I may be an adult who responsibly pays all of her bills on time, but I still know how to save money. In addition to my routine habits of cutting coupons and marking major sales at my favorite stores on my calendar, I pay my parents every month to be a part of a shared family plan on Verizon, which keeps my iPhone costs down. Instead of paying over $100 each month to talk, text, and check my email, I reimburse my parents $9.99 for my phone line, plus an additional $50 to cover my share of the data plan and iPhone tethering. My sister also has an iPhone (without tethering) and another extended family member piggybacks on the plan to keep her costs down, too.
The total cost for our current shared plan, which includes 2000 anytime minutes coupled with unlimited text and data that? A cool $250 monthly for five lines, which also reflects a corporate discount from my dad’s employer.
Verizon recently added the “Share Everything” plan, which allows you to share data between 10 devices. How does “Share Everything” stack up against the current (and soon-to-be retired) family plans?
Comparing the plans really depends on how much data you need. My parents each still use a “basic” feature phone, which obviously limits how much data they can consume. None of us own tablets (not even me – shocking, I know). Assuming my parents are never forced to upgrade to a smartphone, the cost of the “Share Everything” plan will be about the same according to Verizon’s calculator.
However, if you and your “family” use devices that consume more data, you’ll likely find the new plan, which limits data consumption, much more expensive than your current family plan. Simply upgrading an entire family to five smartphones from two increases the cost of the recommended plan to $300. With the current type of Family Plan this cost stays the same, as data is shared, unlimited, and unaffected by how many lines you have on the plan. (Those are a separate cost).
Adding in tablets and USB modems makes things even more complicated. Though you can have more devices than on today’s “family plan”, you must pay a fee for each device to add it to the plan, in addition to paying for the data. Going over the limit for data usage increases costs further.
Bottom line: If you currently have a Verizon Family Plan, the “Share Everything” plan is not a better option. Keep your current plan as long as possible – or consider other options.