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How to Avoid Wireless Billing Surprises so There is Money Left Over for your Child's RESP

GEAR, tech By September 4, 2012 Tags: , , , , , No Comments

I’ve been ‘around for a while’ when it comes to mobile phones. I had the original Motorola brick. – With the snazzy leather cover. (Note: it was never clipped to my belt). And I have been (mostly) loyal to one company for 15 years. So I’m reticent to try new things and ‘switch’. But I also have a panic attack whenever my cell phone bill arrives.

There are several factors that can lead to a budgeting downfall when it comes to wireless bills. Hoping that my husband – and mother – doesn’t read this, I can outline a few of my personal exploits over the past year.

Like when traveling on the Disney Fantasy and not realizing I was paying heavy roaming fees when we sailed into the Bahamas. Oops.

Like getting a $400 bill for water damage on a phone after a mild paddleboard accident.

Like being clever and putting a US text, voice and data package on my phone that cost me $100 while in the meantime owning a US cell phone with another number, which confuses people to no end and has me double-fisting as I travel.

Why do we have mobile phones? Peace of mind. Convenience. Staying connected.  Social media. Tracking our kids via GPS on the ski hill. (Maybe that’s just me). Unfortunately, this year’s ‘peace of mind’ goal turned into financial stress. And I still haven’t tucked money away into the kids’ RESPs.

September and ‘Back to School’ bring about a New Year’s-like opportunity for new beginnings, and at the top of my list is dealing with my budget: fewer shoe purchases, planning more meals and less expensive phone bills.

I’ve always had a Wind rocket stick, which at $29/month is a huge bargain. I can work on my laptop in the car while waiting for school pickups or watching the kids run around the park. I also have a Wind account for my assistant. With unlimited minutes, text and data for $40/month, it was a good choice for the business. Why I didn’t make the leap myself had to do with the amount of travel I do, flexibility and consistency. Many concerns were to do with roaming and here’s what I have since found out.

Canada:

AWAY roaming coverage is $0.20/min to make a call from anywhere in Canada or the US to anywhere in Canada or the US.  (i.e. No long distance charges within North America), but if you are not in a larger city and ‘Wind’ is not displayed on your phone, you will pay $0.20/min. Network coverage expands all the time and at the moment is strong in: Vancouver, Edmonton, Calgary, the GTA, Hamilton, Ottawa, Kitchener/Waterloo and Guelph.

Europe:

European voice roaming is only $0.20 per minute.  Hello, Paris. When I compared data prices, they were similar to what I pay now, but with Wind I wouldn’t have to add on a $15+ travel pack and estimate how much data and texting I would use.  The downside? Easy access. I could possibly still rack up a huge bill thinking it was inexpensive…moi?

United States:

I’ve been going to the US often. Here’s the deal with Wind: for a $5 per month package you pay rates of $0.10/min talk, $0.50/text and $0.50/MB for data. Texts and voice calls are cheaper than my current carrier and there are still unlimited incoming texts.

I’m starting to look at Wind kind of like the new darling of the cell phone world. With no contract, it’s a great value for the urbanites out there. So it is now time to head to the bank and top up the RESP’s (and receive the $400 per child gift from the Canadian Government) that will help to send the kids to University.

The latest smartphones from $0 on plans with no term contracts.

Being a part of a global company across 18 countries means WIND Mobile has over 200 million customers to listen to and learn from. That helps WIND Mobile provide you with the products and services you deserve, like unlimited plans that really are unlimited.

When you join WIND Mobile you can get unlimited data, text, and local talk for only $29 a month. Plus all plans include caller ID. Visit us at WINDmobile.ca

Disclosure: This post was brought to you by WIND Mobile via Glam Media Canada.  The opinions expressed herein are those of the author and are not indicative of the opinions or positions of WIND Mobile.

