Share on ThriftyFunThis guide contains the following solutions. Have something to add? Please share your solution!
Ok. How many remember the TV show "Laugh In" from the late 60s - early 70s? The title of my tip originated from that show. I have a small cell phone. It's not a smart one, but it's fine for what I need it for. Anyway, my husband had purchased me a nice $15 case for it and I had the case for several years. Then I lost it and I would not spend another $15 to get a replacement case. Instead, I bought a pair of toddler socks. The phone fits perfectly down inside the sock and is easy to see in my purse. It protects my phone and serves its purpose. The added plus is I have a "spare case" if I should lose the sock. So "Sock It To Me."
Cell phones are many times free to anyone receiving any kind of assistance: Lower income families, SSI, food stamps, Medicaid. I believe this service is available in many states in the US. Check the link below or Google - Free phones.
Also, many land-line companies offer a reduced rate for people in these programs. You have to ask about this as they will not volunteer this information.
What do you need? Cell phone or land line? Or both? Things to consider:
Here is one link that has some phone services described:
You can get a cell phone for absolutely nothing. Go to to SafeLink Wireless It is for low income people, every month you get 80 free minutes.There is no catch, no hidden charges. If you lose the phone, they will send you another one for free. I just got my replacement phone.
Source: A friend
By sherry from Onset, MA
Editor's Note: Not available in all states yet.
Did you ever notice that a cell phone plan/contract is 2 years and the phone only works for a year? Instead of spending a ton of money to buy a new phone, buy a go phone (prepaid phone) for $15-$20. DO NOT have it activated. Just put your sim card in it, and charge it. It will be good to go.
If you have a plan with AT&T, buy a AT&T Go phone, same with Verizon and so on. My cell phone broke this morning, I did this and it worked.
By Michele from Bangor, PA
I dropped my monthly cellphone charges by getting a 20 dollar cellphone.
Tips for saving money on cellphones as suggested by the ThriftyFun community. The main thing you have to be careful of with a cellphone company is whether or not you'll have good coverage.
I recently noticed an ad for a free Verizon smart phone and was about to upgrade two of my family's older technology smart phones when my son pointed out to me that in doing so, I was giving up my unlimited data plan.
Looking for ways to lower cell phone bills? I have a generous Data Plan but my kids kept going over the megabytes allowed and increasing my payments. Since the text message plan we have is unlimited, my kids now mostly text message instead of BBM, lowering my costs.
If you are on a cell phone plan that offers Family and Friends calls, update your list before taking a trip. Family and Friends phone numbers are the same as mobile to mobile and there is not a charge for the call.
I have a cell phone that I use for business purposes and have an unlimited plan that is very expensive. I have found out through my service provider (Verizon) that they offer a favorite five like another company.
I left my cell phone in my car for 2 hours with the heat index down here in the Rio Grande Valley being 110. When I picked it up, it was DEAD. No way to turn it on, or to charge it.
To save cell phone minutes, do as much online as you can. You can pay bills, contact companies, and email.
I receive 19% off my cellphone bill, each month, for being an educator. My husband and I also switched to the family plan. Contact your provider and they will give any information you need.
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.
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
Do not get a trac phone if you can help it. I have had bad experiences with those. You will be happy you have a cell phone, you can fill them up with cards as you go or get a reasonable plan. They have them at most stores, all kinds of phones, and there are phones with cameras, etc. I love them. We stopped with the regular land lines a long time ago and have never once looked back.
Depending on where you're at try MetroPCS. I've been using them for a few years now with no issues at all.
http://www.cell com/coverage/az/ (put in your state)
where are you located? Some systems work better in certain parts of the country than others! I have t-mobile; had them since 1998 back then they were voicestream. I have been off contract for several years and price has stayed the same!
Verizon has a plan to add a house phone to your cell phone plan for $10. It's part of the "add a line" deal. You can add another cell user or a house phone. But you need to get decent service in your area of course. It's basically another cell phone but you can keep your land line number and the phones are like regular land line phones.
Depends upon what services are near you. Straight Talk ($45/mo unlimited) is fairly basic and it does include everything, just in case at some point in the future you do text or do internet...but you should really look at the coverage maps, because ST works in my daughter's area, but not in mine.
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!
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.
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.
Where can I get a free or cheap cellphone?
A trac phone would be the cheapest. Availabe at Radio Shack or other electronic dept stores. You buy the phone and then just buy a card to program the phone. When the minutes are used up buy another card. Same as buying a phone card.
SafeLink Wireless provides a free cell phone and a limited number of voice minutes each month for low-income-eligible families (one per family). There is also a plan called Straight Talk that provides plans for as low as $30.00 a month.
