Why Didn’t I Get A PrePaid Cell Phone Sooner?

Double Minutes for Life with Samsung T245GSince I got my first cell phone many years ago, I had been paying $60 a month on average. That’s $720 every year for a cell phone. I know that probably sounds like nothing to all you smartphone users, but for me…it’s a lot.

While I would love to have a shiny new iPhone and be able to get online no matter where I am, I’m not willing to spend that much money. Granted you can always sell your iPhone for much more than most other models, but that’s not enough (for me) to make up for the cost. You can call me cheap, it’s okay—it doesn’t hurt my feelings one bit.

It’s just unrealistic and unnecessary for me to spend a lot of money on a cell phone right now. Since we only have one car, I’m stuck at home most of the time. At home, we have the internet and a phone, so it’s not important to have the internet or lots of minutes when I’m out.

When we buy a second car, depending on the circumstances, I might need more…but I doubt it. I’m still confident that my little prepaid phone will be enough to get me by until I get home. Maybe I’m not cool because I don’t have a smartphone like everybody else, but I don’t care. I have what I need and I’m saving a ton of money every month.

Some people actually have to own smartphones because of their jobs, they have to be able to work online and be available 24/7. In those cases, they should either be covered by the employer, discounted in some manner or be able to be written off as a business expense.

Originally, getting a prepaid cell phone was a temporary fix. I was on a family plan with my mom for years, then all of the sudden she switched over to a Verizon family plan with her husband. I can’t blame her, we had T-mobile and it sucked. I couldn’t even get reception 99% of the time in our apartment and they kept telling me nothing was wrong.

I didn’t have much time to come up with a solution, so I cancelled my service with T-mobile and started researching prepaid cell phones. I ended up decided on TracFone and haven’t regretted it once. I love the idea of double or triple minutes for life. I don’t really talk on the phone much, so my main concern would be service days.

When I bought the phone, on September 1st, 2012, it cost $54.18 (after tax) for the phone, double minutes for life and a 200 minute airtime card (which doubled to 400 minutes because of the double minutes feature). I still have a few service days and a little bit of minutes left and it’s been over 4 months. That’s just awesome.

I’m still able to make calls when I’m out and if our power goes out, I’m good to go. Why didn’t I get a prepaid cell phone sooner? I could have saved so much money over the years and had better reception at the same time.

My T-mobile cell phone didn’t even get any reception at all in our new house. I had to drive up to the freeway to get a bar, that’s just ridiculous. I’m so glad that we ended up switching to a prepaid cellphone before we moved into our new house.

If you don’t talk on the phone a ton and you can go a few hours without the internet, you should at least consider trying a prepaid phone. My phone doesn’t have all the bells and whistles, but it gets the job done and helps me to save a ton of money.

For some people, ditching their smartphone is never going to happen. But we all have different priorities and spending habits. :-)

Have you ever tried a prepaid phone?
What do you like or not like about prepaid phones?

 Go wireless without contracts!

About Jen Perkins

Likes: saving money, being debt free (aside from our house), zombies, travel, getting money, blogging and dogs. Dislikes: debt, being broke, bunnies, wasting money, not having enough money to travel the world and paying interest. Facebook  ♥  Twitter  ♥  Google+  ♥  RSS


Why Didn’t I Get A PrePaid Cell Phone Sooner? — 34 Comments

  1. Jen,
    I don’t have a prepaid cell phone, but I have an old cell phone. It does what I need: makes calls and sends texts. There’s no Internet capabilities, so I avoid data plans and save money that way.

    Also, I never liked having a smart phone. I never felt disconnected.

    -Christian L. @ Smart Military Money

  2. I don’t own a cell phone that is active in Canada. When I lived in the UK I had a pre-paid phone that I enjoyed but not since moving here. The prices in my opinion are rubbish. I don’t need a fancy Iphone either.. my life can wait until I get home to get on the net if I have to. When I moved here I did get minutes for my phone which were rubbish because if you didn’t use them you would lose them. How silly is that? Back home if I put $100 on my phone it would stay on my phone or roll over the next year.
    Canadian Budget Binder recently posted..Why Has My House Not Sold?My Profile

  3. I am so glad I ditched the contract phones. Work in front of the computer most of the day, so really do not need a smartphone that often.

    And with google you can use voice and send text messages from your gmail.

  4. $60 is a lot if you don’t talk that much. This is iPhone territory I think.

