The Two Piece Smartphone That Costs Me $11 a month



The 2 piece smartphone that costs $11 a month

Okay so technically an iPod & a Pay As You Go Tracfone don’t actually make a smartphone, but they do come pretty close.

I can call and text people whenever I want from wherever I want (Tracfone has great coverage in my area). When I am in a free Wi-Fi hot spot I can check e-mail, Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. I can update my Facebook status, pin a pin to Pinterest, upload a photo to Instagram and perhaps even watch a short Swagbucks video clip to earn some points on the go.

Yes I know that if I had an actual smartphone I could use a data package and check all these things with out the need of a free Wi-Fi spot but have you noticed all the places with free Wi-Fi lately? Target, Lowes, Kohls, Starbucks, McDonald’s and on and on the list goes including most shopping centers. Truthfully beside when I am in my car or watching a child’s soccer game I am usually in a free Wi-Fi hotspot at least 75% of the time I am not at home.

I suppose if I had a data package I could posts pictures of my son’s soccer kick automatically, but then again perhaps not being able to do that makes me concentrate on the game and I don’t really think my Instagram followers care that the picture was taken an hour ago and not 10 seconds ago.

Our family actually owns 3 Tracfones and only I carry a iPod in addition to my cell. The other 2 people quite frankly don’t understand the draw of constantly checking social media or using coupon apps. All together we pay just under $400 every January buying  year long service cards with enough minutes to last us all the entire year. If you do a bit of math you will realize that means we spend under $11 a month per cell phone.

How do we keep our bill so low?

1. We have pay As You Go Plans through Tracfone

For our area Tracfone is the most economical choice with great coverage. At 3 texts per minute and minutes for just a few pennies each when you buy the big one year cards and purchase triple minute cells you can’t beat it.

2. We buy the once a year card giving us 365 days of service  and plenty of minutes

These cards also provide us with enough minutes for  of us to make it through the year.

3. We have triple minute for life phones

Which means whatever minutes are printed on the card we buy get tripled  pushing our cost per minute lower.

4.  We text rather than talk whenever possible

A text is worth 1/3 of a minute, meaning we can receive or send 3 texts for 1 minutes worth of service.

5. We don’t talk a lot

If we want to have a long conversation we use our home phone, which cost us $18 a month, and gives us peace of mind that all our children have a way to call us 24/7 in case of emergency.

6. We rarely send photos

Photos cost us around  2 minutes each to send and receive, and none of our phones take very good pictures, so we just don’t use this feature much.

7. I use my iPod a lot

Whenever I am in a free Wi-Fi area I use  my iPod  to send non time sensitive messages to my friends through Facebook rather than pay for a text. I have also used my facetime App or Messages App  to call and text people for free in Wi-Fi areas.

However I will confess..

Even though more and more businesses are offering free Wi-Fi I do get smartphone envy now and again, mostly when I am out yard sale shopping and would love to see if an item would go for more on eBay, but I don’t think those few times I crave one would make it worth the monthly cost.

How about you? How do you keep your families phone plans low cost?

Linked to Fabulously Frugal Thursday at A Life In Balance

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  1. How do you have a home phone for $18/month? Do you have a long distance plan with it? Most of our calls from a home phone would be long distance, since even our local friends frequently have cell phones from other areas. Our cell phone costs are ridiculous, although that’s partly because my husband does have a smart phone for his business.

    • Victoria says:

      Its through Vonage, it does come with a long distance plan. It is hooked up to our high speed internet.

  2. We do a pay as you go plan also. We had a month plan with a company for many years. It had 300 minutes a month we shared and we paid $45 for both phones a month. We don’t use many minutes. We went with Page Plus Cellular pay as you go and have been really happy. We pay $30 a year for my phone because I use so little minutes. My husband is $50 a year. That is a big difference from what we used to pay monthly. We also each have an i-touch and can use free wireless.

