Real quick: Thank you so much for the incredible response yesterday to "The Cheapskate Rules." You folks are the best. I'm eternally grateful for the kind words, the support, and the reviews on Amazon. And per your many requests, the book will definitely be coming to Nook, Google Play, iOS, and other platforms! Stay tuned.
Now, back to business. Most smartphones can pull hot-spot duty if needed, though usually that means paying extra to your carrier and dealing with much faster battery drain. And, lest we forget, not everybody has a smartphone. (Crazy, right?)
Another consideration: What if your current carrier has weak/no coverage where you are? A mobile hot spot from another carrier might just save the day.
For all those reasons and more, consider this: StackSocial has the FreedomPop Mobile Hotspot bundle for $199 shipped. It includes the no-contract 4G LTE MiFi 500 (aka 5580) Hotspot, 500MB of free data per month, a 2GB bonus the first month, and, perhaps best of all, a year of FreedomPop's Premier Plan.
That plan includes, among other things, data rollover, meaning any unused data from one month rolls over to the next. That's great for a no-contract hot spot like this, one that you might use heavily during a business trip or vacation, then stow untouched for a couple months. And as with other FreedomPop deals, you can earn even more free data by pimping it on social networks and the like.
To further clarify, once you own the hardware, there are no monthly fees (unless you use up your allotted data, natch, in which case you'll pay just pennies per additional megabyte). You'll have to decide -- in October 2014 -- whether you want to keep going with FreedomPop Premier, which costs
$3.99 $8.99 monthly and includes other perks like usage alerts.
Now for the bad news: the FreedomPop MiFi 500 relies on Sprint's WiMax 4G network, which isn't available everywhere. And it doesn't drop down to 3G if there's no 4G signal. Before grabbing StackSocial's deal, you'll want to head to FreedomPop's site and check to see if you've got coverage where you live. If not, you can still buy the hot spot and keep it in reserve for travel.
Update: Wow, I bungled this but good. (In my defense, this isn't clearly spelled out anywhere.) According to FreedomPop, the MiFi uses Sprint's 4G LTE network, not WiMax. And it does drop down to 3G if there's no 4G present. Also, Premier costs $8.99 per month, not $3.99 as I mistakenly reported above. My apologies for the errors!
Ultimately, if you're in a good coverage area, this is a sweet way to get 4G LTE Internet service on the cheap.
Bonus deal: It's tablet Tuesday! And Amazon Local is offering a free discount voucher good for 20 percent off up to three already-discounted recertified Kindle Fire tablets. Thus you could get, say, the last-gen Kindle Fire HD for $129 - 20% = $103.20. Or, a first-gen Fire for $89 - 20% = $71.20. Shipping is free, and these like-new models come with a full one-year warranty. There's nothing "local" about it, but it's still a great deal!
Deals found on The Cheapskate are subject to availability, expiration, and other terms determined by sellers.
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