AT&T Next Contract Madness

I love looking at new Apple iPhones when they come out. I usually cheap out and wait until my phone kind of dies. I recently went to the Mobile Share plan after my husband got kicked out of his corporate plan. I was shocked at the great pricing (compared to my old single phone plan). I then saw this tiny print that said that if I did any new 2 year contracts, that I’d lose all of the discounts. What?

I got way too obsessed with trying to figure out AT&T’s new “Next” plans. They have these new plans where you put zero down and pay for your phones on the installment method and then you trade it in and get a new phone after a set amount of time. And, they discount your monthly charges on a family plan. I personally think that AT&T is sick of subsidizing the phones and then everyone sells their phones on eBay and they get sent around the world and they lose all that action. So, they are heavily incenting people to trade back in their phone to get cheaper monthly plans. My brain kind of exploded when I saw this and I ran a whole spreadsheet.

Honestly, this is very six or half a dozen. Here is my take on the whole thing.

– If you like to upgrade every single year, then the Next 12 is for you. You can always have the shiny new gadget.

– If you usually keep your phone about 18-24 months, then the Next 18 is for you.

– If you like to resell your own phones on eBay like me or you like to hand your phone down to someone else, you need to do:

A. On the Next 12 – wait until you’ve made 20 payments and then the phone is yours – you can keep it and hand it down to a family member or sell it.

B. On the Next 18 – wait until after you’ve made 24 payments and then the phone is yours – you can keep it and hand it down to a family member or sell it.

C. Buy the phone unsubsidized outright – you keep it and do whatever you want at any time – switch to another carrier, travel overseas and pop another SIM card in it, or sell it for premium dollars because it will be unlocked.

– If you like to start with the lowest cash outlay, but pay more each month in installment prices, I recommend the Next 18.

– If you like to get the big purchase out of the way, buy the phone outright (it will hurt upfront) and then have the lowest possible rates.

– If you like to have an unlocked phone so you can travel overseas (and pop another SIM card in it), then, I think the unsubsidized full price phone is the best. This will hurt, as you need to pay the big bucks for a brand new phone.

– No matter what you do, you get the most bang for your bucks by holding on to your phone for as long as you can. Every time you upgrade, you need to pay the taxes on the full amount of the phone – there is ZERO price break for doing any Next 12 or Next 18 installment pricing. And, every time you upgrade, you will want to pay for new warranties on your phone.

Oh yea – did I mention that when you do an “upgrade” or “trade-in”, AT&T wants a clean and tidy operable phone – so you better get that AppleCare warranty.

– In no circumstances, do I recommend doing the 2 year commitment contract with the subsidized purchase. It never came out the best pricing. And, they charge you an upgrade fee every time.

Here are some other new benefits to being on the silly Mobile Share Plan:

– I have an iPad I use a lot for travel. I used to pay $30/month for 3g of monthly data. I added it to my mobile share plan for only $10 in my 10G pool. I saved $20 right there.

– When I moved my phone to the mobile share plan, I got unlimited text and voice. That was an upgrade to my previous plan.

– We now get Free Personal Hotspot. I never thought I’d use this, but it is nice when we are traveling to let my son tether his iPod to my iPhone plan.

– For the time being, I’m going to be boring and stick with my boring 5c and my husband will stick with his 5. As long as they are both working, I’m going to hang out with the low monthly pricing.  And, when we are ready for new phones, I’ll try to suck it up and buy unsubsidized phones up front.

ATT Phone Contract Analysis

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Ty’s Lego Reviews

Ty is totally into Legos. Although, I never know if it’s more fun to build the sets or tear them apart. Ty loves watching various lego review videos on YouTube and loves to make his own. Of course, it’s pretty funny to have a 5 year old do his own product reviews. Here is his latest.

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A little more April 2011 Fun

Just a little more fun in April 2011. Ty went to Chuck E Cheese for the first time with his buddy, Adam. The place is pretty gross, but we were the only people there at 9AM on a weekday.

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April 2011

This Easter we got to attend two different neighborhood Easter Egg hunts plus Ty attended an Easter party. Lucky boy. Our house was also the host of the first annual Easter Egg DROP contest.

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March 2011

March was a dinosaur filled month. We visited Triceratops Trail up in Golden. It’s a self-guided tour of dinosaur bones. We’re so lucky to live in Colorado with som many treasured dinosaur sites.

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Ty’s 4th Birthday

Since Ty’s birthday is March 1st, it’s tough to schedule a party outdoors. But, when I saw a really warm weather report for March 1st, 2011, I called all of Ty’s friends’ parents…told them we’re on for a last minute birthday at the park. Totally low key, but very welcome for all of the little guys in the middle of a cold spring.

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February 2011

Here’s the catch-up for February 2011. Ty started swimming lessons. I found some “new” vintage furniture for the house. We visited the Dinosaur Park down in Woodland Park, CO. It was surprisingly great. And, it appears that we had a few spring-like days in February.

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Most Neglected Blog Ever

It’s totally embarrassing that I haven’t posted to our family blog in almost 14 months! Yikes, we’ve been busy. And, I spend way too much time on Facebook and Pinterest these days. But, here’s my attempt to get caught back up on our blog. I’ll try to do a blog post for every lost month!

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2011 Off to a Good Start

2011 has gotten off to a good start. Tim seems to be in Asia a little less these days. Tim has gotten some major work wrapped up on our house and it’s been a shockingly warm January, providing lots of outdoor playtime for Ty.

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Just a few pics of Ty “helping” Tim with the kitchen construction. When he sees Tim with his tools out, he runs to get his own little tools with his own tool belt. It’s hard to keep from laughing!

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Ty’s 2010 Santa Picture

It’s taken a while, but I’ve finally gotten Ty’s 2010 picture with Santa. He was so excited about sitting on Santa’s lap, but he got really shy for the picture. We took the picture at the Bass Pro Shop…hence the large animals in the background!

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