For a very long time, I thought that prepaid cell phone plans were only for people with bad credit. Basically, I believed the “mainstream” cell phone plan hype – that the minutes for a prepaid were horrendously expensive and any self-respecting person with decent credit would get a cell phone plan instead. I focused on the wrong thing – the cost per minute – instead of the actual number that mattered, which was how much I use it.
I admit, I may be the only person on the planet that simply hates talking on a cell phone. When people talk about their cell phone being their only phone and not having a “landline” at home, I cringe. I simply hate talking on my cell phone, and the only reason I have one is in case of an emergency, and for the occasional text. I do like to send and receive texts. I have two small children who I transport here, there, and everywhere, and I need the security of a cell phone in case something happens. My spouse was happy to have his, too, when my car broke down a few miles from our house in sub-zero weather.
So, I don’t use my cell phone very often. I generally would get a low-usage monthly plan, which cost, for two phones, anywhere from $50-60 a month, and call it good. But a few years ago, I started researching cheaper alternatives, and realized that for me, a prepaid phone was really a viable alternative. Once I let go of the “cost per minute” factor and started focusing on the “cost per month”, I realized that I was throwing tons of money away on minutes I wasn’t using. At the time I switched to a prepaid phone, I paid $20 every 60 days, per phone, to keep it active. For 2 phones, that was basically $20 a month vs the $60 I was paying for our family plan. I immediately started saving $40/month, or $480/year. What a difference!
Prices have gone down even further since then, and I currently pay $20 every 90 days per phone, or about $14/month for the two phones combined. I personally use Virgin Mobile, but I also used Tracfone in the past and liked it, but when we moved, our reception suffered so we switched. The other nice thing about prepaid is, since there is no commitment, if you don’t like the reception, you can just try a different one when your minutes and time run out. I have successfully gotten a free phone through a promotion both with Tracfone as well as Virgin Mobile, so my startup costs was just the minutes for the phone. And the money you don’t use in the 90 days carries over to the next 90 days once you add time/money to your phone.
I would recommend checking out a prepaid cell phone to anyone who is an infrequent user like me. For frequent talkers, a monthly plan is probably a better deal, but for people who don’t use their phone too often, like me, the prepaid plan makes perfect sense. I did a little research about what is out there right now, and I found a few companies that do the $20 every 90 days plans:
And T-Mobile has a $10 every 90 days card – which I think means they are really the best deal! But, I couldn’t confirm through the website if you only have to add $10 every 90 days or not. It seems since they have a $10/90 days card, that you would only have to add $10, but I need to check that out more thoroughly. I may be changing my plan soon…