How To Get Smartphone Service For Under $20 Regardless Of Brand


(post contains affiliate links see disclosure)

I have a fallen in love with a cellphone service provider named Ting, but first I have to share my story of why.

How to get smartphone service for under $20 a month Plus get any brand of phone you want.

 Why I Switched To Ting And Why I Am Happy With Ting So Far

I upgraded to the smartphone world just over a year through Tracfone. Tracfone offers older Android based smartphones with pay as you go rates that work out to as low as  $10 a month.

However, I am not an Android lover, I am an Apple product gal. So even though I had a smartphone I was still carrying around my iPod. I went from a two piece smartphone to a two piece smarter-phone. I tried and tried but I just couldn’t fall in love with the older LG that Tracfone offered.

I looked into Tracfone’s Bring Your Own Device offer but to me it didn’t sound like it came with the same triple minutes, triple texts and triple data the smartphones they sell on their site come with and that is what keeps their service prices so low.

My 4th generation iPod didn’t get the ISO 8 update and is getting very outdated, and so with just a month or two to go on my current pay as you go card I was trying to figure out what to do.

I could keep going with my two piece smarter-phone by updating to an iPod 5 or I could look into an inexpensive way to get an iPhone.

Then fate took care of it and my Android smartphone broke and I was stuck with replacing both pieces of my smarter-phone to stay with Tracfone and that didn’t seem…well…smart.

What did seem smart was to get an iPhone and switch to Ting.

How Ting Works & What Smartphones You Can Bring To Ting

Ting is a month to month cellphone service that runs on the Sprint network in my area. No contracts to sign, which I love.

Ting also has an amazing selection of cellphones that can be used with their program. They have a “Shop” area where you can buy a device but you can also Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) you just need to take a few steps first to make sure the device you want to purchase is compatible. Most of the most popular phones such as the Samsung Galaxy, LG and iPhone 6 can be used on the Ting network.

I ended up buying a  refurbished 16GB iPhone 5c from Ting ( I was tempted by the iPhone 6 but the price was too steep for my thrifty self) .  To be honest I actually returned the first iPhone I bought and got a second. The first one was freezing up all the time.

Ting Has Great Customer Service No Nasty Press One For….

The issue with the iPhone however allowed me to fully try out Ting’s customer service 1-800 number and I was very happy with their service. Real people pick up the phone right away no for ….press 1….for…. press 2.

The customer service reps walked me through each and every step I needed to do to fully make sure the iPhone was indeed faulty and then what I needed to do to get a free replacement and how to set up and check my new iPhone (which has no problems).

What I am paying month to month with Ting

I found the coverage to be pretty decent in my area. The few times I have used data it went pretty fast.

I am however not a data hog, nor a big talker, nor a texting addict, which is why I love Ting so much. You only pay for the service you use.

My ting cell phone usage one day before bill arrivedAbove is a snapshot of my cellphone usage one day before I was billed (30 day billing cycle so this is day 29).

As you can see each service cost $3. So 0 to 100 minutes cost you $3, 0 to 100 texts cost you $3 and 0 to 100 Megabytes of Data costs you $3 and then there is a device fee of $6 per device.

There is a detailed usage chart found on Ting’s website under “Rates” to explain what you pay as you use more minutes, messages and megabytes.

There are of course some taxes and fees but even with those added my first bill came to $17.46.

How I keep my usage so low

First I confess I am an introvert. I have just a few friends that I keep in regular contact with.

One of those friends has an iPhone so I use the iPhone message app to text her free when I am in wifi areas.

For the other friends I use the Text free app (also known as Ping) to text them when I am in free wifi areas which is roughly 90 percent of the time.

As you can see I use the power of free wifi to keep my cellphone bill as low as possible. There are free wifi hotspots everywhere now, the grocery store, restaurants, clothing stores, department stores, hardware stores and now even the gym where I work out has  free wifi. In fact, about the only time I don’t have access to free wifi is when I am in the car, and perhaps I shouldn’t be texting or surfing the web then anyways.

How Ting helps you keep your cellphone bills low

Ting allows you to set usage alerts on your account. You can set these alerts for texts, minutes or data and have them emailed. If you want to go one step further you can actually set a cap on your texts, minutes and data and when you reach them you simply won’t be able to use that part of your smartphone until the next billing period begins.

It is like a cash envelope system for smartphones!

You can have more than one person on your account

Right now I am the only one in the family over at Ting. My husband and 19 year old son are currently happy with their older LG phones over at Tracfone, and want to stick with them for now (although I did catch the hubby looking at a newer Samsung Galaxy) .

However my daughter turns 13 this June and she knows that is when her older brother got his first cell phone and she too is an Apple gal. She is saving her dollars for an iPhone 5c. ( we only spend so much on a smartphone for a teenager, if they want anything more snazzy they pay what it costs above the plain Jane one themselves).

When her birthday arrives I will simply add her on my account as a second device and she can use up those minutes I am not using and I will allow her to put our account into the next package but set a cap that will make it impossible to go into the package after that.

The next package gives us up to 500 minutes, 1000 text messages and 500 megabytes which is very roomy compared to the first package and should give us plenty of room.

Screen Shot 2015-04-23 at 3.22.32 PMAbove is a screen shot from the Ting Website under the “Ting For Families” section. The link to this section is found at the bottom of the Ting home page. As you can see their average rate for a family of 4 is just $71 that blows any contracted plan plan right out of the water.

