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Why I Have a Prepaid Cell Phone

Updated on April 17, 2016
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Why Get a Prepaid Cell Phone?

Maybe you're like me; I'm just not a phone person. If that's the case, a no-contract prepaid cell phone may save you money while still fulfilling all of your cell phone needs.

I hate talking on the phone and usually have no reason to. My husband got me a cell phone for Christmas several years ago, I think he paid $100 for it and it involved a two year contract that cost $50 a month. It was on an ATT plan. I got no service at my house and I got no service on the road between my home and work. I hardly ever used that phone and as soon as the contract was up I turned it off. It was just a bad deal.

I Love My Tracfone

I went along just fine for a couple of years with no cell phone at all; I didn't miss it a bit. My husband and kids said I needed one for emergencies. Finally, when I was getting ready to go on a trip, I thought I'd try out one of those prepaid "disposable" phones. I bought a TracFone at Kmart. I really love the fact that I am not obligated by a contract. If at any time I decide I don't like the service I'm getting, I am free to switch at no cost.

The phone I got is an LG Tracfone, it cost $29.99 and it came with 90 days, 200 minutes and double minutes for life. When you run out of minutes, you can add more by buying a minutes card, or you can just buy more minutes over the phone or online. So, with the double minutes, whenever I buy minutes for my phone I get double the face value of the card.

The double minute deal isn't always available when you're shopping for a phone. Sometimes you have to buy the phone and minutes separately. If your phone didn't come with double minutes, you can buy a card that will double all future minutes that you buy.

Every time you open your phone you can see on the screen how many days and minutes you have left. I always run low on days way before I run out of minutes, so all I ever have to buy is the smallest card, which is 60 minutes (120 for me) for $19.99 to get another 90 days, and you still get to keep your leftover minutes. So actually, it only costs me $19.99 for three months of phone service.

Basic No-Frills Phone

The LG Tracfone I bought is very simple and easy to use. It has the usual features, for instance it stores phone numbers for you. It gets very good reception, rarely have I not been able to get a signal. There is a variety of phones to choose from though, if you want a fancier phone. The prices range from $9.99 to about 49.99 for just the phone. My phone has a camera that is very easy to use, the only complaint I have about it is, the only way I can figure out to get pictures off the phone is to email them to myself one at a time. That's kind of a pain in the butt.

I always just use the phone for voice, I don't do much texting, but it works fine for texting. The LG Tracfone is supposed to let you browse the net, but I tried that and it is super slow. Maybe some of the fancier phones are better for that, but the LG was pretty useless for internet. It charges you half a minute to get online, then it's the same rate as voice. For texting on my phone I'm charged half a minute to send or receive a text message. I think it can vary a little with the different models. Make sure to check the package if that is a concern for you.

Is a Prepaid Phone Right for You?

For people who talk on the phone a lot a pre paid phone would probably cost as much or more than a regular cell phone. When I was out of town and my mom had a medical emergency the phone calls ate up my minutes pretty fast. But if you're like me and really only use it for necessities it may be a good deal. I really like the idea of a prepaid phone, and not being tied in to a contract. For me this really has been the best option.

An Update: I Bought a Verizon Phone

I recently bought my husband a no contract phone from Verizon because he was going to be spending time in a area where his Tracfone didn't get reception. The Verizon phone is quite a bit more expensive to use than the Tracfone. If you want to keep out of a contract it will cost you twenty-five cents a minute, no matter how many minutes you buy, and there are no double minute deals to be had. So, I paid $35 for the cheapest card and that gave him 140 minutes.

They also have a $35 month to month plan that give you 500 minutes and unlimited text and data. $50 per month gives you unlimited talk, text and data.

Much appreciated feedback - Thanks for commenting

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    • donjohnsonis lm profile image

      donjohnsonis lm 4 years ago

      Great lens, some new ideas.

    • goldenrulecomics profile image

      goldenrulecomics 4 years ago

      I have a Tracfone that I use but I don't like to be available 24/7 so I only turn it on when I want to make a call or if I am expecting one!

    • wjlambert lm profile image

      wjlambert lm 4 years ago

      I have several prepaid SIM cards that I use for any number of smartphones that I might be testing or using. I like to have the capacity to use a phone at anytime without having to pay a monthly fee. I paid $50 on each line and then if I use one the company deducts $3 for that day. Each day is unlimited use for that 24 hour period.

