Re-think Your Phone Upgrade

I’ve been eligible for an upgrade for a few months now, but there’s something that’s held me back. For starters my phone has been working fine (until recently), so I couldn’t justify the purchase of a new one. On top of that if I upgrade I’m forced into a new contract which means I will lose my Unlimited Data option. If you’re anything like me, that’s kind of a kick in the head. I use a lot of data for work, and I really don’t want to resort to counting kilobytes. Fortunately, there’s a way around it.

Verizon’s current offerings are something like this –btw, I’m ignoring Talk and Text options to keep things simple here:

  • 2 GB/month for $30
  • 5 GB/month for $50
  • 10 GB/month for $80
  • Unlimited data for $29.99 (no longer offered)

At some point Verizon will change their plans and prices making the above info completely useless, however, the principles below will still apply.

All upgrades lock you in to a 2-year contract. The advantage is that you get the phone for much cheaper by signing up. Typically a new smart phone costs about $600, but they will offer it for, say, $200 if you sign up for two years of over payments –I mean, a contract. Here’s how the prices break down for a new phone today.

$650 for the phone w/out contract
$30 per month unlimited Data (only applies to customers who already have this plan)
$1,370 Two year total

$300 for the phone w/ 2-year contract
$50 per month for 5GB Data
$1,500 Two year total

$300 for the phone w/ 2-year contract
$80 per month for 10GB Data
$2,220 Two year total

In other words it’s $850 cheaper for me to buy a new phone at full price than it is to get the “discount” and pay for usage (over the next 24 months). Plus I have the peace of mind knowing I never have to worry about overage charges.

So if you find yourself in the same situation as me rest assured you don’t have to be the sucker consumer. Try buying a new phone and simply having the number switched over. Your wallet will thank you.

University of Barnes and Noble

About seven years ago I enrolled myself in the University of Barnes and Noble (UBN). It’s not very well accredited, and the classes are incredibly small; but they have some of the best teachers in the world and it’s far cheaper than any other college you’ll find.  For two years that was how I studied and learned everything I know about photography, animation, and visual effects.

The next five years were spent building my business, and I’m pleased to announce that Mud Productions turned 5 years old last February.  Lately, however, I’ve been feeling like I need a sabbatical. I’ve lasted for five years on the knowledge I had when I began, but now I want to pour myself into books and learn as much as I can so that I can take my business and my talent to the next level.

I think these feelings are very common in any creative profession. We hit a glass ceiling; we can see where we want to be but often feel limited by our experience, money, or knowledge.  We fight these feelings until the busy season comes and we are inundated with work.  It pays the bills, and we are thankful for the opportunity to do creative work, but that longing to do more and greater things hasn’t gone away.

…and so the cycle continues.

Until we reach the point where we are motivated to make a change, we will keep getting what we’ve always gotten.

For me, that point came recently and I’ve decided to enroll in another semester at UBN.  I’ve narrowed my curriculum to three main topics: Finances, Photography, and Filmmaking.

Quite possibly the hardest thing about studying at UBN is that you will only get as far as your self-discipline will allow.  Just because I have decided to read some books doesn’t inherently mean that I will be a better photographer or businessman.  Knowledge is useless until you put it into action.

For the next few months you can expect to see a lot more book reviews posted here. In an effort to put my knowledge into action I will undertake a small project and post it online every time I finish a book (this will be easy for the photography books, but I will have to get creative with the financial ones!)

What about you?  What do you feel is holding you back from doing what you want to do?