You know those questions where people ask you if you could only take one thing to a desert island, what would it be? Well, for me it’s always been my iPhone. The one thing that connects me to the world which I could never live without (*ahem* #firstworldproblems).
But lately, you see, I’ve had an epiphany and realized that it’s not the iPhone per se that I’m obsessed with, it’s simply a phone that does awesome stuff like an iPhone does – such as getting you on the internet, providing handfuls of apps, giving you easy access to email, being able to take photos and videos and instagrams etc. Something many phones offer nowadays, no longer just the iPhone. Or, Blackberry for that matter. (Hah! Anyone still use those?)
So after 5 fun, and expensive!, years together señor iPhone, I’m afraid our time has finally come to an end. I still love you to death, but as they so eloquently put it in Hustle & Flow, “It’s hard out here for a pimp.” And we all know a true pimp must always follow his
As soon as I realized we’d be saving $100 EVERY SINGLE MONTH swapping you, I could no longer justify it anymore. I got nice and comfy with you for a very long time, but nice and comfy doesn’t always mean smart. So you shall become the first casualty of our “Challenge Everything War” this month.
Your replacement? The hipster newcomer on the scene, Republic Wireless. Who not only offers up some pretty kick-ass phones themselves, but also happens to have a kick-ass service at an even more kick-ass price (how many times can we get away with saying kick ass today? Kick ass! KICK ASS!)
Why Republic Wireless? Cash Money, Baby.
Put simply – they’re cheap as hell and offer up pretty comparable phones to that of the i. Which is key #2 in dropping the iPhone completely – saving money is great, but if you don’t find a solid replacement for it you’ll be taking a step back in the lifestyle department as well. And homey Jay don’t play that. We want to have our financial cake AND eat it too – know what I’m sayin’?
In fact, my pal Mr. Money Mustache said it the best: “Republic is becoming the Vanguard of mobile phones”, and as a recent convert and new fanboy to Vanguard myself, I couldn’t agree more. It may have taken watching 95.7% of all my blogging buddies make the switch for it to finally sink in with me too, but in the end I always pull the trigger and I’m proud to say I did it with this too finally, just like with Vanguard last month. Somebody put me out – I’m on fire!
Here’s how ridiculously cheap their plans are:
If that graphic is too confusing, let me break it down for you:
- You can have a plan for only $5.00 to $40.00 a month
- All plans include UNLIMITED CALLING
- All plans include UNLIMITED
- All plans include UNLIMITED DATA!
- There’s NO CONTRACT!!! (not in the graphic, but couldn’t wait to tell you ;))
To put it another way, my old data plan alone cost more than most those plans up there!
How can they be so awesome? It’s because they run as much as they can through your wifi before pinging the carrier directly. Meaning your calls are routed through the internet when available, and then when when not it pulls directly from the network (unless you pick the $5 plan). And this carrier they ride on is the Sprint network, and then if that’s not available wherever you are, Verizon. So you’ll always be hooked up wherever you go. And you can use it internationally too – for free – cuz it uses wifi. #BAM
And yes, before you ask, the phone quality sounds the same. At least I haven’t been able to tell the difference in the past two weeks testing them out. Your data speed can change when you’re hopping from wifi to cell and back to wifi, etc, but usually I’m not in any race to figure out when the latest un-autotuned Britney Spears song is dropping. I just see this every time in my head:
How We’re Saving $100 Switching to Republic Wireless
So how exactly are we saving this $100? Well, it’s simple really. We’re killing our $160+ a month family plan with Verizon Wireless and moving to two $25 plans with Republic Wireless (they don’t do family plans). Which is their 2nd most expensive plan, btw, which I find just hilarious. So $160 – $50 + whatever monthly taxes there are (also lower than most carriers, fyi), and we land on roughly $100.
And in truth, we’re actually saving more if you factor in those $10-$30 overages we typically get every now and then when we’re not paying attention to our monthly minutes plan, ugh… But overages won’t be a problem anymore, friends! Everything is UNLIMITED!!
Now if we extrapolate these savings over the next 12 months, we’ll be looking at a cool $1,200 saved just like that. And in five years, over $6,000. You can max out an entire IRA with that! If we only we had the balls to go down to the $5/mo plan too and come out $150 ahead every month! That’s no small potatoes… But again we’re not trying to curb our lifestyle along with the costs – we just want to save as much as we can while STILL living a kick-ass (#7) life.
