picture

Petro Canada uses the Rogers network. They aren't always the best in rural areas.

If that is the case for you, then you could consider President's Choice Telecom, which may be even better because they sell SIM cards separately for $10 without the need to buy a phone. President's Choice uses the Bell network, which typically does quite well in rural areas. I'm not sure how good coverage is with Bell's new high speed 3G network since they introduced SIM cards though. I think they upgraded pretty much all of their towers though and 3G range is reportedly better than older cell technologies so you should be good.

March 28, 2011 @ 11:34 am
Susan's picture

What are you doing with your HTC Touch? I have the same phone that I don't use and I was thinking of selling it but I not sure if it's worth the effort.

June 14, 2011 @ 11:29 pm
SavingMentor's picture

I am planning to sell my on Kijiji if I ever get around to it - but with so many new and cheap smart phones coming out these days you are right that it may not be worth the effort. You could always donate it, recycle it, give it away for free on Kijiji, or keep it as a backup just in case.

June 17, 2011 @ 10:23 am
George F.
George F.'s picture

Hello Stephen;

You need to update the date stamp to the current date here
within this webpage. Just letting you know.

September 14, 2016 @ 4:20 pm
Stephen Weyman
Stephen Weyman's picture

This was a blog post from 2011 which I have no plans to update so I don't think the date needs to be changed.

September 15, 2016 @ 1:12 pm

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