Being in the states, we are used to being on a (gulp) expensive cellular plan. We have Verizon Wireless when in the USA & thankfully they provide the option of suspending a line due to deployment. As expats abroad, I sent my travel information which states that I have an opportunity abroad and they accepted it as they offer this under their military deployment option – so they’ll hold our old phone numbers for up to three years & we can reactivate at any time with no charge.
However, and thankfully, all we have to do when coming to a new country (well, the ones we have been to) is purchase a new SIM card (which comes with a new phone number) and add minutes to the phone via scratch-off cards. This is so cost-effective and easy! People sell cards on each corner & $20 worth of (four) $5 cards gives us a month’s worth of minutes to call internationally & locally, and 15GB of data. These are the same inclusions we were spending $130/month on back in the states. One thing we realize now is that if we were back in the states, we’d definitely look at a more inexpensive plan.
It was not a financially smart decision for us to pay so much on a cell phone plan…particularly not when wifi is available everywhere and we aren’t heavy talkers. There was a time when there were no cell phones…he jokes that our boys will only get a beeper…to share. Thankfully, we haven’t been on contracts in about 7 years now and we purchase our phones second-hand (or are gifted from family members who are upgrading). It isn’t a sound investment (for us) to purchase new phones, so we also save money that way. This is one of the things we love about Africa…simplicity and freedom. What are ways you are being financially aware of communication; especially with having Internet access at home and work? Do you really need an expensive mobile plan? When last have you shopped around? For us, shopping for cards is convenient and can happen right on the corner or in traffic. Haha.