Text transcript: Money smarts in a flash
The truth about cellphones
The real cost of a cellphone
A cellphone bill can take up a big chunk of your budget. Are you sure your plan is right for your needs? Here are a few tips and tricks to help you make the right choice.
You use your cellphone to:
- Read emails and text (75%)
- Do research (60%)
- Use social media (57%)
- Manage your accounts (44%)
- Figure out where you are (43%)
- Stay informed (41%)
Before you shop
- How much you can spend each month
- Your needs: Days, evenings, weekends? How many minutes? Local or long distance calls? Voicemail, call display, call waiting? Unlimited text messages? A smartphone or something more basic?
- Do you want a plan with or without a contract?
- Contract = Monthly service agreement for a set period (usually 1 to 3 years)
- No contract = Pay for phone time as you go
Ask the right questions
Do you know about cancelling contracts and exchange policies?
Ask questions - these things are important to know!
- What's the penalty if you cancel your contract?
- What happens if your phone stops working? What if you lose it?
- What happens if you want to change plans before your contract ends?
What you need to know
Average cost of a plan
- Basic service for $35.70 a month: No internet, not many minutes, no features
- Average plan for $45.26 a month: A few features, minutes for average use, no internet
- High-end plans for $80 a month: Lots of calls, lots of features, and 1 GB of data
In 2013, Canadians paid an average of $60 a month for their cellphone. That's $700 a year!
You can end your contract penalty-free after 2 years.
If you go to the United States, using a MB of data (sending a photo for example) could cost $2 or $3. Elsewhere in the world, it could cost up to $15.
If you don't pay your cellphone bill on time, it could affect your credit rating.
The annual interest rate on an unpaid balance can be up to 40%
Calculating how much data you need
There are sites that can help you find a plan that suits your needs.
- 100 MB = 2 hrs online, 40 emails, 8 app downloads and no TV
- 1 GB = 20 hrs online, 500 emails, 40 app downloads and 5 hrs of TV
- 3GB = 60 hrs online, 700 emails, 180 app downloads and 12 hrs of TV
Travel tips: watch your data usage!
Roaming fees are always higher than local fees
- Deactivate your data when you're abroad
- Activate airplane mode on your device
- Wi-Fi is your best friend
- Get an international plan from your provider
- Buy a disposable phone or a calling card once you get where you're going
- Use a foreign SIM card
Take advantage to take a break from your phone for a while!
The data used in this infographic is from studies conducted in Canada and the United States.