    Prepaid can be a good deal. For £5 we had one from Asda Mobile (owned by WalMart). That £5 lasted ages. But it was a reserve phone and had to be topped up every 6 months or so and the individual calls were expensive. We fobbed it off on our youngest son but eventually he of course wanted a smartphone. For £10 a month he has a nice little Samsung Ace (I think it is) which includes a small amount of internet.

    Some time ago Vodafone carried out a survey and I reported 5/10 for many things. They rang up and I explained that our (then) phones were pretty rubbish (Nokia n900’s) and that the battery life was poor because of our signal area. After checking, I got the contract shortened to 18 months and a signal booster which is registered to all our phones.
    John@MoneyPrinciple recently posted..Credit Scores – Knowledge Is PowerMy Profile

  5. I don’t like messing with top-up cards. I have a no-contract plan with auto-billing instead. I’m paying half of what I was at AT&T.

    We also don’t have home phone service, so I use my cellphone for all phone calls. As such, I’m using between 300-500 minutes per month. Living in the motel room these past few days, I’ve also been leaning heavily on my data plan as well.
    Edward Antrobus recently posted..Do You Have What It Takes to Be a Paper Boy?My Profile

  6. I think prepaid phones are an awesome idea if you’re not a heavy phone user. It can be a big savings for people.

    For me, I take public transit to work, and I’m pretty much a smartphone addict. I went to a super cheap provider as my solution. I think prepaid would be a mistake for me. I’m glad you enjoy it though!
    Alex recently posted..Careers, money, and happiness: Running Towards TemptationMy Profile

  7. I’ve never used a prepaid phone but my in-laws have and it seemed to work fine for them. My concern has been the coverage and since I’ve never been able to try it, I’m not willing to risk having terrible coverage to find out. :) It is crazy how much cheaper they are though…and that makes it very tempting to switch.
    Jason @ WorkSaveLive recently posted..5 More Easy Ways Everybody Can Save MoneyMy Profile

    • I knew that my contract T-mobile cell phone didn’t get coverage at all, so I had to buy the prepaid one and test it out. I hated to risk wasting the money, but you can pick one up for like 10 bucks. Plus that includes enough minutes to try it out and make sure it’s what you want before buying additional minutes. 😀
      Jen Perkins recently posted..Amazon’s New Feature: AutoRip (Free MP3s)My Profile

  8. Some people actually have to own smartphones because of their jobs, they have to be able to work online and be available 24/7. In those cases, they should either be covered by the employer, discounted in some manner or be able to be written off as a business expense.

    – Yup, that’s me! Until then I had always had a prepaid phone – it rocks.
    eemusings recently posted..Link love (Powered by bare naturals and email drama)My Profile

  9. I love my prepaid cell. I got triple minutes for life and the phone was like 10 bucks. However I had to reload minutes a couple times because sometimes I’m on the phone for over an hour at a time LOL but its still the best way to go if u don’t need online access 24 7. I did find the cheapest smartfone to be 35 bucks a month, unlimited data, unlimited text, 300 minutes per month, good deal

  10. I have a smart phone :( I pay $75 a month for it. It feels like a lot!!!!

    I wonder if I’d have the same freedom without it though. Now I can go someplace, take my phone with me, travel for a few weeks in another state, and still have my email at my fingertips….

    Interesting points though! And I can’t believe you only have one car too! Man I need to start to scale down.
    Cat recently posted..BloggingMy Profile

  11. my mom is on postpaid & im using it temporarily. actually, i haven’t returned her iphone4s since this is the fastest way to communicate with my baby’s dad. i have used a prepaid phone before & the savings is indeed big. one can limit the usage with the credits he can afford to buy.

  12. I have switched over from a postpaid account to prepaid go phone. It so sweet ,as I just got a high end Nokia Lumia 1520 before leaving and my son a I phone 5c under the perks of the plan, as that is all your paying for under a plan. I don’t upgrade I only did it because I could and I knew I was going to ditch the contract. I have quality reception, hot spots, 3 gig and unlimited talk, text picture messaging for 60.00 a month. A no brainer. Make the switch. I have house wifi can surf all I want on the net. When traveling my wifi can go with me. Again a no brainer. I was paying almost 150 a with deductibles and fees. Actually a heavy data person/talker will go broke under a post paid plan. When I am ready for my new Nokia. I have already saved money on the side for. I will get it! Simple.