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How to Find the Cheapest Cell Phone

Finding a basic cell phone may be as easy as asking a friend or family member. Many people upgrade phones and toss their old phone aside. This is a guide about how to find the cheapest cell phone.


Ask a QuestionHere are the questions asked by community members. Read on to see the answers provided by the ThriftyFun community or ask a new question.

By 0 found this helpful
March 25, 2011

I need a cell phone with minimum features and a low monthly service fee. I just want to make and receive calls, maybe a couple of times daily. Please recommend a phone model and service provider.

By Ed from DC


March 25, 20110 found this helpful
Best Answer

Let me tell you what I have learned from my experience with cell phones.

First let me recommend you buy a phone via the internet or off a friend or family member. Especially if you want a very basic phone, many people upgrade phones and toss their old phone aside. Offer them 10 or 15 bucks for the old phone and they will probably take it. Buying your phone out right eliminates the requirement of having a 2 year contract with your carrier. You just pay month to month.

Second - if you are 65 or older you can get a lower cell plan. It may be fewer minutes but it usually isn't that bad. For example, my father and I used my cell to make calls. When I first acquired our provider we were making 150 to 200 minutes a month. The VERY basic plan was 49.99 a month and it had 450 minutes. I was reading thru the avaiable plans and found out their was a senior plan for 29.99 a month at 250 minutes. More than enough based on past usage. So we switched the phone to my fathers name and got on the senior plan. I still pay the bil but we both still use the phone.


Now, providers, I had AT&T but when I moved to TN it didn't work in the hoouse and barely worked around outside. My father had a nokia pay as you go phone and it never worked in the house either. We found out by accident that Verizon actually had a signal we could use. So we picked up Verizon. Other benefits of Verizon, the senior plan I mentioned above, calls to other Verizon customers are free (that included just about everyone we knew) and if I am not mistaken some newer models can be used over seas. That you would need to check on for where you want to go.

Also, I think calls to anyone in the evenings and on the weekend are free (no matter what provider or if it is a land line).

Talk to some people you know with cell phones and ask them what providers they have and the type of plans. To be honest, if you know roughly how many minutes you would need a month you could get away with a "pay as you go" phone. You just have to buy minutes for the phone every month and what you don't use is lost. For some people I know this is exactly what they need. One of the phones I have seen advertised and seems like it would be very good in the right areas would be the Jitterbug But face it, if the phone has no signal in the areas you plan to use it then why bother.


Just a note - if you have an old cell phone and you keep it charged you can use it to dial 911. You need NO service provider. The AT&T phone and Nokia I mentioned above we keep in the spare cars (with car chargers) in case of emergency.

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March 26, 20110 found this helpful
Best Answer

I use a tracfone. I paid $15 dollars for the phone and $20 every 3 months for a top up card. The leftover minutes rollover as long as you put a new card on before the old one expires and the phone shows a message that you need to add a card before time is up. The other thing is I get great coverage. My kids have virgin mobile and sprint and in the rural area we live lose reception fairly often where as I have only had 2 short spots along the road where I have lost reception and neither lasted more than 5 seconds as I was driving. (no I wasn't talking, we were on a trip about 400 miles from home checking a college for my son and he was on the phone).

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March 28, 20110 found this helpful
Best Answer
SafeLink Wireless is a government supported program that provides a free cell phone and airtime each month for income-eligible customers.

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March 28, 20110 found this helpful
Best Answer

I recommend Tracfone. No monthly fee at all. All you need to do is buy the phone which you may likely find in Walmart, Big Lots, Dollar General, or Walgreens. The features on phones vary, but the last one I bought only has text and talk and cost about $5.00, but I have seen more fully featured phones for around $20.00. After you select your phone, pick up a Tracfone phone card. The cost of these varies depending on how many minutes you want to buy.


