One Year with Project FI

Last year I wrote about flipping off saying a fond farewell to Verizon and saying hello to the new kid in town, Google’s Project FI phone plan.

I was going through my numbers on Mint (at a record high thanks to low spending, payday, and a strong market) and realized it’s been a whole year since I switched to Project FI. Because I love sharing numbers and facts, I thought my readers might be interested to know how it’s been going these last 12 months.

El Nombres

Monthly cost Verizon: $110
Monthly cost Project FI: $43

Monthly savings: $67
Total savings so far: $737!

Wow! Over $700 saved on my phone alone this year! Crazy awesome.

But wait. Just because my bill is supposed to be $43 doesn’t mean that’s what my bill was each month. It fluctuated around that mark based on how much data I used. Some months I didn’t go anywhere and stuck mostly to Wi-Fi. Other months I traveled overseas and played Pokemon Go.

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As you can see, most months were in the $30 range. However, I did spend September and October traveling, so my bills for October and November are correspondingly higher. Did they average out to below $43!?!

The answer is YES! I did! My monthly phone cost averaged out to $38.91 for 2016. Which means, I’ve saved almost $800 on my phone bill this year by switching to Project FI. Pretty darn cool if you ask me. The best part is I’ll continue to save $71 a month for as long as I have this plan. Hellooooo extra burrito monies.

So…… what did my phone cost me before I switched? Behold the answer:

phone-15

“But Gwen” you say, “Why was your bill $93 last year? Didn’t you say it was $110?”

Actually, I did. My main reason for switching from Verizon was their ridiculous added fees. I was informed they were adding $20 to my bill in extra fees because I was on the grandfathered unlimited data plan, I was costing them too much money (yeah right), and they wanted me gone. Well, it worked. I used the $110 in my calculations because that’s what I would’ve paid and it’s a bigger number so my numbers look way better.

The best part about tracking my spending for (almost) everything is getting to go back and look at all the data I’ve collected.

phone_all

Since April 2013, I’ve shelled out $3500 to have the privilege of a smart phone with data. That big gap and spike in January 2015 is from when I had my plan suspended when I was in Australia, btw. I didn’t want to take any chances with overage fees after getting a $500 bill for using it in Guam for two weeks. Ouchies. (That was in 2012 before I started tracking my spending). The other high spike is from Verizon charging me one last bill and my first Project FI bill in the same month.

The Service

“Numbers and stuff are neat, Gwen, but how’s the reception!?!”

Nowadays, it’s pretty good! When I first started the reception wasn’t great. I dealt with dropped phone calls when switching towers and poor data speeds outside big cities. Not surprising considering it was a conglomeration of Sprint and T-Mobile, the two worst carriers in the US. Then, this summer, Google struck a deal with US Cellular that solved all of my issues. With 3 providers to pick from, good service wasn’t a problem unless I was in the middle of a cornfield. That doesn’t happen often so I don’t worry about it anymore.

My Nexus 6P has held up well over the year. I’ve had a case on it because I drop my phone like it doesn’t cost $700 to replace. One piece of metal on the side by the volume rocker buttons has popped up, but it doesn’t affect anything important. I have run into the battery issue a few times which is super irritating. The phone will tell me I have 13% power and then abruptly dies and shuts off. It also randomly restarts occasionally but again, it doesn’t happen all the time so I’m not making a fuss. If it gets worse, I will get a replacement from Google or just suck it up until I deem it’s time for a new one. The new Pixel works on Project FI, but it also costs a fair amount of money……. I’d have to run some numbers at that point.

The best part about the service is the overseas coverage. I was able to play Pokemon Go in London without having to sacrifice my first-born child! Not to mention being able to navigate around the city, Google restaurant options, or even just share the all important status update of me standing in front of some really cool old building. Everything costs the exact same when overseas, except for phone calls. I was charged $1.20 for calling my mom calling me to give me a rundown of the cat’s first week at their house. Thanks mom….

I literally (literally literally, not figuratively literally) could not imagine traveling overseas without a functional data plan. I have no idea how people traveled before smart phones. Even if this plan only saved me $5 a month, I would still find it 10x more valuable than my old Verizon plan for that reason alone. Everything else is just icing on the cake!

Also added this year is a group plan option. The first line is $20, but every line after that is just $15! Note that this doesn’t include data. I think it’s pretty cool though that you can see who used what data in the bill to see how much each person has to pay. That way if Timmy uses 4 gigs, he’s the one that gets to pay $80 and the rest of the group pays for their own data. At that rate, I wouldn’t mind adding someone to my plan.

In closing, things are going swimmingly with my Nexus 6P on Google’s Project FI plan. I will stay on this plan for as long as they offer it and save $71 (ish) per month while being a satisfied customer! Note, I’m not getting paid anything to say this and everything is my own opinion.

What plan do you use for your phone? Why do you like it?

24 thoughts on “One Year with Project FI

    • It should work just the same at home! I noticed the logo for 3G/4G was different but it worked great! My European friends were jealous lol

    • $33 is still pretty good though! When I move I’ll be looking at a local company for internet this time around. I’ve heard there’s now a fiber network!

  1. Being in Canada I’ve stuck to Wind Mobile since I don’t have the option of a data only plan (although I’d way prefer it). I pay $35/month + tax so around your average, I get free calls and texts Canada Wide and 2GB of Data until the speed drops (in the last month I used 400mb). Sadly it doesn’t cover all of Canada yet, just the big cities and the reception is a bit iffy at times but nothing that’s gotten me in trouble. I add $5 for roaming just to be safe when I go to the U.S or visit a smaller town.

