Alternatives to Cell Phone Contracts
Cell phones are almost a necessity these days, aren't they? Seems most people can't live without them and even children as young as six or seven have them sometimes. My seven year old asked me for one just the other day. The answer was no, although it won't always be.
Recently my husband and I needed to get new cell phones. Our phones were broken and we wanted to change our plan. This was easier said than done, we found out. Every single cell phone company we looked into required a two year contract. We were hesitant to even get into a one year contract, which we just did less than two years ago. Now, though we couldn't even find a provider that would allow a one year contract. We even went to a couple of cell phone stores to try to get phones with a one year contract and we couldn't do it.
We started trying to think outside the box at this point. We started analyzing how often we use our phones, who we call with them and why we use them. My husband rarely used his phone, however we did want him to have one because it is very difficult to get a hold of him at work without one. We found that I almost always used mine while at home to call long distance.
Our solution was to get unlimited long distance on our home phone and drop our cell phones all together. We did still want at least one cell phone though, however no contract at all. Wal-Mart sells pay as you go phones, which are perfect for us. For as little as $12.88 you can purchase a Trac Phone. The minutes are extra and last 90 days. We got our cell phone set up for under $40 and we have 80 minutes good for 90 days. I have a feeling we won't even use that many, but if we do, we can purchase more at any time.
The total cost for the whole year should be under $150. The monthly cost of our cell phones was $68. That is a savings of several hundred dollars a year minimum. For us, this is a great deal. Obviously your situation will vary, but it is worth analyzing how and why you use your cell phone to see if you can save money.
Another option we found out about through Alltel. Of course they wanted a two year contract, but they had the lowest monthly rate for a family plan with two phones. When telling them that we really didn't want a contract, they told us that we could buy a phone separately and then get set up on their plan with no contract. Wal-Mart sells Alltel phones for under $40 and if the Trac Phone doesn't work out for us, then we will purchase an Alltel phone from Wal-Mart and take it into the store to set up service with no contract. To me this is a much better deal than a free phone and a two year contract. No contract is better than a one year contract even.
Many people rely heavily on their cell phones and that is fine. We just found we didn't and that there was a better alternative for us than a family plan under contract. I think that everyone should take a hard look at how they use their cell phones and look into cheaper options. Monthly expenses like phones can really be budget busters. Taking the time to analyze why you are spending the money you spend can be an eye opener and really save you money if you make appropriate changes.