I Need a Cheaper Cell Phone Plan

by Erika Torres

cheaper cell phone planIn our quest to save for our down payment, we’ve been eliminating excess spending, and hunkering down on our budget.

We’ve brought down our cable bill, internet bill, put ourselves on an allowance, and have really been sticking to our budget–finally.

But the one bill that I’ve been avoiding is our cell phone bill.

We currently have Verizon Wireless– we both have the iPhone 5.

Our current plan is 700 Shared Minutes, Unlimited Text, and 2GB of data for me, and Unlimited Data for Eric (it was some weird loophole, which allowed him to keep unlimited data).

We pay $146.93 a month, which includes a 15% discount I get through work.

That’s $1763 a year we’re spending to be connected to Facebook 24/7. Granted, I do need internet for work, but I still think that’s a really high price to be paying.

Our contracts expire September 18 (me) and October 31 (Eric).

We’ve never had an issue with Verizon, which is why we’ve stuck with them…but my current issue is it’s just so damn expensive.

I’ve been hearing a lot about a cheaper cell phone plan through different carriers–however, trying to make sense of it all, has been a big headache.

There are no-contract cell phone plans like Republic Wireless, but you have to buy a phone through them?

Same with Virgin Mobile — they offer this comparison of Virgin vs Verizon:

cheap cell phone plan

But, they’re not exactly comparing apples to apples. My current Verizon plan does not cost $100 a month for just me. In fact, for a year with Verizon costs us $1763–Virgin Mobile is saying for just me, it will be $1364–that doesn’t make sense or provide any savings. Perhaps because you have to factor in the $400 cost of the phone upfront?

I also wouldn’t want my service to suffer. And I don’t know how Virgin Mobile stacks up.

T-mobile also has cheaper plans, but when you factor in the full price cost of the phone, it adds $27 a month to your bill, for each phone. Bringing my total to the same amount I pay with Verizon.

SO–who has a cheaper cell phone plan that they’re happy with?

I am willing to explore all options.

Update Dec 2016: the price of the iPhone 5 is now under $250.


Bryan February 23, 2015 - 12:07 am

I usually go with an affordable plan that’s effective and reliable. It’s just a practical option since our whole family needs this so we won’t have any problems with calls and texts.

Molly J September 21, 2014 - 2:57 pm

My husband and I have iPhone 5s with Virgin Mobile and pay approximately $70 month. I have 1200 minutes and husband has 300, unlimited text and data. It was an easy switch because we previously had Sprint and they operate from the same network. It was painful to pay upfront for the phones, but worth it in the long run.

When are you happy with your budget? - Newlyweds on a Budget September 9, 2014 - 11:52 am

[…] example, while I was ready to jump on board on switching to a cheaper cell phone plan as soon as our contracts expire next month, Eric doesn’t really want […]

Amy @ Army Amy August 25, 2014 - 7:29 pm

What I do wouldn’t work for everyone, but I don’t pay for data on my phone. It’s just talk and text. My school has free wifi, as do most places now a days or I’m at home where I’m already technically paying for wifi via my internet bill. It’s really only a pain when I need directions. If I’m really desperate, I just putt into the parking lot of the nearest Starbucks and hop on their wifi!

Misty August 23, 2014 - 2:35 pm

I’m switching to the Walmart Family Mobile plan when my contract with AT&T ends. I know the service won’t be as awesome, but it’ll save me upwards of $800/year that can go towards a downpayment.

John McKinney August 22, 2014 - 12:06 pm

These expensive cell phone plans almost make me want to move to Europe!

Richard S. August 22, 2014 - 6:36 am

My wife and I actually just switched to AT&T with my in-laws and got a Family Plan. We all have iPhones and have same 2GB data per month. It brought our monthly payment down $100 (from $160 to $60). It’s not super-independent to be on a family plan, but it saves us money and allows us to do other things while staying connected.

newlywedsonabudget August 22, 2014 - 9:22 am

wow that is an excellent price!