  3. We have smart phones since my husband is gone a lot and requires something quite advanced with the job he has. It’s definitely expensive, but worth every penny in my humble opinion. I use the crap out of it, lol! I never understood it when people said they couldn’t live without their phones…NOW I UNDERSTAND! LOL!!!

  4. Phones can become a bad habit. It is great to see how little you actually need to spend on your cellphone if you get a value for money phone like Tracfone and are careful how you use it

  5. I have been considering going to the pay-as-you-go method once our contract expires with Verizon because our phone bill is going through the roof. Seems since Verizon got that new iPhone, service has gone down but cost has gone up. I was looking at Straight Talk, but don’t know anyone with it, so am afraid their service may not be that good. I don’t want to cancel Verizon only to have my kids out and about with no cell coverage where they’re at. Anyone know anything about Straight Talk? And is Trac Phone good?

    • Victoria says:

      I have not heard about straight talk, but I do know the Trac Phone at least in our area has great coverage. If you go to their website I believe they have a coverage map somewhere on there. You could try looking and seeing if Straight talk has one as well.

  6. My husband and I have straight talk phones and I kick myself for not doing it sooner! I pay $30 a month for 1000 mins, 1000 texts a month. My husband has the $45 unlimited everything plan with a smart phone but only because his mother gifted him with it, although we live in an area with not so great coverage for the phone he has… I also OFTEN have smartphone envy, but can’t bring myself to upgrade. I also have an ipod touch that I always keep in my purse and use whenever I can find free wifi..

    btw, straight talk is through Walmart.

    • btw, the cell service in my area for my straight talk phone has never given me any problems.

      • Yes, I have heard of straight talk it sounds very similar to tracphone which gets excellent service in our area. My husband and I had a good giggle when once he went camping with some of his friends and they all had expensive phones and plans and yet his $10 a month tracPhone was the only cell that got service at the camp ground .

  7. I take a ton of photos so this would kill my plan. I do need to look into decreasing our bill though.

  8. I’m afraid I’m hooked on my iPhone which I bought for $50. I do a lot of stuff with it though I’m not happy with how Verizon changed their data plan.

    Thanks for sharing your post at Fabulously Frugal Thursday! Have a great weekend!

  9. We have been using Magic Jack for our home phone for a couple of years at $30/yr along with basic, pay as you go cell phones. Typically we spend $30-$40 a month for two phones, but recently my husband’s job changed and he can’t use a work phone to call me at home as easily, and so many friends of his prefer texting, that we have decided to moved to the Walmart (coverage thru T-mobile) unlimited talk & text for $45/mo for two phones. We are going to buy simple smart phones because the keyboard is easier to text with (they are only $40), but we won’t pay for a data plan because we so often have access to wifi (I have a 7 inch RCA tablet that I got for $29 on a Black Friday deal). With that, we will let the Magic Jack go when it expires.

  10. I have been a die hard no cell phone person up til now. I am looking for the right plan for me. I only want a cell for trips or emergencies..altho, I wdn’tcry if it had a camera on it.I am a widow on a very strict budget, so I really need the cheapest monthly plan I can find.I also don’t nessasarily need a smart phone,but some of the cheapest perks might help me while away an hour when waiting @ the DR.’s office.Things like that, I really read this article closely, and still am unable to decide moneywise and common sense wise .I am no kid, but I think I probably should have one for emergencies .What would you tell your Mom to do???

    • It has been a while since I wrote this article my daughter, son and I are all one Ting now you can read that article here:
      I love the customer service I get at Ting! We currently pay around $30 a month for all 3 smartphones that works out to just $10 a phone. However if you just have one phone it would be $20 because of how their bucket system works.

      Tracfone has some great phone choices for both smartphones and non smartphones. My husband and one son still use their services. Both have smartphones and it works out to be around $10 a month for them you can get a non-smartphone for around $7 . However I have not had the best customer service experiences at Tracfone.

      Keep in mind my family ties into free wifi where ever we can find it so that does keep our cost lower than most.

      I hope that helps.

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