Sunday, June 14, 2009

Here is how that "free" phone from Verizon costs you $1,000

It's not exactly an apples to apples comparison, but every time I hear someone raving on TV about free cell phones it makes me cringe, so I thought I'd hit you with a little math early on Monday morning.

Consider Verizon's Connect package which allows unlimited messaging, calls and data via mobile web. That plan comes in at a tidy $69.99/mth with a 2 year contract you'll pay $1,680 over two years.

Now let's look at the new entry from tracfone called StraightTalk. For $30 a month you'll get 1,000 minutes, 1,000 texts (33/day) and 40 mb of web data. Over two years you'll spend $720, or $960 less than the Verizon alternative.

Of course, if you are a power user that uses over 1,000 minutes/month this plan isn't for you. Also, if you just have to have the latest phone - move along - tracfone's phones are dated and you'll actually have to buy one for $20-$100 instead of getting a "free" phone at Verizon. Finally, customer service is notoriously bad at tracfone (as a Net10 user, a tracfone subsidiary, I can attest to exactly how painful it can be calling their customer service dept).

But for nearly grand in savings, I'll put up with some inconveniences.

According to this article it looks like we might have to prepare ourselves for higher food prices this fall. I don't think it's worthwhile to get into a climate change debate, but it is valid to note that:

"In Canada and northern America summer planting of corn and soybeans has been way behind schedule, with the prospect of reduced yields and lower quality. Grain stocks are predicted to be down 15 per cent next year."

Falling supply will drive up prices and that will attract traders which will drive up prices further until you're paying $6.50 a box for your Corn Flakes this fall.


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