Why I Have a Prepaid Cell Phone
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.