Happy Thursday, cheeps! Quick housekeeping note: I'll be traveling tomorrow and parts of next week, but the deals will keep on coming -- just from other CNET cheapskates. And speaking of travel, here are two mobile chargers worth a look:
- The Xcentz Lipstick Mobile Charger is just $8.99 with promo code S47D7UNB. True to its name, it's a tube-shaped power bank with a 3,350-mAh battery for topping off your phone, earbuds or whatever. It also has a flashlight, which always comes in handy.
- The EasyAcc Power Bank with built-in micro-USB cable is just $9.59 with promo code 6YRAPG4I. This one is a little flat brick with a 6,000-mAh battery and, again, a flashlight. The built-in cable is a great perk, and there's a standard Type-A USB port for charging other stuff.
If you've ever shopped at a Sam's Club or Costco, you know that buying in bulk can save you money. Turns out that's true with phone service as well. Cheapskate favorite Mint Mobile, for example, offers discounts when you prepay for 3, 6 or 12 months at a time. However, Mint relies on T-Mobile's GSM network, meaning it's not an option for those who have CDMA-only phones (which typically run on Sprint or Verizon).
Here's an option that's available to just about everyone: For a limited time, you can get Red Pocket Mobile's 360-day unlimited 5GB plan for $195. That amortizes out to $16.25 per month, without question one of the cheapest plans around -- especially with that much high-speed data. Oddly, the carrier continues to sell these plans exclusively via eBay, so that's where you'll have to go.
One key difference between Mint Mobile and Red Pocket Mobile: The latter supports both GSM and CDMA phones. That means you can use nearly any model that's compatible with AT&T, Sprint or Verizon LTE, and any unlocked model that's compatible with T-Mobile. (Make sure to choose the correct SIM type before checking out.)
Beyond that, you get all the usual unlimited goodness, including 5GB of LTE data per month. The key question is whether that's enough; industry estimates suggest that the average user consumes around 6GB. If you spend most of your time connected to Wi-Fi, you're probably good. That's my situation; I rarely use more than 3GB per month.
Personally, I love the idea of paying once for a full year of service. (Okay, in this case, 360 days, because the renewals are actually every 30 days, even in months that have 31 days.) Obviously you need to be able to swing that lump sum, but assuming you can do so, the savings are real.
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