The cheapest is 60 minutes ($19.99). I am not sure what the most expensive is. I have had my tracfone for over a year. Instructions come with the phone to get it set up, but you don't even have to talk to a person to get it charged and set up. It's all automated. I like knowing that there is NO bill. When my minutes are up (which is about every six to eight weeks for me), then I just get another minutes card.

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March 25, 20110 found this helpful

I am looking for the cheapest, absolutely basic cell phone I can find. I borrowed one that was supposed to have unlimited calling, but after a certain number of minutes there was a charge of 40 cents per minute!

Are there any cell phone services with which one can use a calling card, getting the cost down to 3 to 10 cents per minute?

I want to buy a phone without a contract, is there such a thing?


Any suggestions?



Cheapest Cell Phone

I am not sure where you live, but there is a cell phone company here in Oklahoma called Cricket and for $39.95 a month you get completely unlimited minutes and there is no contract. It's really a great deal no tricks or gimmicks, all unlimited no matter how many minutes you use 1 or 10000. (11/27/2004)

By Kendra

Cheapest Cell Phone

I think if you own your own phone you don't have to sign a contract, or you can at least buy prepaid minutes. Look on eBay for cell phones, some of the basic used ones are pretty cheap, just be sure the provider services your area. You could also call the provider ahead of time (the seller will show on their listing what provider the phone is set up for) and ask them what plans they have that don't require a contract. A good one to check might be Verizon. I know for sure they have some prepaid plans. Good luck. (11/27/2004)


By Glynda Lomax

Cheapest Cell Phone

Before buying a tracfone, check out

I bought a defective phone, and could not get through to a customer service rep., nor get any results online. (01/20/2007)

By ticked off tracfone purchaser

Cheapest Cell Phone

If you keep your usage to just "essential" calls, the T-mobile prepaid deal for 1000 minutes for $100 and no expiration for 1 year is pretty good. You can generally buy the $100 cards on eBay for less than $90, no taxes, email pin delivery. One card lasts me about 6 months, which amounts to $15/month. I live in eastern Mass. and the coverage is generally very good. A few dead spots here and there, but I don't know of any carriers that don't get those type of complaints. (04/16/2008)

By Carl

Cheapest Cell Phone

Buy the Sprint pre-paid phones. The phones are high quality so they are a little pricey, but the more minutes you buy for your phone the cheaper it gets, and it's all phone cards you can buy at stores. I think there was one for 750 minutes for $24-$27, which is a steal if you ask me. You should look into it. (05/22/2008)

By Nick

Cheapest Cell Phone

You should just get a "go phone" from AT&T. You pay as you go so there are no surprise fees and no contract. (05/23/2008)

By Arielle

Cheapest Cell Phone

Yes, here is the cheapest cell phone. It's called net 10 and it cost 30 dollars and you get the phone and 300 minutes and every three month you pay 30 dollars again and there is no contract. Your minutes build up according to how much you use the cell phone. It can be purchased at Walmart stores all over the United States. Hope this helps you. (07/14/2008)

By mcqueen

Cheapest Cell Phone

I use Virgin Mobile service. They have contract as well as pay as you go plans. I don't use my phone frequently, so I have the plan where I pay $20 every three months. This suits me fine. They also have other options to suit your needs. They may be worth a try. (05/09/2009)

By Pamela Good

Cheapest Cell Phone

Get the boost phone, you can buy a plain one for around $20 and for $50 a month, you get unlimited phone calls, internet, texting, and two waying. You can't beat it. If I wasn't already tied down with a two year contract on a cell phone, I would get the boost. I know several people who have them and love it. You can also put just $10 a month on it too, but you obviously don't get unlimited usage. (05/09/2009)

By Judy

Cheapest Cell Phone

I use Verizon and it is quite adequate to use for calling. I don't use it often, so you can buy a plan that costs you a $1 for lots of calls on one day. No cost on the days you don't use it. I plan the days and go call all I know. They have many more pay per use plans. Look into it. Verizon is a good phone and it is cheap! Plus, your friends can call you on "your days" and if they have Verizon it is free for them. (11/27/2010)

By norma carlyon

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