Hello.. Telco calling

So there I am discussing cell phone plans again. And I mean again because this is a topic that comes up A LOT! People are always posting in the Choose FI Canada or Canadian Mustachians FB groups and asking what the best prices and plans are, and of course which provider has the deal of the minute. It’s also a topic that gets talked about around the lunch table at work. Well, usually after they’re done making fun of my iPhone 5, what a dinosaur. Anyway, I realized that it’s common for people to be paying $100+ per MONTH!! for their little digital addictions. People are also quite often using shared data plans and covering their kids’ plans. We could be looking at potentially $400 a month for a family of 4. I heard exactly this recently and did a little mental math, HOLY SHIT that’s almost $50,000 over 10 years!! Which compounded over 10 years at 6% annually is an astounding $67,063.88. Wow, I remember back in the day when we couldn’t even afford to get call waiting on our home phone for a couple bucks a month. Future you is definitely going to thank you if you can save and invest some of that cash instead. More on that later.

I did a little research on the big 3 telco’s in Canada. Telus, Bell, and Rogers. I went with the assumption that we’re all smart and frugal enough to pick up a used phone or use one you already have. Or at least choose the ‘free’ option from the telco. Basically, with nation-wide calling and the minimum data (1,000,000,000 bytes… wow that’s 711 floppy disks, you remember 3.5inch floppies right?) you’re going to be on the hook for approximately $85 before taxes. Add on some extra data, maybe a fancier phone and the option to call aunt Matilda in Florida whenever you like and it’ll easily be $100+. What’s an aspiring FI Garager to do?

Luckily we have some other options out there too. So, instead of being lazy and walking into that flashy, high overhead, pressure sales store in the mall, do some of your own research. Here’s a site that I came across that is a good start, planhub.ca. They have a nice search where you can enter in your requirements and then see who has the best offer. You can choose your province too, so it filters out unwanted carriers. Using British Columbia, I found that Fido (Rogers), Freedom mobile (Shaw), Koodo* & Public Mobile** (Telus) and Virgin Mobile (Bell) offer some great rates. Interestingly enough all these ‘discount’ brands are owned and run on the networks of the big telco’s. So don’t worry about not being able to upload your Candy Crush score from the houseboat.

Now because we’re all on this Financial Independence journey together we’re going to be mindful of our spending and optimize our costs, right. Right. At this point, you probably should take a good long look in the mirror and ask yourself why you need 15 GB of data and unlimited calling anyway. If it’s for business, expense that shit and stop reading this post. But how in the world are you actually going to use 15GB of data? That’s 10,665 floppy disks!!! 14 disks of data per/hour every day of the month without sleep, bloody hell. Plus, presuming your phone is plugged in, you could talk all 43,200 minutes of the month. You could totally crush the world record of 46 hours, 12 minutes, 52 seconds, and 228 milliseconds  Nice job Eric R. Brewster and Avery A. Leonard, even my mum can’t keep me on the phone that long. Funnily enough, you can get this plan at Freedom Mobile for $80, cheaper than your buddy with the iPhone xyz26 shiny as shit 1GB plan at Rogers. Well, that was a long way to get to the point that we should figure out what we actually NEED and choose a rate plan accordingly. Let’s not forget we’re going to be paying that bill, forever.

Another quick word of advice, make it a habit to call your cell phone provider once or twice a year and see if there are any promotional rates to keep you as a customer. I’ve been happily using Koodo* for a couple of years, and I’m happy with their service. But damn, $35 is just too much when I can get the same plan at Public Mobile** for $28. That’s enough for a couple of beers for the podcast! So, after a quick phone call to Koodo* to cancel my plan, they offered me a 1year promo price of $25. Now granted my measly 500MB is only going to get me 347 floppy disks of interwebs, I’ll just have to be diligent and continue my quest for every wifi code around. Oh, and you won’t get a call from me unless it’s during free evenings and weekends….

