Finding An Inexpensive, Basic Cell Phone Plan

What is the most economical cell phone plan for a light user with no texting?


By Flowery Trail from Chewelah, WA

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I have a Tracfone and I'm not committed to a contract of any kind. I prepay for minutes using my credit card. Once in a while I receive a text message, but won't answer them. The text messages are just nonsense from people who I don't know. So I just delete all text messages.

I forgot to mention that Tracfone will give you free minutes. If I buy 400 minutes, Tracfone will give me 400 free minutes for a total of 800 minutes. How many carriers will give you free minutes?

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Net10 is 10 cents a minute and phones start at $10. You can buy them at Walmart, 7-11, Kroger, Dollar General. I just bought one for my 66 year old mom. She loves it. $30 gives her 300 minutes to use over two months.

Hope this helps.

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I use tracfone also. If you look you can find a model that will give you double minutes for the life of the phone, an important feature for some. I have been as high as 350 minutes of time because if you renew on time your minutes roll over. They also have great coverage. Text message take 1/3 of a minute off the phone, I only get them from my daughter and tracfone and the trac phone messages don't take anytime off.

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I have used several carriers, but I like Consumer Cellular. It's only $10.00 a month and you only get chargedfor the minutes you talk. If you decide to go that route, let me know, please. OK? (oh, and I contract!)

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I looked at the Concumer Cell offers.

Tracfone is still the best, least expensive way to go for someone like me who uses it only accasionally, but wants to have it available if needed.

I have had my Tracfone for 5 years.

You should check out before deciding.

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Dear Sally, I wanted to say, Thank you for continuing the work your sister started. I know there are others doing their share also. To the family of Susan and to the ThriftyFun staff/ family, Thanks is not enough. But Thank You. Great Granny Hugs,Vi

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I love my Tracfone. It came with a charger for the house and I purchased one to go in the car. I've had it for 3 years and have had no problems.

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I used to use Virgin Mobile & I loved it. There are no contracts & you pay as you go. You must top up every 90 days, but I got the deal where I paid $15 (+ tax). So it was just $5.00 a month, which was great for me, since I rarely used my cell phone. (you save $5/month if you sign up for auto top up) The time costs $.25 a min. for the 1st 10 mins. and then just 10 cents/min. after that, per 24 hrs. You rollover your time, also, so it's real easy to accumulate mins. & then you have them if you need them. They have real cheap phones, too, so I highly recommend it if you rarely use your phone. :)

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My whole family uses STi. Our plan is 9 cents a day plus 9 cents a minute, no minimum. I put $25 on it and it lasts me 6 months or more. The minutes don't expire and you don't have to buy them until you need them. We've had these phones for years, they work wherever we've traveled. Look online. Check the STi plans, one is 8 cents a minute but it's 25 cents a day, not as good a deal. Phone costs about $20, sometimes less. GREAT customer service, too.

I only turn on my phone when I need it, don't encourage anyone to call me on it unless they are late to meet me somewhere. This way it's there if I need it but costs almost nothing.

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I too cannot recommend TracFone enough either. No plans, no costs other than my time that I buy every few weeks (and it rolls over)... I have used TracFone for several years now and every few years I buy a new phone for 19.95 and have my number and minutes transferred over (Very easily!) and have never regretted giving up the "fancy" companies. Also, TracFone has sent me free phone replacements before due to certain features no longer being in use in my area, so I've been more than happy with TracFone.

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I have an Alltel (now Verizon) prepaid phone, and it's great. $7.50 a month, and even though you don't use texting, it's included. (Though I'd recommend using Google SMS with your text can get the weather and all sorts of info via text when you're on the go.)

If you go to a place like Wal-Mart or Target, they have lots of phones with cheap plans. Tracfone isn't the only one; I switched from Tracfone to Alltel/Verizon, and I like this a lot better.

(Plus, if you buy a Tracfone, it could be a refurbished phone, esp. if you buy it from their website--so beware.)

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I have been very happy with STI Mobile ( I think their cheapest plan is 7.9 cents/minute. The minutes do not expire as long as you make at least one phone call every 60 days, which for me is an incredible deal as it allows me to have a cell phone for emergency use that costs me about $3/month. The downside is very limited choice of phones and perhaps a spotty coverage in remote areas.

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August 31, 2011 Flag
0 found this helpful

I want to have a cell phone for my home, no texting, just a basic cell phone. Any ideas? I had Triple Play with Comcast and after my contract expired my monthly rate went up about 70% so I dropped phone service. Now I'm trying to find a very basic, cheap cell phone plan to replace my land line.

By Comcast Hater

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September 3, 20110 found this helpful

I can totally recommend Consumer Cellular! Their phones are extremely reasonable (or even free). My plan is 700 anywhere anytime minutes for around $35 a month complete with taxes, etc. Their customer service - either phone or e-mail is the best I've ever seen. And the best part - absolutely NO contracts!

