Psst, I make money on some of the links in this post at no cost to you. It keeps the lights on around here.
If you had told me in early 2016 that I’d end up paying $20/month for my phone, I’d say you were crazy. At the time, I had heard of budget cell phone providers like Ting and Republic, but they seemed sketchy when compared to my fancy Verizon contract. No, thank you!
However, the more I read about these budget carriers, the more intrigued I was.
I’d tried everything short of promising my first-born to lower my phone bill with Verizon, to no avail. Mr. Picky Pincher and I were trapped in dead-end contracts, paying over $238 a month for the right to text and watch cat videos.
It took one infuriating phone call with Verizon to push me over the edge. I gladly paid out the rest of my contract and signed up with Google Fi. Mr. Picky Pincher soon followed, and our cell phone bill dropped to an all-time low.
It’s now been over a year since we ditched our phone contracts and signed up with Google Fi. Since our main motivator was the savings, I’m going a one-year analysis of our experience with Google Fi.
My primary motivator for switching to Google Fi was the money, obvs.
I paid $93/mo to Verizon for a meager data plan and unlimited minutes. Mr. Picky Pincher paid $143/mo to AT&T, thanks to his fancy iPhone. In total we spent $238 every month for the ability to make calls and check our email on the go. It seemed awfully expensive for what we were getting—in addition to crappy customer service.
There are quite a few budget phone carriers to choose from nowadays.
My main contenders were Ting Wireless, Republic Wireless, and Google Fi. I eliminated Ting because I didn’t like its payment options, and then Republic because of its phone selection.
We enrolled in Google Fi on March 8, 2016. From March 2016 to March 2017, we paid Google Fi a total of $732.35 for service.
A comparable one year of service with our previous carriers amounted to $2,856 a year. That means our plans with Verizon and AT&T were 3.8 times more expensive than Google Fi!
That’s outrageous! While I have qualms about the Google Fi experience (see below), the insane savings make everything worth it. If you’re still with a big carrier, I do recommend checking out these smaller carriers. Often you’ll have to pay to switch, but for us, the numbers worked out very well.
If you want to sign up for Google Fi, you can check it out with my affiliate link here. We’ll both receive a $20 credit on our accounts—which means your first month of service could be free, depending on your data usage. Ain’t a bad deal!
The Google Fi experience
Money aside, here’s a summary of our experience with Google Fi after one year.
Great customer service: I know some people say Google is taking over the world. Even if they are, I don’t really care, because they are the nicest freakin’ people. I would buy everything through Google if I could (Google Fiber, PLEASE come to our area!!). Google is always available for customer support and has always done right by us. It’s hard to please my Picky self, so great customer service is a big win in my arena.
Affordable: Naturally the savings are a huge upside!
Functional: I can still access all the same apps and features that I could access with my Verizon smartphone. I’ve always been an Android person, so I had zero issues going to a Nexus 5X. Mr. Picky Pincher switched from an iPhone, though, and it was a rougher transition for him. I converted him to Android, though. 😉
Nobody’s perfect, and that includes Google Fi. Our experience has been overwhelmingly positive, but I still have some issues.
Limited phone selection: When I signed up for Google Fi, I could choose from two to three different phones. The upside is that I could buy a used phone online on the cheap and bring it over to Google Fi. Although there’s some freedom in how you obtain your phone, the limited selection of phones is still kinda ‘meh.’
Weird service issues: This is my biggest issue with Google Fi. While they promise you won’t experience dropped calls, I still get dropped calls. Sometimes people will call me and my phone won’t even ring. People will leave voicemails and I’ll never know about them! This is completely annoying. It doesn’t happen often (maybe once a month), but it’s still annoying.
They’re still newish: The good/bad thing about Google Fi is that it’s a relatively new service. They’ve only been out of beta for a year, and quite a few things have changed since that point. Usually the changes are good (like bundling lines and saving $5/mo!), but there are still more changes than you might see with bigger carriers.
The bottom line
Although I’ve had a few issues with Google Fi, I wouldn’t go back to Verizon. I’ve seen extreme savings for overall the same service quality. And I just like Google more, anyway.
Here’s to Year 2 of savings!
We want to know: Do you use a smaller phone carrier to save money?