Having figured out the best plan, now you’re going to take your dog down to Mutt’s Cantina and spend all that cash you saved. WRONG, you’re going to invest that money. Although I do love the business idea of Mutt’s, I‘d definitely take my dog to a licensed off-leash bar, I mean park. Anyway, better yet, you’re going to invest that money into a Telecom Stock. I pay Koodo, who is owned by Telus. I own Telus stocks and it pays out a 4.88% dividend. Why wouldn’t I want to get paid by the very company that I pay every month? Eventually, those boys are going to be paying my cell phone bill! That’s how we roll in the FI Garage.

*As a Koodo customer, they offer a little referral bonus, so help keep the Air Compressor running in the garage and when you head over to check out the deals at Koodo click here.

** Public Mobile also has a referral plan. The person who refers gets $1 per month off their bill for as long as the person they refer continues as a Public Mobile customer. The person who is referred also receives a one time $10 credit. The Accountant and the Economist both have referral codes, we would appreciate it if you consider using either 54KKY4 or VPW283 if you plan to switch to Public Mobile.

Another great perk of Public Mobile is that you can reduce your bill to $0 by referring friends, being brand loyal, or participating in their Community.

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About the Author: Money Mechanic

The Money Mechanic is a 40 something 50% of his way to FI. Active in the FI/RE community. He is passionate about personal finance and educating others and sharing the tools you need on the path to Financial Independence in Canada.


  1. I was guided to this website/post by a friend and thoroughly enjoyed it. A very practical and informative take on how to get the best out of your cell phone plan, be it, current or new. Very funny for those of us experienced in IT and amusing overall. I for one will be changing my current $ 80 pm plan for something a lot cheaper and will send on part of the dividends to the FI Garage beer review fund.

    1. We always appreciate donations to the FI Garage beer fund!! All beers will be consumed and reviewed on-air during our podcasts. Which you can now find on your favorite player. Remember to use your friends referral numbers if you change your plan to a different carrier, you both usually get a little bonus. Cheers.

  2. Well written! Your findings make me feel a bit sick about some of my previous phone bills :$ thankfully I’ve since gotten them under control. The tip about calling your phone company frequently is a good one as no one wants to be burned by hearing that you could’ve been paying $10 less a month for the last year! As an aside, I can’t believe you still have the iPhone 5! Good for you 🙂

    1. Thanks, I’ll run that iphone 5 (it is an SE mind you!) until it croaks. I’m not really sure why I would upgrade anyway, all apps and functions suit me fine. I think the worst thing that happens is the battery life becomes intolerable. However, it’s still pretty easy to get a new battery tossed in for less than $50. Luckily this one is still pretty good. Nice work getting your bill under control.

  3. My iphone 5 lasted for 5.5 years but my battery life was intolerable. I even replaced it and it lasted a year. Now I got an iphone 8 recently and it’s great!! Just paying an extra $5 for 2 years and didn’t pay any upfront costs for phone.

    1. That sounds like a win! I think $60/year is reasonable. Did you have to lock in for the 2 years with that plan? What are the terms at the end of 2 years? Surely they won’t just hand over that iphone 8 for $120? If so, well done indeed. Cheers, Money Mechanic.

  4. Hi Guys, greetings from Mississauga! Great podcast! Just switched to Public Mobile – enjoy the Black Friday promotion referral bonus – taste some beer from my native land – if I may suggest Golden Pheasant (Slovakia). Just next to Ceske Budejovice….

    1. Congrats on the switch to Public Mobile and thanks for the referral!! We’ll definitely keep an eye out for some Golden Pheasant. Have you been able to find that in Canada before?

    2. Hi Marian,

      Thanks for the referral! Hopefully the switch is saving you a bunch on your phone bill!

      We’ll have to take a look and see if we can find a liquor store that carries Golden Pheasant. The Economist and I are going to be in Europe over the holidays so if we can’t find it here hopefully we can find some while we are on our trip.

      Thanks for listening!

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