Budget Challenge: Can You Go Wi-Fi Only?

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Mar 02, 2015
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Activity, Budgeting, Purchase Decisions, Current Events

When you think about a teen budget, one of the larger cost items is probably their data plan (whether they pay or their parents do).  Ask your students to estimate the cost of their data plan by reviewing their individual bill or a family plan bill (in which case they will have to allocate costs among the different users).

I got the idea for this activity from a Wall Street Journal reporter who dumped his data plan and went a month living off free wi-fi.  See how many students take up the challenge.  You might want to start with baby steps…maybe one day at a time.

Here are tips on how to accomplish this (WSJ article):

To accept the challenge, follow these steps:

1. Switch your phone to “airplane mode.” This will turn off all your calling, messaging and data-network features. It also turns off Wi-Fi and Bluetooth.

2. Turn Wi-Fi back on by swiping to the settings panel. You’ll be able to connect to the Internet anywhere there is a Wi-Fi connection.

3. Continue to use apps on your phone as you normally would. Regular calls and texts won’t work, but you can go into settings and have your calls forwarded to Google Voice or Skype.

4. For text messaging, there are plenty of services like WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger or Google Hangouts, and many of these apps also offer free, high quality voice calls to other app users. If you have an iPhone, iMessage and FaceTime will still work.

About the Author

Tim Ranzetta

Tim's saving habits started at seven when a neighbor with a broken hip gave him a dog walking job. Her recovery, which took almost a year, resulted in Tim getting to know the bank tellers quite well (and accumulating a savings account balance of over $300!). His recent entrepreneurial adventures have included driving a shredding truck, analyzing executive compensation packages for Fortune 500 companies and helping families make better college financing decisions. After volunteering in 2010 to create and teach a personal finance program at Eastside College Prep in East Palo Alto, Tim saw firsthand the impact of an engaging and activity-based curriculum, which inspired him to start a new non-profit, Next Gen Personal Finance.

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