    • TopReviews2u profile image

      TopReviews2u 4 years ago

      I have a basic cell phone. I'm on a prepaid and would only spend about $15 every 4 months as I only text. My phone is mainly for emergencies. I recently had to buy a new one as my old charger could not be replaced. But I can set appointments and reminders which is a great upgrade from my basic old phone.

    • WebMarketingPro profile image

      WebMarketingPro 4 years ago

      I have a Tracfone too and I love it. Mine is just 1/3 unit for texting, I have about 700 minutes saved up over the years I've had it, and I pay about $80/year to keep it going. And yes, I pretty much use it for emergencies only, and sometimes as a backup when I need to catch a phone call while I'm on a webinar or teleseminar that requires phone use (no call waiting).

      I text sometimes too, but the problem is that most people assume I get my texts instantly, when most of the time, my phone lives in a drawer, turned off, so I don't have to keep charging it every day, which is a pain. Reception is okay, but it'll do, and the price is certainly right.

    • Snakesmum profile image

      Jean DAndrea 4 years ago from Victoria, Australia

      I don't have a pre-paid phone, but have been with my phone provider for years, and have a very inexpensive access plan which is no longer available. Since the phone is only used a little, and is more for security reasons, I don't need a smartphone, just the basics.

    • PaigSr profile image

      PaigSr 4 years ago from State of Confussion

      I too have a Tracfone. I like it as it has come in handy for emergency calls on more than one occasion. It is also a great way to store folks numbers. Even if I do not call them on this device I still have them with me. The hard part is I tell people that I only turn the device on when I am making calls. Its amazing how many voice mails and texts are sent to me that are days old before I get them.

    • shewins profile image
      Author

      shewins 4 years ago

      @webscribbler: You can make and receive calls just like a regular cell phone. You can also text. Thanks for stopping by.

    • profile image

      webscribbler 4 years ago

      So glad I found your article. I've been wondering how good these pre-paid phones are for some time. I just couldn't see obligating myself for $40-$60 a month for something that will most likely live in my car and only be used for emergencies.

      One thing I've wondered about these phones, can you receive calls or only make calls?

    • Faye Rutledge profile image

      Faye Rutledge 4 years ago from Concord VA

      I have a prepaid unlimited minutes cell phone with nTelos and love it.

    • Jogalog profile image

      Jogalog 4 years ago

      I used to have prepaid phone and now I'm on a contract. I'm sure I pay much more now.

    • Digory LM profile image

      Digory LM 4 years ago

      I've been using prepaid phones for five plus years now and think I've spent at least a thousand dollars less. Thanks for the lens.

    • darkflowers profile image

      Anja Toetenel 4 years ago from The Hague, the Netherlands

      I use a sim only, which means buy the phone (or have one left like me) and pay a small amount for a certain amount of minutes/text messages/use of internet. I have 70 minutes a month for only â¬3,95 I have never used the max amount of minutes hehehe ;-) Good lens! Makes people aware not to overspend on stuff like this. Have a great weekend!!

    • favored profile image

      Fay Favored 4 years ago from USA

      My husband has had one for over 10 years. No way to run up a phone bill with this phone. I know it's not for everyone, but it works for him.

    • Virginia Allain profile image

      Virginia Allain 4 years ago from Central Florida

      I think way too many people overpay for cell phone services they don't need. For folks on a budget, they really should evaluate this and try something like you tell of here.

    • shewins profile image
      Author

      shewins 4 years ago

      @Rfiskaali: My daughter keeps telling me how I would love a smart phone. She thinks I'd like it because I'm a total computer geek.

    • shewins profile image
      Author

      shewins 4 years ago

      @Rfiskaali: My daughter keeps telling me how I would love a smart phone. She thinks I'd like it because I'm a total computer geek.

    • Rfiskaali profile image

      Rebecca Fiskaali 4 years ago from Florida

      I was so like this too. I REFUSED to have an electronic leash tied to me where ever I went so I could always be contacted (a girl needs peace sometimes). So for a long time I had a pre paid phone that I kept off in my glove box "just in case" as my family stated.

      Then I met smartphones......and the rest is history. I cannot imagine life w/o it anymore. I will admit to sometimes turning my "leash" off for sanity purposes but all in all it is now a must.

    • shewins profile image
      Author

      shewins 4 years ago

      @Linda BookLady: Using the phone to keep track of phone numbers is convenient, so long as you don't lose the phone. I never thought of using it as an alarm or to calculate tips. Thanks for stopping by an commenting.