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October 4, 20110 found this helpful

The first thing you need to do is make sure there is adequate reception in your area. I say this because we want to do the same thing but where we live reception is hit or miss, mostly miss. So we are waiting till we move (which we have been planning for several years now anyway).

Also, there may be only one company that has good reception in your area. Check that out with your neighbors.

If you are lucky enough to live in an area where you have good reception I'd say go for it. I know people (that dont' live in my area) that have done that and are very happy with it.

Good luck.

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October 4, 20110 found this helpful

I'm probably one of the few people who doesn't have a cell phone. We used Vonage for awhile through our computer but quickly realized if we lost power we also lost our phone.

For one week after April 27th, 2011 all of Alabama had no power for 5 days.

All my neighbors cell phones were useless because of all the cell towers were damaged.

They also had no way to recharge their Cell Phones and the lines at all the gas stations, if they were even opened were very, very long. In many cases it was hard to even recharge their phones while they wasted gas, running their cars.

Our house line was still working and basically our house became the call center for the entire neighborhood.

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You also can go to Consumer Cellular and it is cheap. You can get 300 minutes a month and long distance for 20.00 a month. It is through aarp, but you don't have to be a senior citizen either to get that rate. It is new this year. Check it out on I just use mine for emergencies so it works for me.

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April 24, 2010 Flag
0 found this helpful

My husband has started a new job. I need to pick him up everyday from the job sites so he needs a cell phone to call when ready. I got on a couple of sites and all the plans started at like 39.99, can anyone recommend a company that has cheap, basic plans for less? Would it be better to go with a plan or a prepaid? I also have tons of old cell phones just laying around, so if I could use one of them it would be great.

Natalie from Utah


Finding An Inexpensive, Basic Cell Phone Plan

Get a tracfone. You get 800 minutes a year for $100. (07/24/2008)

By Lisa

Finding An Inexpensive, Basic Cell Phone Plan

We have Verizon and get our home phone with unlimited long distance and a cell with (I think) about 400 minutes (we use usually 18 min/mo.) and they cost us $31.00 all together. You can go to and find out all the plans. Also, we have free (no minutes used) when we use our cell to call other Verizon people. Good for kids who are away and mother wants to check often. (07/24/2008)

By Glenn'sMom

Finding An Inexpensive, Basic Cell Phone Plan

I second the comment about the Tracfone. I just bought a phone for $40 and it has a promotion that doubles all the minutes for the life of the phone. You can also do a search for Tracfone codes that give you bonus minutes when you add minutes to your phone. For less than $20, I added 200 minutes that will last until December, and will carry over as long as I add minutes before then. (07/25/2008)

By GTIChick

Finding An Inexpensive, Basic Cell Phone Plan

I use Net10. It's the sister company to Tracfone. It's all prepaid minutes and so easy to use. If your minutes get low, buy another card, go online to add minutes or add them from your Net10 phone.

You can get the phones at places like Walmart, Dollar stores, or on the Net10 website.

I add minutes every 60 days and it costs me $30. So I'm using their basic prepaid plan = 300 minutes, 60 days, $30. 10 cents a minute.

It couldn't be any easier and it's great area coverage and I can talk anytime, anywhere to anyone. (07/25/2008)

By bluealt

Finding An Inexpensive, Basic Cell Phone Plan

I agree Tracfone is a good option for what you described, but ask around about which company is their carrier in your locality. I used one for years with great results, until they changed carriers and I had nothing, but dropped calls and had to quit using them. (07/26/2008)

By ChloeA

Finding An Inexpensive, Basic Cell Phone Plan

I'm using a T-mobile prepaid phone. The minutes are cheaper than the tracphone, you can get as many minutes as you need. I buy a 1,000 minutes for $100.00 and it is good for
1 year. Otherwise, your minutes will be deleted every three months if you don't use them. I don't use many minutes, but this way I have lots of time to use them up. I have been able to use it most anywhere.


Finding An Inexpensive, Basic Cell Phone Plan

I have had an STi phone for several years and have used it all over America including Hawaii. It costs .10 a day plus .10 a minute. Since I only use it when needed to change a meeting, etc, or on vacation, it costs me $3 to $5 a month. I got the phone with a total rebate, but now you have to pay a little for the phone. You can buy them at Staples or at

You can buy the cards to add minutes at, there is a 3% discount and no tax. You can buy $10, $25, or $50 at a time.

On TMobile you have to buy $100 worth to get the .10 a minute rate. I know some others have .10 a minute, but on most the minutes expire and you really can't use the phone for less than $9 a month. I've never seen anything cheaper than this STi. (07/26/2008)

By Estella

Finding An Inexpensive, Basic Cell Phone Plan

I saw a print ad for a phone called the Jitterbug. They claim to have plans for as low as 10.00 per month. (08/03/2008)

By Tammy

Finding An Inexpensive, Basic Cell Phone Plan

I recommend Net-10. You can get a basic phone starting as low as $19.99 and it comes with 300 minutes and 60 days of service upon activation. Also, super simple to buy additional minutes on-line. (07/16/2009)

By Kay09

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