Tony August 20, 2014 - 8:12 pm

I don’t have an iPhone, so I doubt I’ll be of any help. I do have a Sony Xperia (Android): 2gb data, 300min, unlimited texting $35 a month.

DivHut August 20, 2014 - 4:55 pm

As many other comments have proclaimed… Ting! My wife and I moved to Ting almost a year ago and love it. We are both very light cel phone users and together we pay with taxes/fees about $27/month for 2 phones. This is for talk/text and wifi data. I wrote about my experience with Ting on my blog as well as unlimited home phone with Ooma.

Frugal(er) August 22, 2014 - 5:13 am

I second that! I switched to ting about seven months ago, and even with having to buy an iPhone outright (I got a used 4s), it has already paid for itself: https://z3d26b2a2b1.ting.com/

Because I’m almost always within range of wi-fi, most of my friends have iphones so we use imessage–which is free, and I hate to talk on the phone; my bill has been $18/month pretty much since I switched. I’m ecstatic!!!!

newlywedsonabudget August 22, 2014 - 9:23 am

that’s amazing! I’m getting a lot of resistance from my husband but it just sounds so tempting to make the switch

tinyapartmentdesign.com August 20, 2014 - 3:48 pm

I have AT&T and their new plan now saves me a lot of money, I pay for 4 people and with a corporate discount pay $152/month for unlimited minutes, text and 10GB data shared (before it was over $200). I stream tons of stuff (podcasts when driving, Youtube, etc) and so does R and we have yet to go over the 10GB. Less than $40/person! Consider adding your parents or single friends who want to save money.

DavidCarlson August 19, 2014 - 8:03 pm

I’ve had Walmart Family Mobile (it’s really T-mobile, just trying to grab Walmart customers) and I’m really happy with it. It’s about $40-$45 a month, unlimited data. I got paid to review it so the phone was included in the review. I also got 4 months of service paid for as part of the review, but I still have the phone well over a year later. It’s a month-to-month plan so you can cancel anytime, which is nice.

Money Beagle August 19, 2014 - 11:48 am

I read earlier today that Sprint is planning on starting a price war, so if you see how things shake out over the next couple of days, you might land a pretty good deal.

Alice @ Earning My Two Cents August 19, 2014 - 7:47 am

I know we overpay for our cell service with Verizon, but my husband and I both have a a lot of minutes and unlimited texts and over 3GB of data (I got grandfathered in and got a promo for the extra data). I recently renewed my contract and before I did I seriously considered switching to a cheaper plan (we pay $110ish each a month). Verizon just restructured their rates and did away with the unlimited data (which I used to have) but my plan now costs me $20 less a month. And I got my phone for free because I used my upgrade credit. The real reason I stayed with Verizon is because it’s reliable. I know that I actually get 4G here in Baton Rouge and when I drive cross-country I have consistent 3G at least. That’s not something that Sprint or any of the cheaper plans like Republic that use the Sprint network have. I wanted to be able to use the data I have and have consistent service, so I kept Verizon.

Brian @ Luke1428 August 19, 2014 - 4:24 am

We are at $110/mo. with AT&T. I know there are cheaper deals out there but we get good service and have my parents on the plan as well.

holly@clubthrifty.com August 18, 2014 - 5:11 pm

My husband has Ting and LOVE it. His bill is $26 per month with text, talk and wifi.

Mary Claire August 18, 2014 - 3:07 pm

Brightspot mobile (through target.) You can use your own unlocked phone. I have the $35 a month plan, which includes 300 minutes a month, unlimited data, and unlimited texts. No complaints! I did have to purchase a cheap brightspot phone for a couple of weeks while I waited for my iPhone 4s to be unlocked (I was still under contract), but once that was done, I went back to my iPhone with no problems.

Michelle August 18, 2014 - 10:42 am

I would check out Republic Wireless! I’ve had them for around a year and they are great.