    • Linda BookLady profile image

      Linda Jo Martin 4 years ago from Post Falls, Idaho, USA

      I also have an inexpensive LG Trakfone... I wouldn't want big monthly payments for something I rarely use. It is great for when I go out of town so my loved one can keep in contact, but otherwise, I don't use it much. I never text or read the texts because they cost minutes and usually are not for me, or are from advertisers. I like it as a place to record friends' phone numbers, and I use mine for an alarm clock too, and to calculate tips in restaurants.

    • nolinel lm profile image

      nolinel lm 4 years ago

      As of January I am also going back to a prepaid. Much better...

    • profile image

      Christmas-Gifts-Ideas 4 years ago

      Prepaid are the best choice for cell phones. A lot less expensive than paying a monthly plan.

    • shewins profile image
      Author

      shewins 4 years ago

      @Teapixie LM: Amazing how fast it became expected for every kid to have a cell phone. So many people don't plan a place and time to meet to pick up their kid because they can just call when they're ready.

    • shewins profile image
      Author

      shewins 4 years ago

      @Lynda Makara: That sounds like a great plan!

    • WriterJanis2 profile image

      WriterJanis2 4 years ago

      I don't talk on my phone much, either.

    • Lynda Makara profile image

      Lynda Makara 4 years ago from California

      I'm with you on this. I have a TracFone too. It has the best service because it uses all the cell towers from all service providers. I also run out of time before I run out of minutes so I'm on a plan that gives me an extra 30 days for $5 (no extra minutes).

    • ketchingup lm profile image

      ketchingup lm 4 years ago

      I just got my first smart phone. I'm wondering what took me so long.

    • profile image

      Ruthi 4 years ago

      I have been thinking about getting a prepaid cell phone so it was good to run across your lens about the Tracfone.

    • zeff789 profile image

      zeff789 4 years ago

      pre-paid is best,controls ones spending.

    • profile image

      Simbaa 4 years ago

      very interesting..:D

    • Art Inspired profile image

      Art Inspired 4 years ago

      Welcome To Squidoo. You certainly save a lot of money by using a prepaid phone! Now you can go shopping!

    • lshields lm profile image

      lshields lm 4 years ago

      I think prepaid phones are a great way to stay away from the contract trap. Nice lens

    • Teapixie LM profile image

      Tea Pixie 4 years ago

      We have a prepaid phone for our daughter. Us adults don't carry phones. She barely uses it but it's there for emergency purposes. Some parents think we are mean or interfering with her social life. Our daughter doesn't think so.

    • Loganor profile image

      Loganor 4 years ago

      I have a Netzero prepaid because the thing has better coverage here in the wilds of New Mexico than any other company. I can easily budget for the minutes I need and never get a surprise ghastly bill. Prepaid is totally the way to go for practicality.

    • DeboraR profile image

      DeboraR 4 years ago

      Great lens. I used to have a Tracfone. It worked great for a while then my son put me on his cell phone plan.

    • DrBillSmithWriter profile image

      William Leverne Smith 4 years ago from Hollister, MO

      I am with you! Blessed, as well! ;-)

    • profile image

      johnsja 4 years ago

      I have a prepaid and so do my kids. No nasty phone bill surprises at the end of the month.

    • profile image

      jaisonvincent 4 years ago

      My samsung touch screen mobile got damaged recently. I don't like postpaid connection. I always using prepaid connection.

    • profile image

      Noveliaa 4 years ago

      Thanks for sharing these information.

    • profile image

      anonymous 4 years ago

      I have a cell phone, but no service on it, because I'm always at home and use the land line or computer. Love working from home on Squidoo earning an income.

    • SusanDeppner profile image

      Susan Deppner 4 years ago from Arkansas USA

      I have a Tracfone, too. Makes perfect sense for me!

    • Melissa Miotke profile image

      Melissa Miotke 4 years ago from Arizona

      It sounds like a prepaid phone does make a lot more sense for you. I don't like talking on the phone either though I have to pretty often.

    • shewins profile image
      Author

      shewins 4 years ago

      @pusanggala: Thanks so much for reading my lens and making a comment. You do not have prepaid phones at all? Sorry to hear that, it is such a good option for me.

    • profile image

      pusanggala 4 years ago

      Very informative :) But we don't have these phones here in the Phil. Rates differ too. Just like you I'd rather have a monthly prepaid card credit than the Post Paid plan (2 yrs or more)