    I’m really jealous of your plan, being able to use it in Europe is a huge plus!

    • There goes my plan to move to Canada! The roaming is a good idea in case something happens to you in the middle of nowhere (moose attack?).

  2. Ah HA, I also switched from Verizon to Google FI. 🙂 We were fortunate enough to switch to FI riiiight as they went public and were offering steep discounts on their phones, which negated our costs to cancel our contracts.

    I’ve been on FI since March 2016 and it’s been pretty all right so far. In my area, the coverage isn’t as good as Verizon. But honestly the money savings have been so extreme that it makes up for the occasional coverage issues.

    The plus side is that I’m always connected to wifi, so my cellphone bill is rarely over $30/mo (you get charged by how much data you use; there isn’t a “plan”).

    And whaaaat they offer a group plan now?!?! Dude I need to combine my account with Mr. Picky Pincher to save that extra $5/mo!!!
    Mrs. Picky Pincher recently posted…My Ten Favorite Kitchen GadgetsMy Profile

    • That’s exactly what I was thinking! You can always tell when I don’t go out – my data usage plummets since I’m connected to work and home WiFi. You should def get on the group plan. Think of what you could do with that extra $60 a year!!

  3. I got my first smartphone less than a year ago. It’s a Tracfone and cost $40. The monthly charge comes out to $5.

    I never use up the voice and text, but I have been using the data a lot in the last month and went through about 1 GB in 45 days. Another GB would be $10 I think. I don’t know how much other companies charge for data, but I can’t imagine using more than 1 GB a month unless I was watching movies or something, and that’s not what phones are for!

    I see the benefit of having a smartphone while traveling, but I’ve done a bunch of international trips over the past few years and appreciate the “dis-connected” low-tech style of not having one.
    Norm recently posted…The Marie Kondo TestMy Profile

    • When I was on unlimited data, my average use was 12 GB a month 😀 I used it for everything and didn’t have good WiFi to connect to usually. Also, lots of streaming music.

  4. It’s good to know you’ve had a good experience overall. We’re going to have to make some changes in a year or two, once our son is out on his own. Right now, we have US Cellular on a group plan (there is 8 of us on the plan). We pay $245/month with 12 gigs for all of us, so not bad at all per person. We just place data limits on each line to ensure we don’t go over. Our service is spotty when traveling outside of the Midwest (which is why we plan to switch carriers before our son flies the coop).

    • Yeah if you’re not on Verizon in the Midwest it’s very much hit or miss. I like FI because it’s cheaper AND gets coverage from 3 carriers. It’s rare none of them have coverage in one spot.

  5. I’ve actually *enjoyed* the experience of not having data while traveling. It was kind of nice not having the easy button in my pocket.

    So I really should just turn my phone off sometimes or leave it at home/in my car. 😀

    I’m still on Verizon but it’s a business phone. Google FI seems like a good option if I have to start paying for cell phone service. Particularly if doing a lot of overseas travel.
    TJ recently posted…EE Bonds For a Basic Early Retirement Income StreamMy Profile

  6. Good info – I’ve been wanting to move over to Google Fi for a while now. My wife and I are I’m still on Verizon, but our bill isn’t too bad (about $100 out the door). Still, Fi looks like a great way to save a couple bucks while playing in Google’s little experiment.

    I’ve been eyeing up the Pixel for a while so when my phone dies, I might make the switch. 🙂

    — Jim
    Jim @ Route To Retire recently posted…Wringing Out the DRIPs in My Dividend StocksMy Profile

  7. Good job finding an alternative to the big companies that works for you! We have been using Republic Wireless for over a year now. It is generally pretty good. There are some weird issues where you go to make a call, it disappears, and then reappears on your phone. And I’m pretty sure that they slow down your data once you use it too much (towards the end of the month). The bill is less than $100 for three phones with data, and one with talk and text (Mr. Smith’s dad). The special phones are somewhat expensive, but we picked up used ones off eBay. And, they have already been paid for by what we’re saving in comparison to sticking with Verizon.
    Harmony@CreatingMyKaleidoscope recently posted…Is It Financially Irresponsible To Have Another Child – If You’re In Debt?My Profile

  8. First of all, TJ is nuts. I use my phone for all sorts of navigation, then again, I’m usually hiking looking for the next food stop or geocaching like my nerdy self! 🙂

    I am a hardcore TMobile fan (and in full disclosure – a stock holder). At first I though it was all hype but traveling for work and pleasure through all sorts of countries it has never let me down. I pay $55/month including the fees and if I run out of fast data they just slow me down for free. Text and data is free everywhere I have been (besides Hungry in 2014), even deep in the jungles of Chiang Mai. 🙂 Regardless, should I ever jump ship, it is nice to know there is a similar option for price and coverage. My BF still has AT&T and is literally (OK, figuratively) paying an arm and a leg.
    Miss Mazuma recently posted…The Year is Ending -Did You Do All You Could To Meet Your Goals? I Didn’t…My Profile

    • For the record, she said that not me :p

      I loaded up on Pokemon while I was overseas. Every 3 steps is a stop! Not to mention traveling by bus and ferry was slow enough to count as walking so I got a ton of candies for walking and hatched a handful of eggs 😀

  9. Thank you for this rundown. It is quite timely! My current phone is on its last legs and I have been debating whether to try Google FI. The international data is clutch. I’ll be going overseas in January and was trying to figure out the best option for staying connected. Maybe I should just switch over to Google next month and kill two birds with one stone.

    Thanks!
    Matt @ Optimize Your Life recently posted…I Want to Know What You Want to Know!My Profile

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