I Tried Using Google Fi For Two Weeks To See If It Was Worth Leaving My Parents' Plan For
One year out of college, adulting can still be a daily struggle; I end up watching Buffy the Vampire Slayer past midnight far too often. Not to mention the pains of trying to be independent by setting up my own health insurance, starting to save money, and making my student loan payments on time every month. One thing I've yet to do in my quest to be a real adult is get my own phone plan, so I tested out Google's new Project Fi to see if it's worth making the switch. As it turns out, Project Fi is pretty perfect for 20-somethings looking to move off their parents' phone plans.
Staying on a family plan is typically easier than breaking out on your own with more traditional phone providers, but Project Fi makes it simple and cheap. I currently have a phone plan with my mom and brother that costs $208 a month for 6 GB of data (with an extra 1 GB added on for free) and unlimited talk and text shared between the three of us, which means I'm personally paying almost $70 for 2 GB of data.
When you're young and broke like I am, every dollar counts, so my biggest motivator to break out and get my own phone plan would be to save money. Project Fi would allow me to do just that.
Google opened up Project Fi to all customers March 7, and it doesn't work like most phone plans. First of all, it operates on Wi-Fi and data, switching to a rented cellular network to make calls when Wi-Fi isn't available. Unlike overly complicated plans, the pricing is so simple it's as if it were designed specifically for 20-somethings like myself who know nothing about how these things work.
Unlimited talk and text is $20 a month and each GB of data is an additional $10, so for $50, I had 3 GB of data all to myself for a month. That's already $20 cheaper than my current plan — $20 that I could responsibly use to buy three drinks at my local bar.
I tested out the plan for two weeks on a Nexus 6P to see if it's actually worth saving that $20, using it largely to check all of my social media accounts and e-mail while on the go. I typically use about 1 GB of data a month, and during those two weeks I didn't even reach 0.5 GB — though partially because I would still instinctively reach for my iPhone some of the time. With so much data, I never had to worry about Googling where the nearest coffee shop was or streaming Beyoncé music videos while running around New York City.
Since I used so little data, I would actually be reimbursed for the extra I paid for but didn't use. If I used 1 GB of data like I normally do in a month, the plan would really only cost $30, saving me a whopping $40 a month (that's like six drinks!). It's incredibly simple to keep track of how much data you use, considering it's boldly stated online and on your phone and you're alerted when you start approaching your limit. I didn't come close to reaching 3 GB, but it was still fun to see how much data I went through each day and which apps I used the most (hello, Snapchat).
Besides saving some dough, the biggest perk of Project Fi is that international data in more than 120 countries costs the same as data in the United States. I took my new Nexus 6P on vacation to Guadeloupe specifically for this reason. Usually when I'm abroad, I can only use my phone when connected to Wi-Fi because I don't care to pay outrageous fees for international data or texting. Leaving my iPhone behind most days in Guadeloupe, I was able to look up directions when needed and Snapchat while laying on the beach — both of which would have cost on my current plan. I've never felt so free.
There's also no annual contract with Project Fi, perfect for millennials who don't know where they'll be in a two months, much less a year.
There is one major caveat: At the moment, the plan is only compatible with Google's Nexus 6P and Nexus 5X phones, and I'm an iPhone user. However, Google is offering $150 off of Nexus 5X phones through March when you activate with Project Fi to help with the transition.
If you're already on Team Nexus and/or are looking to upgrade phones as well as break free from Mom and Dad, I'd say that Project Fi would be a great option. After all, nothing says adulthood like the ability to Snapchat your best friend while building a sand castle overseas.
Images: Lauren Holter/Bustle; Google