Trying to Avoid Lifestyle Inflation: Blackberry

by Kevin on May 19, 2008

Rocking the Curve

(Photo by Marvin Kuo)

I’ve got a confession to make. With all my talk of cutting down debt, using extra income to save, and overall being frugal… I pine for a Blackberry phone.

Technology = Life is Easier

I tell myself it would make things easier. It’s technology, so it must make everything easier, right? I could work faster at work (or while away at work). I could respond to blog comments and advertiser requests faster.

I could sync my calendar, tasks, and calendar and have it with me at all times.

Plus it would sooth the gadget geek within me.

I am trying to resist, but the Blackberry Curve (above) is so tempting.

The Cost is Tremendous

Our current cell phone plan is with Verizon for $69.99 per month, 700 shared minutes. We hardly go over 450 minutes in a given month. When we first got married we combined accounts and were unsure of how many minutes we would use together. In the past, many of our calls were to each other on separate wireless carriers so we used a lot of minutes. Turns out we guessed too high and have been paying for too many minutes since then.

I’ve compared the different costs associated with switching to a Blackberry phone, a new phone for my wife, and Blackberry service for the main wireless carriers in the United States.


As you can see, having Blackberry service is very expensive. I guess that’s why corporations pay for it for their salespeople.

Overview: Verizon has by far the best network, at least in my opinion. But you pay a premium for that network. The total monthly cost for two phones, one Blackberry with unlimited service, and text messaging for the two of us is $135 per month. Verizon also has the highest up front costs due to the high cost of the Blackberry though Verizon.

AT&T would have the 2nd best network, and the 2nd highest cost. T-Mobile, 3rd best network, 3rd highest cost.

Sprint is a different situation. This isn’t the standard Sprint offer — this is the sought after SERO program (Sprint Employee Referral Offer). 500 minutes, unlimited web, data, and texting, no Blackberry service, for $30 per month. We would get two individual plans, so I doubled the monthly cost. Again, this isn’t BB service, but it does include unlimited web, data, and texting. Adding Blackberry service brings the $30/month plan up to $69.99/month. If I had that and my wife had a regular SERO plan our monthly cost (before fees) would be $99.99. Still the cheapest of the bunch. Perhaps it is cheapest because Sprint’s network coverage is the worst and their customer service is terrible. I wouldn’t know, but customers have been leaving in droves all year. Rumors have it that Sprint is going to be bought sometime in the near future. You get what you pay for.

So it seems for now, Blackberry service will just be a dream for me. I can’t justify adding $50-70 on top of our current cost of $70. I would be adding probably $25 onto the cost if I got Sprint service, but then it’s Sprint and that just makes me nervous. This is the perfect example of lifestyle inflation. I don’t need a Blackberry. I want one. As I mentioned I could sync my calendar, tasks, and contacts. The only kicker is I don’t use Outlook at home and I spend 95% of my hours at work in front of a computer with all of that stuff right in front of me.

I can’t justify the cost — for now. That may change in the future.

Who out there has a Blackberry? What do you pay? Is it worth it to you?

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Frugality vs. Blackberry lust: I’m not alone! : ProVirtual Solutions
May 21, 2008 at 11:57 am


Kari May 19, 2008 at 7:28 am

We have the AT&T 550 family plan with 3 lines and 1 iPhone data plan and still only pay $95/month (including a corporate discount as well).

If you will have unlimited BB internet access, it may not be necessary to add $15 for text messaging on that line as well (although I’m not much for texting anyway). If the second line has it, you can email text messages to that line, and text responses would come right to your email, which is all included under the unlimited data plan.
So on AT&T, you could possibly save $15.

I do think having at least 1 data plan is worth it though, Google Maps alone has saved my butt more than once.

Eric May 19, 2008 at 10:56 am

I have a BB 8830 with Verizon. My wife and I are on the 1400 shared minutes family plan. I have the unlimited BB data plan (which is actually only $30 on my bill). We both have a robus text message plan because my wife uses the heck out of them (I use a few, too). My total bill each month is a ridiculous $165.


BUT…it is worth it. To me at least. I have 9 e-mail accounts going to my cell phone and the impression it leaves when you respond instantly to a concerned customer or potential client with a tag line of “Sent from my BlackBerry” is priceless. I have undoubtedly closed many deals and left a lasting impression of professionalism and reach ability with many people.

I use a lot of minutes every month. I wish I could drop down to the 700 minute plan but we routinely use about 850 minutes and the cost of those 150 minutes of overage would blow the cost of the 1400 minute plan out of the water.

If shit hit the fan for me financially I would throttle back and ditch the BB data plan and cut back on minutes. I’d also ditch my cable and any other non-necessities. But until then I enjoy the organizational assistance and professional image the BlackBerry affords me every month.

Mark @ TheLocoMono June 7, 2008 at 2:00 pm

I have a Blackberry Curve with ATT. I am Profoundly Deaf so I don’t use the voice plan which is probably the best deal for me. At the moment, ATT is currently charging $45 a month (they have been changing their rates the last 6 months to simplify their data plan).

To be honest, I don’t envy voice plans, learned to live without it all my life.

fengshui January 16, 2009 at 9:29 am

“Still the cheapest of the bunch. Perhaps it is cheapest because Sprint’s network coverage is the worst and their customer service is terrible. I wouldn’t know, but customers have been leaving in droves all year.”

I have Sprint. I’ve had Sprint for the past 8 years and have been extremely satisfied with their services. I get a signal most everywhere, and if I don’t, I switch my phone to roam and pick up a roam signal, for free. I have a discount since my employer uses sprint, so I get a 23% discount. My hubby, my parents, and I have a family plan, we all share 1500 minutes, have unlimited texting and picture mail, all for $100 a month. Can’t beat it! We have toyed with the idea of a Blackberry, but we haven’t brought ourselves to do it yet…..

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