“But Jay! What about their phones? How could you get rid of the beloved iPhone for – *gasp* – an Android phone! Isn’t that against mobile nature?”
Great question, bro. After the folks at R.W. were kind enough to ship me their two phones to test out, I can confidently state the following:
Their Motorola Phones Do Almost Everything the iPhone Does
Now, I’m not the best tester/reviewer on the planet (I’d probably fall under the worst of the bunch, actually), but after using both their Motorola G and Motorola X for over two weeks now, I can happily assure you they get the job done. Which, in a nutshell, means:
- They make phone calls (clearly)
- You can get on the internet with them (easily).
- You can text people (simply)
- You can download apps/play games (funnily)
- You can listen to music (yummily)
- And you can take lots and lots of big quality pictures/videos/etc (awesomely)
I should also note I’m not a tech geek, if that’s not evident by now. These two phones may differ wildly against the iPhone for all I know (their specs are down below), but as far as I’m concerned they do everything at least 80-99% just as well. Which is exactly what we’re going for here. I don’t need the best of the best, I just need it to do the *best stuff* and at the best *cost*.
[UPDATE: This comes from my friend Kyle (who is a big tech nerd!): “Glad you got the Moto X, awesome phone that runs circles around the iPhone, but you didn’t even mention the touchless control?? You get to ask your phone questions without even touching it and it responds! :) Best Moto X feature by far. It’s so nice to just tell it to remind you to do something when you get to work, or laying in bed and just asking it the time or the weather in the morning without having to move… So it does match what the iPhone can do, but also goes beyond that, which is a huge selling point for ppl.”]
Remember, I’m all about maximizing happiness and this new plan change accomplishes exactly that. Sure I can remain content with my iPhone/Verizon combo and continue going about my sexy way (and it is sexy), but why not feel the SAME WAY for a fraction of the cost? How much less happy will I be with Republic Wireless vs. iPhone central? Not much so far. It’s all about the price/quality ratio at this point, and right now I’m loving it. (I chose the Moto X btw and my wife the G.)
Here’s a quick rundown of their two phones:
There Are No Contracts with Republic Wireless
Did I mention you don’t have to sign any contracts with them? ;) In fact, not only are you contract-free, you can even *switch* your plans up to two times a month if you’d like. So if you have major A.D.D. and/or just want to see what you can live with/without, you can easily swap things around ’til you find your sweet spot. And they have a 30 day money-back guarantee too, of course.
Take that wireless companies!
Stuff You May Love or Hate (or Both):
Now that I’ve done my best to convince you how awesome Republic is, let me share some things that may send you in the other direction :) But again if you compare it to the grand plan it may or may not even matter. Just always ask yourself, “Is this better than cash?”:
- There are only 2 phones to chose from, and they’re both smart phones. The Moto G and the Moto X (both decent at least, and shown above). If you’re looking for “dumb” or flip phones, you won’t find them here. But while there isn’t much of a choice, it should also be easier to make a decision. No analysis paralysis for you!
- The phones are pretty damn big. This is great for screen size, but not so much for hanging out in your pockets. And guys don’t have the benefit of purses, unless they’re confident enough to pimp a murse – which I am not ;)
- The phones are heavily attached to Google. If you hate the idea of Google owning your life, this will freak you out even more. Last night I searched for something on my home computer, and then when I hopped on the Motorola X to search for something this morning, I saw my entire history on the phone. I’m sure there are settings to change this, but it freaked me out. The phones also try to get you to merge your email contacts and G+ and everything else you have tied into your Google life as well. On the flip side, it’s also kinda nice having everything synced up and I’ve pretty much succumbed to the idea that Google owns me and there’s nothing I can do about it unless I want to go back to circa 2004.
- There are tons of bells and whistles and wizardry. If you like being alerted every time someone farts on the internet, you’ll love the settings these phones come with. I swear my X goes off every 30 seconds and I haven’t been smart enough to adjust the settings yet.
