Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Tech UN-Savvy

Hubby and I entered a new era last week--we bought smart phones.  Previously we've had "dumb" phones and were part of a family plan with my inlaws.  Last year Hubby added texting to his plan, but I adamantly refused the feature for my phone.

Our family plan is up for renewal next month and Hubby decided it was time to go out on our own and get our own plan.  Pay for our own cell phone service?  Gasp!  Yes, I have been a bit of a pampered princess when it comes to cell phones.  I got my first cell phone when I was in college from my grandparents who paid for my service and continued to pay for it until I got married and my inlaws decided to give us cell service as our main Christmas present.

I admit I have been ignorant all of these years about how much it actually costs to have a cell phone.  I'm not sure if I've ever even seen a cell phone bill.  Maybe once or twice.  So when Hubby asked if I wanted to continue in my "dumb phone" ways or upgrade to a smart phone, I was shocked and appalled at just how expensive a cell phone and cell service really is.  We contemplated going the prepaid route, but the phones we were looking at, the only phones that were on the cheaper side at $350, sold out within ten minutes of being released.  New phones would not be available until January after our old contract expires--translation: no phone service at all for us if we went that route since we don't have a land line.

Since that was no longer an option, we started pricing out contract service that throws in the phones for free or at a discount versus paying the bigger bucks for an unlocked phone and sticking with the no contract route.  Over two years, the difference worked out to be only $200.  But then we found the contract phones we wanted during Thanksgiving week marked down from $200 to $50.  We jumped at the chance and now I am the proud? owner of my very own smart phone.

Within ten minutes of getting the phone in my hands, I messed it up.  Hubby had to fix it.  After over four hours on the phone with our provider, we found out our old numbers couldn't be ported to our new phones so then Hubby set us up with google voice accounts that would stay the same no matter what our cell numbers are changed to.  I set up my account and was all set to go until Hubby realized I'd set it up under my junk email account.  It took him an hour to undo my mess.  Oops.  He showed me how to take pictures (my one phone requirement was to have a good camera on it) and somehow I ended up taking 50 pictures of a chair and taking a video that ate up all of my storage capacity.  Hubby just shook his head at me and undid it.

All weekend Hubby kept asking me why I was still using my old phone instead of the new one.  I was embarrassed to tell him that I'm scared of my new phone--scared I'll screw it up beyond repair.  I've never even had texting before, so all this "smartness" is a bit overwhelming.  But Hubby is a very patient man and showed me several times how to check my email, facebook, voicemail, how to make a call, answer a call (I don't just push an on button, I have to slide my finger across the screen-who knew?!), do an internet search, and take pictures.

Yesterday I used the internet for the first time while shopping at the grocery store.  I left my printout of my mPerks coupons sitting on my printer, so I just looked up my account on my phone and there were all my coupons.  Amazing!  I sent two emails and responded to facebook statuses last night from my phone.

A week ago the whole concept of smart phones just seemed like a waste of money and another way to suck me further into the digital world.  But I'm figuring out that they're actually kind of cool.  A month ago when my Grandma and I were on our way home from visiting my sister to see her new baby and we hit a major traffic jam that wasn't going anywhere and decided to off-road it and had no clue how to get home so had to call my mom to look it up on mapquest since we also didn't have a map?  Now I can just turn on my phone and use the cool GPS app that will show me the way home.

It may not be frugal living and it's definitely not simple living, though we did get a great deal on our phones, and I'm still rather smart phone dumb, but I have two years to get used to my phone before it's time to get a new one and start all over again.

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