My mom is super hard to shop for, but this year, I managed to surprise her with an amazing Valentine’s Day gift that she hasn’t stopped talking about. I purchased her a phone and plan with Walmart’s best plans, an unlimited talk, text, and web combo that she’s absolutely thrilled with. I’ve written before about my experience with Walmart Family Mobile, which offers the lowest price unlimited plans, and now it’s my mom’s turn to share in the fun.
When it came time for me to think of who I might gift with a new phone for Valentine’s Day, it wasn’t hard to figure out. My mom has an ancient phone by any standards. She’s had her phone since days after Mister Man was born, which means it’s well over ten years old. The good news is that it works. The bad news is that it only works most days and is becoming more and more unreliable. It sometimes freezes up or won’t dial unless she takes the battery out and starts over – and sometimes even that doesn’t work. My mom is 70 years old and always on the go. In the Chicago winters, this just isn’t safe.
Selfishly, I wish that she would start to text for a couple reasons. The first is that there are times when I have a quick question for her. I may not have time or want to be drawn into a long conversation, but I end up there anyway. Or she’s at bridge or otherwise essentially unavailable to talk where a quick text could be checked and answered between hands. And then there are the adorable pictures of the wee ones that I want to share with her quickly and easily that I just can’t do with her current phone. I love texting photos to bring a spot of joy to people, and I know this is going to end up being one of my mom’s favorite features. Because who doesn’t love seeing a face like this?
The good news is that it’s easy to find the perfect phone for anyone on your list at Walmart. There is a great selection of phones for the Walmart Family Mobile plan from the Concord at $49.88 all the way up to the latest Samsung Galaxy 4 and more. I appreciate that there are several phone options under $100. Some have more limited functionality because of their operating systems, but depending on what you – or your lucky gift recipient – plan to use your phone for, that may work just fine. As the Walmart employee helping me select my phone also pointed out, any of the T-Mobile phones will also work on the Walmart #FamilyMobile plan (since they run on the same network), and there are flip phones available for those who are more comfortable with that option. All you have to do is pick up an activation kit that includes the SIM card for $25 along with your new phone, and you’re ready to go.
I ended up selecting the Samsung Galaxy Exhibit for $99.88 for this #CollectiveBias campaign. It’s a great phone that runs the Gingerbread operating system, so I know my mom will be able to access the apps she wants to use. While the 3 megapixel camera isn’t the most powerful one out there, it’s perfect for grabbing those quick photos when she doesn’t have her point and shoot with her. If you’ve ever seen my mom’s collection of photo albums, you know how much she loves capturing the moment, and I know this is going to end up being one of her favorite features.
Since this was a Valentine’s Day gift for my mom, I wanted to find a unique way to surprise her. She’s also a chocolate fiend, so I purchased an old-fashioned big red heart box of candy (luckily plenty of great options also at Walmart, so it’s a one stop shop!) that I knew she’d love. Couple that with a card, and I knew she’d think she was just getting an “ordinary” Valentine’s Day gift. The surprise was going to be on her!
I simply opened up the box and removed the chocolates. This particular box had the plastic insert so I had to remove them all, but it would be fun if you have the kind that has them individually placed in paper wrappers to remove just enough chocolates to nestle your phone amidst them.
From there, it’s a cinch to just close up the box and pretend like there are chocolates inside. I wrote out a card explaining the present (just in case there was any confusion), and I was ready for my mom to open her surprise Valentine’s Day gift.
I love that I can spoil my mom by bringing her into the 21st century. She’s been talking for months – practically years – about wanting a smart phone, but she was too afraid to buy one. Her old phone “worked just fine” (no, it didn’t) and she isn’t comfortable enough with technology to make the leap herself. Fortunately, the phones are reasonably priced, and with the cheapest unlimited talk, text, and data, I can afford to start her off with a few months’ worth of service, as well. It’s a great use for my tax return money, I think!
The best part is that this is a gift that just keeps on giving. It’s so important to stay in touch with family and friends, especially when we don’t often live nearby anymore and we’re so busy even when we do. My in-laws are on the opposite side of the spectrum where they upgrade their phones all the time, so it was easy for me to snap a photo of my daughter “playing slots” at a friend’s house last night, knowing they would get a kick out of seeing her following in my mother-in-law’s footsteps. Now I’ll be able to share a lot more of these moments with my mom, as well.
And since it is the lowest price unlimited plan out there, I can use those wireless savings to create even more memories. The memories are precious and definitely one of the most important things I savor in life. Because who doesn’t want to remember this?
Needless to say, yes, my mom was surprised. And thrilled. She can’t wait to get going with her new smart phone, relegating her dumb phone (which she insists I refer to as “vintage” instead) to the annals of history. Her only request? That I give her lessons in how to use it. Of course I will!
There was only one unhappy person in the room when my mom opened her early Valentine’s Day present, and that was my dad. He wanted to know where his gift was! I offered up the hidden chocolate, and that assuaged him, but I have a feeling that I may need to check out how large a tax return I’m really getting this year and maybe get him set up on the Walmart Family Mobile plan, too. After all, each additional line on the plan is $5 cheaper than the first line you added. Where else can you get unlimited talk, text, and data for $39.88 for the first line and $34.88 for up to four more lines. And if you aren’t into the web, unlimited talk and text is just $29.88 for the first line and $24.88 for up to four more lines. Best of all, you can mix and match plans on your account to best fit each person’s individual needs.
I can’t think of a better gift that keeps on giving, can you?