Yellow's Green

The Adventures of Money Blog.

Thursday, October 05, 2006

Traps in the Toys

I love new gadgets, but not nearly as much as Erik does. He'll spend hours online (when he can find the time) reading everything he can find about any cool new gadget that piques his interest.

As I mentioned, we recently changed our phone service plan, but not before we took advantage of the phone upgrades available to us. (Erik got a new phone for free, and I got a discount.) I wanted a phone with great reception, as we live sorta in the country, and often have to stand in just the right place to get reception. I also wanted something durable. I've always had bad luck with phones falling to pieces just after their warranty is up, and with a baby around I expect phone drops and mishaps.

We picked out this Motorola V325, and I'm very happy with what great reception I get. (We do not pay extra to get the nifty "VZ navigator.) I can talk on the phone laying in bed, instead of standing on it or running outside every time my phone rings. It also feels really sturdy, and has this grippy rubber around the edges.

Erik and I were happy and impressed that Motorola used a mini USB for the charger port, rather than some proprietary plug that you'd have to go buy something special if you wanted to hook it to your computer. We were excited to get to use the camera on the phone and download them easily onto the computer. Also, I was excited to create or pick my own ringtones and upload them. The phone itself is equipped to make this happen easily.

Verizon, however, has disabled the phone's ability to transfer things to and from your computer easily. Motorola built the phone so you can easily upload your pics, but Verizon made it so you HAVE to go through them, for $.25 a pop!!!, if you want to get your pics off your phone. And no, I can't get the TMBG ringtone I want, either. Verizon has made it so you have to buy your ringtones from them.

NOT ok in my book. What's even more annoying is that Verizon isn't consistent about it. Some phones you can do these things without going through them. Erik is getting a different phone, because he would really like to be able to easily take pictures of Jasper, and not have to pay to access them! I have yet to decide if I want to sacrifice the reception and durability.

Does anyone else think this is terrible customer relations to do this? Sure, it's profitable for them - and it's really tempting to want to keep the pictures you take. But $.25/picture is more than it costs to buy film and develop hard copies!

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Share your Monthly Bills...

Our two-year contract with Verizon was finally done, and it was time to shop around. We'd been thinking of switching, but then so much of our family uses Verizon that we weren't sure.

Here's a money saving tip, that we just applied: Share your family plan with MORE of your friends and family. Now, instead of ~$75/month split between two of us, the bill will be ~$100/month split between us, two uncles, and a grandma. That makes our share $40/month for a savings of $35/month!

Also, we've been renting two to three movies a month. Hollywood Video has a monthly deal for three movies at a time, and many rentals as you want a month, for $15. We found two others who wanted to go in on the deal, added their names to our account, and now we all can have as many rentals as we want, one at a time, for only $5/month. Erik drives past the video store every day on his way to and from work, so it's no extra effort for us to pick up and drop off in person. So this will be another money saver for us, saving us about $3-$10/month.