How to start your Ting account with a $25 off a device or a $25 Ting credit

Ting has a great friend referral program. When you buy through a friends links (and those words in blue are mine) you get $25 off a device or a $25 Ting credit.That is a great deal for signing up and for spreading the word!

I assure you however I am not sharing just to get $25 in Ting credit. I  fully tested out the Ting network first, making sure I truly liked it, and that it was a thrifty deal before sharing it with you. I also am in no way affiliated with Ting, I wrote this article because I wanted to, Ting has no idea I am doing it.

Linked to Mom2Mom, WFMW, Thrifty Thursday, Frugal Fridays,

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  1. I’m surely looking in to this! I hope they service our area. We’re paying out over $300 for service, and yeah weren’t cell phones supposed to make life easier? Thanks for this post!

    • Victoria says:

      To find out if Ting has service in your area simple click on the “coverage” area. It has worked well for me so far, hit one dead zone but all my friends with different cell phone providers can’t get service in that area either.

  2. Sounds wonderful. Maybe I will finally get a phone. Yes, I have been to cheap to get one so far. I have a child that will be 16 soon and she may want to partner with me in a plan. She would be thrilled to have a phone also!! I would also like her to have one when when she starts driving and goes places on her own. My husbands cell is free through his work and I am a stay at home mom. I just haven’t justified getting a phone yet at this point. I will also look into the tracfone you mentioned too.

    • Victoria says:

      Yes having teens have a cell when they start driving does give peace of mind. If two of you are going to be on the same plan Ting might be cheaper than Tracfone, depends on how much you and your daughter would use the phones, as you can see I don’t use mine a lot. Nice thing about Ting though is you can set limits. Our family and our wallets have been happy with both companies.

  3. I’m trying to update my phone plan right now to save some money as well – I wish these services were offered in Canada! There’s a really cheap phone company here called Wind but I hear their service isn’t great so I don’t think I can risk it.

    The White Corner Creative

    • Victoria says:

      When we use to live in Canada we used a service similar to Tracfone (you bought minute cards) I can’t remember what it was called. I do remember the service was pretty good. We lived in the interior of BC at the time though.

  4. I wonder if we have this in my area – im currently paying 170 for two phones UGHH

    • Victoria says:

      Yikes! That is quite the bill, Ting has usage maps on their site that you can check out. You can find them under the “coverage” tab. It appears to run off the Sprint network (as the word Sprint is written right near the service bar area of my cell) so if Sprint gets good coverage in your area chances are Ting would too.

  5. Wow, that sounds great! I’ll have to check and see if it’s available in my area. Right now I have a flat rate for unlimited data, but I use my phone way too maybe with a plan like Ting’s it would keep me in check more. 🙂

  6. this looks awesome! My phone bill would be cut in half! How’s the coverage? My only concern is that on their map I’m on the edge of their coverage areas and wouldn’t want to be in a roaming area all the time….

    • Victoria says:

      I am finding coverage is pretty good. It runs on the Sprint network so I would poll your friends, and see which ones use sprint in your area and what kind of coverage they get from it.

  7. Interesting, never heard of them before.

  8. Thanks for sharing. I need to check this out!!

  9. I just got my first smartphone and it pains me to pay the bill every month. Thanks for posting. Hello from Thrifty Thursday.

  10. We recently switched our son’s plan to Ting. We love that we can limit the calls/texts (and make him responsible for any additional he wants to use). We can turn data off completely, yet let him use a smartphone on wifi when at home. It still gives us the option of turning on the data service if we feel it’s needed (we’re thinking for when we take a trip – but maybe not even then, he’s only 12 and not a big internet user).

    We priced out for us, and found that it wasn’t going to be a good option for the amount of data my husband and I use. But Ting is definitely a good option if you aren’t a big data user!

    • Victoria says:

      I agree Ting isn’t a good fit for everyone but it is a great fit for those who don’t use much data, or text that often. And it is awesome for teenagers because you can limit their packages and thus keep their cells low cost.

  11. We ordered our Ting iPhone through your link and are happily saving money now. I looked for the free texting program, but couldn’t find one named Ping. I did see one called Pinger. Is that the one you use?

  12. Juli Bastien says:

    We used ting for daughter and really liked it, my husband switched us all to tmobile and I am thinking of bailing.. NOt happy with coverage.

    • So Ting had better coverage than tmobile in your area? People ask me about ting coverage all the time. I find it satisfactory.

  13. I looked into Ting and was impressed, but I work too much on my cell phone and have to have a lot of data. I go with Straight Talk, I pay $45 a month for unlimited talk and text and 5 gigs of data. It’s nice to have all the benefits of the big name providers without paying over $100 a month for one line (my old bill).

    • Thanks for the suggestion for those who use more data. I just tend to use free Wifi hot spots whenever I am out. I use my data for an odd instagram photo now and then or directions but that is about it.

  14. I’d want the security of having coverage while in the car, in case of emergency, which is why I got a cellphone in the first place.

    • Ting has good coverage for all of those things in our area. They have a coverage map on their site to help you decided if their service would work well in your area.

  15. Thank you for this info! I can’t live without my cell phone but the bills are getting ridiculous for our family. Here’s hoping they service my area.


  1. […] Saving $50 a Month} 8. Just Another Mom {How to Stretch a Paycheck} 9. Snail Pace Transformations {How to Get a Smartphone Service for Under $20 a Month} 10. My Stay at Home Adventures {The Make Believe World of Having Money}   Never linked up before? […]

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