Prepaid phones

Portland, OR

We have had a contract with AT&T for at least 10 years. We have four phones on our family plan and are paying about $120 a month.

I have heard about prepay phones but never really looked into them. Recently we have been looking around for other options because it irks me to pay that much each month for a phone!

We are very light users. We each use less than 100 minutes per month. We figure people can reach us at home because nothing is usually that important that it can't wait until we get home. However we do like the convenience of having a cell phone around.

I just found out that I can get a T-Mobile prepaid phone for $20. Pay $100 for 1000 minutes and not have to renew my minutes again for 365 days. With that amount of minutes, it will last me an entire year. I can pay $100 a year instead of $120 a month. Where has my head been??? I am so upset that I never checked into this. I'll quickly get over it though because we will be saving money. :)

So overall, it is a higher cost up front because we have to get a phone and minutes for everyone (only need three now though) but it's worth it. Combine that with our new Google voice number and we are all set. Oh, one more thing. We get to keep our same phone numbers because we just use the sim card from the prepay phone to our old phones and
transfer over the numbers.

Do any of you primarily use a prepaid phone due to low usage? Pros and cons?

Naples, FL(Zone 10a)

I have an AT & T prepaid phone; I have owned it for a number of years. The ONLY disadvantage is that I cannot use it overseas.
I am using the phone I already had on this plan; you only need to buy a SIM card if you have a phone.

The simple advantage is (as you state) the much cheaper cost. I spend between $ 100 and $ 150 per year on minutes. That is it.

Olympia, WA

I am probably the lightest phone user in the Universe, and so Trac-Phone works for me. No monthly charge.

Problem? Well, I have a hard time using up the minutes before it is time to buy MORE minutes. They have, however, in this last year recognized that folks like me are willing to pay $6 per month just to keep the minutes we have already purchased (700+) active.

Costs per minute are TOO high if one is a Chatty Cathy - but if you need a sense of safety, with cell phone availability, while on the road .... this is the ONLY way to fly.

I may never need to buy more minutes in my life - but it only costs me $6 per month to keep what I have - and that is it!!!

Cuyahoga Falls, OH(Zone 5a)

My DH and I have AT&T prepaid phones. We pay $100/year, and use them only for emergencies. Seems high cost, but we think of it as insurance. As we get close to renewal time, we use up most of our remaining minutes to call our family out of state.

We like the phones. Once a year online renewal. No monthly statements. How easy is that !

Portland, OR

CountryMom - $100 a year is a great price!(compared to us paying more than that each month)

I wish I had researched this much earlier. I think we never considered it because I was just under the assumption that prepaid plans were like those check cashing places. Only there to take advantage of people of little means.

Dutchlady - For some reason, I tried to get a SIM card without a phone (online) and it didn't work without selecting a plan. So that is why I ordered the cheapest phones available. I probably did something wrong again! :) That's ok, they will be backup phones.

One good frugal thing to do is listen to the smart and reasonable people on this site for great tips. I now see the light!

SF Bay Area, CA(Zone 9b)

Take a look at this thread: http://davesgarden.com/community/forums/t/1055837/

There was some discussion there re Tracfone, etc. which might be of interest to you.

Fairfield County, CT(Zone 6b)

What is a Google voice number?

Naples, FL(Zone 10a)

That Google voice thing is brand new. Not to be funny but - I would google it.

Portland, OR

Google Voice is basically a call answering/forwarding service. It is free also. It is only accessible right now by invitation from Google. Just google, google voice and sign up for an invitation.

After you get it (couple of months), basically you can your use your own number or get a number from Google. We chose to get a google number so you can make calls, texts, etc directly from the google voice website. Like I said earlier though, we still have our phone numbers from our cell phones though so we put all our contacts into our GV contact list and sent out a text to everyone telling them that we changed our phone number and to use the GV number. What happens is that you can then make all your calls on the site and they are transscribed and/or you can just listen to them online. You can also decide which individual callers you want to reach you at home, cell, work, etc. So if a person calls you, you can select that all your phones ring, one phone only rings, or go straight to vm. We LOVE it.

Just google it and if you have more questions, just let me know.

Fairfield County, CT(Zone 6b)

LOL (google it) and thanks!

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