October 11, 2008

Can you get a cell phone for $5 a month?

On a recent Oprah show they had a frugal family by the name of Heinz. The same family was previously featured in a Parade article. One thing they talked about on the show is having a $5 a month cell phone plan. The Parade article says: ""The couple pays $5 a month on each of two cellphones, but only so they can reach each other in an emergency." On the show she also said that the plan had rollover minutes.

But where do you find such a $5 a month cell phone plan with rollover minutes?

I haven't been able to find the exact same kind of plan with both rollover minutes and a bill of $5 a month or less. I looked through both the 10 page discussion in the comments from the Parade magazine article and over 120 posts on the Oprah page and nobody there new of such a plan. One person thought it might be an old Virgin Mobile plan that is no longer offered. Maybe she has a plan only offered in some regions.

I can't find the exact same plan but there are plans that are close.

Previously I discussed Pre Paid Cell Phone Service and I listed some fairly cheap pay as you go or prepaid cell phone plans.


T-mobile has a $10 card that lasts 3 months for 30 minutes. Thats $3.33 a month. But minutes do not rollover

AT&T Go Phone has rollover but the rates are higher. You can get $25 for 3 months or $100 for a year, either way works out to $8.33 a month with rollover.

So if you use a cell phone very little and really only need it for true emergencies then the T-mobile plan would probably work best since its as cheap as $3.33 a month. But if you use your phone a bit and want to keep your minutes then the AT&T plan is pretty good option and only $8.33 a month. Either of these choices are pretty cheap compared to a typical $40-80 cell phone bill, but they also only work if you use your cell phone very little.

12 comments:

  1. Virgin Mobile just announced rollover @ $20 for 3 months.

    ReplyDelete
  2. I have Tracfone. I get 60 minutes for 3 months for $20.00 and they roll over.

    I got mine from Wal-Mart and they do all the work to add minutes when I need them.

    ReplyDelete
  3. By the way, at least for T-Mobile, once you pay $100 or so (best if you pay that up front, since then you get $0.10/min rate as well as 1-yr expiration date on the minutes), your minutes *always* last for one year since your last refill.

    So, if you pay $100 first year, and then pay only $10 near the expiration of the first year (note that here you don't really get the same $0.10/min rate; that rate applies only when you are filling $100 at a time), then unless you are using up the minutes, you don't have to worry about it for a year.

    ReplyDelete
  4. I got a no contract plan with page plus and it is 39.95 a month for unlimited talk & text nation wide

    ReplyDelete
  5. This is the best no contract provider hands down. I have used them for almost a year.
    http://platinumtel.com/plans/realpaygo
    You can buy a phone for $20 and only have to spend $10 every 90 days. I use my phone in spurts. I can go a month and not use it at all. Then go out of town and use at a lot. The nice thing about platinumtel 0.05$ a minute!

    ReplyDelete
  6. This is long after the blog, but I thought I'd contribute my experience w/ tmobile.
    Jan 2009: Bought a simple flip phone for $32.
    Feb 2009: Bought a 1000 min refill for $93.
    Feb 2010: Bought a 30 min refill for $10.
    Feb 2011: Bought a 30 min refill for $10.

    I have 300 min left, and expect I can pull that $10 trick one more time. So, from Jan 2009 - Jan 2013, my phone is $3.23/mo. Obviously this only works because I'm not a big talker.

    ReplyDelete
  7. I have a net10 phone. I have had it for several years. I think you can get the phone for about $20, and they have a plan for 200 mins a month for $16.16. You have to set it up as an auto pay plan each month to get that price.

    The minutes roll over each month as well. There are some months where I hardly talk at all, and others where I talk a fair amount.
    Not a bad plan.

    ReplyDelete
  8. I (still) have that Virgin Mobile plan, and you are right, it is no longer offered. I auto pay (required) $15 every three months. I have only bought extra minutes twice, once when volunteering for a political campaign, and once on vacation. At the moment i have over $60 still on my phone. Obviously, I don't use my phone very much. :>



    0$15 every 3 months

    ReplyDelete
  9. TRACFONE IS MY CHOICE. FIRST YEAR IS $100 FOR 450 MINUTES. EVERY YEAR AFTER THAT IS $6.19 A MONTH. ALL MINUTES ROLL OVER AND IF YOU NEED MORE MINUTES AFTER 4 OR 5 YEARS THEN ADD ANOTHER 400 MINUTES FOR VERY FEW DOLLARS. WE HAVE TWO PHONES AND PAY $6.19 EVERY MONTH FOR EACH. PERFECT FOR US BECAUSE WE ARE NOT CELLED TO EACH OTHER BUT HAVE THE FREEDOM OF CALLING WHEN EVER WE WANT.

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  10. So I'm thinking about getting a phone for my son. Is it better to go with one of these plans or to add him to my existing plan? He is only 12 and I'm not sure how responsible he will be with the phone. Any advice will be appreciated.

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  11. Arriana, these prepaid (or ultra-low rate) plans are for people who don't really use cell phone except in emergencies (i.e. I use my cell phone maybe for one 3-minute call a week, and I almost never text). If you think your son might use the phone quite a bit, depending on how many minutes and free texts your plan has, adding him to your plan might be a better idea.

    The prepaid plans do have the benefit of limiting how much charge your son could run up without your knowing, but 10 cents/minute isn't exactly cheap (about 3 to 4 times the rate you pay for Skype calls to many landlines) if you are using the phone for anything other than emergencies.

    ReplyDelete
  12. I have Tracfone. I bought a phone with triple minutes. I buy a card for 400 minutes for 1 yr (my phone gets 1200 minutes, since it's a triple mins. phone). The card costs about $100 (if you buy it at holiday time, you'll get bonus minutes on top of the 400 mins). That's about $8 a month. Minutes cont. to roll over year after year. I don't use my phone much, usually. But I have periods of time where I've used it for job hunting and such, and those minutes that rolled over from prior years came in handy.

    ReplyDelete

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