- There’s an internet search bar at the top of each phone. This was the first major thing I noticed when using the phone, and I LOVE IT. But now I catch myself just thinking of stuff to search simply because I see that bar up there every time I turn it on! And that can’t be good for anyone… (also, you’ll look for the iPhone button at the bottom approximately 1,328 times before you realize it’s just not there.)
- It runs on the Android platform. Which surprisingly has just as many apps and games as the iOS does (iPhone platform). Though you do have to deal with the likeness of this guy everywhere:
Things You Will Definitely Not Like:
And they’re mostly related to making the switch:
- You have to buy the phones outright. The main caveat with R.W. is that you have to pay a hefty amount for the phones ($149 or $299) before you can start getting their service – a big difference from other places that offer steep discounts or give them away to you for free (even lower models of the iPhone these days!). Now as we already know you’ll probably make up the difference in a matter of months, but it’s still a hefty up front cost off the bat.
- You will have to wait, or break, your current contract to make the switch. And breaking contracts with these fools is no joke. Depending on whom you’re with, and how long you have left, we can be talking $100-$300. So do be sure to run the numbers and see when it makes the most sense to switch (if I haven’t scared you off already).
- You have to move all your stuff over. Your contacts, your pics if you want them on your phone, your music, apps, credit cards, login accounts, etc etc. Now granted you have to do this with *any* change of a cell phone plan or anything in life really, but it’s still annoying. [UPDATE: My R.W. contact emailed me this: “It is fairly easy to transfer data from both fairly recent Android phones and calendar/contact info from iPhones. Info on Motorola Migrate here :)”]
If you want to save a BUTT ton of money, and possibly up to $100 or even more depending on your own plans, switching to Republic Wireless can be your ticket. And if you run the numbers and prove it so, please – for the love of all money lovers everywhere – don’t wait forever to make the move like I did! I guestimate I’ve lost at least $1,000 since first hearing about them, bleh…
Here’s a last reminder of how kick-ass (#8) Republic is in case you’ve forgotten:
- Unlimited calling
- Unlimited texting
- Unlimited data
- No contracts
- Maximization of savings and happiness
I’d say we officially completed Challenge #1 of #3: Saving money on our cell phone bills :) Next up? Cable and insurance, ugh… But all this expense cutting means FOREVER SAVINGS!!! Gotta keep on reminding myself of that!
A surprise for you if you’re still reading…
Now, originally I was going to leave this review at that, but then I thought to myself “Why leave your readers hangin’? Sure you just showed them how to save some mad bucks, but what if you amped your blog game even higher and scored a couple free phones for them too? How much better would that be” So I asked our Republican friends (hah!), and they pulled through as expected.
Up for grabs are 2 Moto G phones to help two of you lucky bastards get started ;) Just answer this question in the comments below, and you’ll be entered to win one of these (U.S. only, sorry):
“How much would you save by switching to Republic Wireless?”
See if you can beat me! And if you’re already a baller and made the switch, tell us how much you saved already and then give the phone to that hot chick/dude you’re always trying to impress. Nothing says marriage material like savings in the bank, am I right?
**Giveaway ends Sunday July 20th @ midnight**
PS: I did not get paid to leave such wonderful words on the screen today by Republic Wireless, but I will get credit if you sign up off any of the above links. And, by credit, I mean money. As you know by now, I only pimp out products I love and use myself.
**** GIVEAWAY OVER ****
Congrats to our two winners, who will each get their very own (FREE) Moto G phone!
WINNER #1: Chris C (#254)
WINNER #2: Lindsee (#37)
Thanks for participating everyone :) And don’t let not winning hold you back from saving $HIT TONS of money over the years! Give R.W. a shot and see what happens… worst case you switch back later?
PS: Some of my favorite tools:
|Personal Capital (FREE) -- If you’re looking for a robust financial tracker, Personal Capital is the way to go! They’re like Mint, but on steroids and have much better tools for investment and net worth tracking. // Full review|
|Digit (FREE) -- A super easy (and automated) way to save. Every day Digit analyzes your income and expenses and will push money aside for you any time it sees extra sitting there. I've saved over $4,000 myself using them so far! // Full review|
|Acorns -- Having trouble finding money to invest? Check out Acorns – they round up all your transactions to the nearest $1.00 and drops the difference into an investment portfolio for you. Easy way to start investing! // Full review|