Nothing is for free honey, but I would get just a simple basic plan from a cell phone provider. Trac phones are a good thought, but they can add up to be more than a cell phone with a plan. Buying those cards all the time to put time on them gets to be ridiculous. By the time you drive to the store to get some more minutes, you've wasted a bunch of gas.
I have a track phone because I really just need it for emergencies. I got it on sale to begin with and have hardly used any minutes so it works for me. It used to be with a tracphone that you had to use up your minutes by a certain time or you would lose them but not so now.
Because I am very low income and disabled I was approved for a free Safelink phone and free minutes per month. I use it for emergencies or if I am away from home and need to call someone. I chose the 125 minutes a month plan because those minutes roll over so I have been able to collect some extra minutes to have on hand for when I am emergency hospitalized and would need to make long distance calls to family and friends.
You can choose 250 minutes but they do not roll over if you don't use them all during the month. If you need more minutes than the 250 you can purchase more for a very reasonable price. Go to this link and apply. If you aren't accepted for the free phone and service they still have a really good deal for a phone and for minutes. There are different rules for free phone and service approval so you might qualify. It's a completely secure site so don't be afraid to give them the personal info they will ask you.
My hubby's had a SafeLink phone for a couple of years now. I applied online, & since we're on Social Security (disability for me, retirement for him,) we qualified. 60 minutes have been more than enough for us. The down side? It's not blind-accessible. I had to ask him to paint the "talk" and "end" buttons with my tactile marker just so I could turn it off when he forgets.
There's a second provider now, Assurance Wireless, through Virgin Mobile rather than Tracphone. Here's a link to their FAQ page.
I'm debating whether to switch. We don't need more minutes, but what if something happened to our power and my hubby at the same time? I'm hoping the Virgin Mobile phones would be more accessible.
Not a decade later, I found myself in a cellphone store (late nineties) and purchasing one with a plan. Even then, not everyone had a cellphone so our costs were really low. We used them mostly to contact each other (my partner and I) if we were meeting up somewhere or plans changed. It was very convenient but we didn't live by them. I think sometimes we forgot we even had one. And text messaging wasn't what it is now, most people didn't text back then.
Then fast-forward another decade. I don't know anyone who doesn't own a cellphone. Even friends of mine who swore 5 years ago that they'd never get one, have one. It has become commonplace. Many of my friends who live in apartments don't have a LAN line and just use their cell as their home phone.
On one hand, I like the convenience but on the other hand I really hate them. I don't spend a lot of money on mine but many of my younger friends are constantly glued to their phones, especially since Blackberries and IPhones came out. It seems as though I can't have a coffee, dinner or even a nice day out with someone without them having to text or call someone or even taking a call.
Please consider shutting your phone off when spending time with friends and/or family. I love going to Holland since many restaurants there have a no-cell usage sign on their door. I am then guaranteed quality time with whoever I am with as I know their cellphone won't be dining with us.
All this being said, we are obviously using our cell a lot more than before which means our costs are probably a lot higher as well. So how do we cut costs? Have you ever received a ridiculously high cellphone bill? Are you on a budget and still spending $100 a month on it? Here are a few things you can do.
Look at your bill, figure out when and who you call and pick a plan that is appropriate for your life. Believe it or not, some companies have plans that they don't advertise so it's a good idea to call, tell them what your needs are and find out if they have any suggestions. They are trained to do this and will look at your bill for you to determine what's best for you. Don't let them talk you into something you don't need though. Make a point of saying that you want to stay with that company but that you need to reduce your costs.
The nice thing about Pay as You Go is that all services are included and you won't run up a bill. It's like being on a cellphone diet. Some people I know hated it because it limited their usage but that's the whole point. Do you really need to text your friend to say that there is a good sale on at the clothing store or that you ran into an old friend?
My mother does the same thing when she goes to Spain for a month every year. She has a Spanish pay as you go and just gets a card when she arrives. The nice thing about European cellphones is that all incoming calls are free, so even if we have run out of minutes on our card, his parents can still call us on it. It might cost you 30 euros to get a cheap phone and card but that's a lot cheaper than paying roaming charges. If I am only going out of the country for a few days, I just turn off my cellphone and don't use it at all and use payphones or my laptop to send emails.
Cellphone usage has become a scary addiction, I really wish most people I knew would go on a cellphone diet because it has not enhanced my friendships at all, if anything I feel as if it has made them less personal. I always feel less important than their cellphone. We have this obsessive need to be connected to everything and everyone at all times. I don't think it's healthy. Although I do find them useful, I do think it's time for most people to reevaluate their usage. Not only to save money but to enhance personal connections.
Source: Written by me and taken from my blog:
By Lisa from Halifax, NS