Thursday, December 11, 2008

Get a Cell Phone For Under $100 Per Year

Tip #39 - Get A Cell Phone for Under $100 per year. If you are an occasional mobile phone user, you can get a cell phone plan for pretty cheap. T-Mobile offers a pre-paid "pay as you go" plan where you buy a GSM phone that can take a SIM card. All you have to do is buy a refill card once a year. First you have to buy a phone. Phones are pretty cheap or even FREE through T-Mobile. Or you can buy one at a retailer like Target or online on eBay. The phone comes with a SIM card with about 10 minutes and it is good for 90 days. You can then pick your area code and city for your new phone number, as T-Mobile covers most of the USA. Next you buy a $100 SIM card to add to your account. You then won't have to top up with another card for a whole year! So long as you refill just before the year is up you can carry all unused minutes forward for a whole year more. One hundred dollars will buy you about 1000 minutes. For someone who uses only about 90 minutes a month, this is perfect. And your monthly payment is under $10. Even better is that sometimes these SIM cards go on sale for under $100 at Target or you can often buy them online for under $100. Can't beat that for a yearly cell phone bill.

Another option is to buy a Pay As You Go Plan like Virgin Mobile. They have several different options. One option is to pay $6.99 per month and all minutes are 10 cents a minute. So essentially you get 70 minutes per month to use. And for the year you are only spending $84!

These types of plans are great for those of you who only want to use the phone to call your spouse to tell them you will be home late. Or to call a restaurant for directions when you're lost. Both types of plans allow you to rollover your minutes into the next months. So the minutes can potentially build up pretty quickly.

In Real Life (IRL) - I am not a huge cell phone user. I think they serve a purpose and to me that purpose is to make a phone call if you have to. I don't think their purpose is to be there for you to gab to your best friend while you drive. Or to text your boyfriend late at night. But that's just me. I use my phone occasionally. I call my husband from the store and ask him which kind of ice cream he wants. I call my friend if I see something at a thrift store that I think she might want. Or I call my husband when I see something at a yardsale that I think will potentially be a good moneymaker on eBay. Other than that, I barely use it. If I had to estimate, I'd guess I put about 30 minutes per month on my phone.

I have used both plans - Virgin Mobile and T-Mobile and I've liked both of them. The plan with Virgin Mobile was slightly different when I had it - we had to put $20 on every 90 days. Overall, I spent $80 per year on it and always had minutes left over to carry over. It was great. And they have great customer service. I switched plans when I went on my husband's work plan. When that ended we switched to T-Mobile because we had a SIM card with minutes on it. My husband bought another card at Target for a discount (something like $85 dollars for a $100 card). That carried me through a whole year. I use the phone whenever I want. I don't hold back and I still have tons of minutes on it.

We have gotten both Virgin Mobile and the T-Mobile plans for my parents who are also occasional phone users, and they have loved them, too.

So if you want a cell phone but you don't want to spend a lot of money, check out one of these plans. They are great!


Kathryn said...

We have had good luck with Tracfone. I also bought one of their $100 packages this past January and it came with upgrades to the air time and the minutes. I still have half the minutes left and the airtime doesn't expire till the end of March 09.

Mich said...

Thanks for your comment, Kathryn. Yes, I should have mentioned that Tracfone is another option. I have never used it so I forgot to mention it. But I know that it is a pay-as-you go plan similar to Virgin Mobile.

Anonymous said...

We looked at a couple different pay as you go phones and picked the one that offered the best calling area, which was AT&T.Take a look at the map of coverage before purchasing because sometimes they don't have as good of coverage.