 

Jill Amery

Jill Amery is a mom of 2 small boys and the Publisher of UrbanMommies, a stylish digital lifestyle magazine filled with fitness, style, health, recipes and savvy mom advice to help you through pregnancy, birth, and raising your kids.

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Setting Boundaries With Your Kids About Texting

Setting Boundaries With Your Kids About Texting

FAM, kids By June 6, 2011 Tags: , , , 2 Comments

If you have pre-teens or teenagers, you are probably facing the issues that come along with cell phones. Texting may be at the top of the list!  Life isn’t as simple as it used to be when we were children…there are new tools of communication that have become the new lifelines, but, unfortunately, along with these gadgets come issues. Setting boundaries with your kids about texting is important as a parent.

Common issues with texting

These “issues” range all the way from inappropriate texting and “sexting” (including sending photos that you would be ashamed of), to driving while texting and people endangering not only themselves, but also the other people in their car and on the road.

Before You Give Your Kid a Cell Phone

Be sure to go over your rules and regulations for cell phone usage. Most schools do not allow texting during class, so that might be one of the topics that you discuss with your pre-teen or teenager. Each parent will, of course, have their own rules about texting, however it is best that you lay all of the rules out on the table and explain what the consequences will be if they step out of line.

Anna Post, of the Emily Post Institute recently spoke to UrbanMommies about manners and technology.  Gadgets can be entertaining and convenient, but every family should develop rules about the use of technology (for parents too..).  You will want to decide if these devices are allowed at the dinner table and if there is a time in the evening when they are turned off.  In addition to a downloadable ‘tip sheet’, the Top Ten Cell Phone Manners guide developed by the Emily Post Institute is very helpful.  Our favs?

  1. Be courteous to those you are with; turn off your phone if it will be interrupting a conversation or activity.
  2. Don’t make calls in a library, theater, church or from your table in a restaurant.
  3. Don’t text during class or a meeting at your job.
  4. Private info can be forwarded, so don’t text it.

Consequences

Taking the cell phone away might be counterproductive to the idea of giving your child a cell phone. Ultimately, the reason to give them a cell phone is to make it easy for you to contact them or them to contact you when necessary, so threatening to take it away when the rules are broken is a moot point.

Think about other things that you could take away, like their computer or game consoles or go back to the old-fashioned, “You’re grounded!”.  You may view texting in class less of a “crime” than texting while driving, so you can set up specific consequences for particular offenses or just one consequence for any time they are caught breaking the rules. Either way, if you lay out the rules and consequences prior to handing over the cell phone, you will know that you have at least made yourself clear.

Spy Tools – Be Your Own Detective

Okay, maybe it doesn’t sound very appealing at first, but when you think about how much you want to protect your kids and keep them safe when they are not with you in this scary and unpredictable world, the new “spy tools” that are popping out on the market can easily help you track your kid’s texting behaviors.

Putting a Stop to Texting While Driving

Some auto insurance companies have offered the option to parents who have driving-aged teenagers to install a camera in the car. This camera does not stop the teenager from texting while driving, but it will ensure that the parent will find out about it.  There is also software that detects that a cell phone is in a moving vehicle and prevents texting abilities.

As awareness spreads about the dangers of driving while texting, more companies are coming up with software, plug-ins, a special bluetooth installed in the car keys that disable cell phone emissions, and many other ideas to keep people from texting and driving.

It is vital to understand that times have changed since we were teens and to keep the communication open with your kids about texting. Whether you decide to spy on your kids or give them the benefit of the doubt, you will definitely want to have the discussion about texting and all of the issues that arise with it in order to ensure that they understand that you are “in the loop” and that there will be consequences if they misuse the trust that you are giving to them when you hand them the cell phone.

Jill Amery

Jill Amery is a mom of 2 small boys and the Publisher of UrbanMommies, a stylish digital lifestyle magazine filled with fitness, style, health, recipes and savvy mom advice to help you through pregnancy, birth, and raising your kids.

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