Yup, this is an affiliate link 🙂 http://rwshar.es/8foN

marilolym August 18, 2014 - 10:09 am

i would recommend AT&T but since you can’t take your phone with you, i’ll flag that today verizon announced a new plan option for customers that you can take advantage of if your husband is willing to lose unlimited data for 2GB a month and you’re ok each getting unlimited talk and text vs sharing your current plan (which sounds like a win not that anyone ever uses up all their minutes nowadays!). $120 minus your 15% discount is at least a smidge cheaper:

marilolym August 18, 2014 - 10:10 am

not sure why my email address showed up – can you delete the comment so it’s not up there? thanks!

Meg @ Mr.C & Me August 18, 2014 - 10:01 am

mind deleting this comment so my email address isn’t showing? Thanks!!

Meg @ Mr.C & Me August 18, 2014 - 10:00 am

No help but will be interested to see what others suggest! We’ve been on Verizon for ages. Then got sick of paying so we switched for two years to Virgin Mobile. Virgin Mobile was good but the service wasn’t everywhere and we didn’t have smart phones. Now we’re back on Verizon and get a small discount from our employers. Although we’re in Minneapolis, we travel a bit and go home to rural IA, IL, and WI a lot and have found we only get (semi-good) service there if we’re on Verizon. Sprint, Virgin Mobile, etc is a not go in those areas. I think AT&T works but we’re not big fans.

savvyfinanciallatina August 18, 2014 - 8:13 am

I love all the comments! We do not have to pay cellphone bills as our companies pay for our cellphone bills, but I have been looking at options for my mom. I’ve been looking at our budget to see what we can cut. I have to figure out a way to cut our food expenses. We spend so much on food.

justrealhappy August 18, 2014 - 8:12 am

I have Verizon too, so if you come up with anything decent, can you keep us posted?

Practical Cents August 18, 2014 - 8:05 am

I was also with Verizon for over 10 years and together with my hubs we used to pay over $200/month! Earlier this year I switched over to Page Plus Cellular, an MVNO which runs on the Verizon Network. I did not have to get a new phone and the service is great but they only support 3G sevice (not a big deal for me) so it was perfect in my case because I didn’t want to buy a new phone. I have an iPhone 4s and pay $30.70/month. My husband switched to Republic Wireless but had to buy a new phone. He pays just under $30/month so our total cell phone bill is now $60/month. Also, you should look into Verizon’s new plans. I was recently on their website and saw that they revamped their plans and now If I decide to go back my bill would be around $50/month. There are lots of options out there and the competition is fierce. I’m sure you can reduce that bill with no problem.

Here’s how I made the switch to Page Plus if you’re interested: http://www.practicalcents.com/page-plus-cellular-how-im-paying-30-a-month-for-verizon/

Claudette August 18, 2014 - 7:30 am

I highly recommend using a SIM card (if I’m not mistaken iPhone 5 allows for this – I have iPhone 3gs and it allows SIM cards). It allows you so much freedom to go from company to company with no obligation/no contracts. (Also, SIM cards are super cheap on ebay – usu. $1 and that includes shipping/handling). I have used SpotMobile for years and it is really good. $40/month for unlimited everything (talk+text+data+international text+free international calling credit). My brother uses SimpleMobile and they also have a $40/month unlimited everything plan. Sadly SpotMobile is going out of business, and I am switching to LycaMobile which is $30/month for unlimited everything + they offer 1000 free international minutes (which is great for an immigrant like me or anyone that wants to call other countries for “free”). All mentioned companies uses T-Mobile’s tower so I get T-Mobile’s service quality (which I rarely have problems with). Also there are plenty of other companies that use SIM cards and they are just a google search away!

evolvingpf August 18, 2014 - 6:14 am

We have had Republic Wireless for a couple years now and think it’s awesome. Yes, you have to buy one of their phones, but with the Moto X their models are totally competitive. If you have good Sprint coverage in your area you should definitely consider RW or Ting (if you want to keep your iPhones).

Here’s one of my several RW reviews: http://www.evolvingpf.com/2013/04/republic-wireless-review/ You can pay anywhere between $5 and $40/month depending on how much service you want and change plans up to twice per month. I pay $25/mo for effectively unlimited talk/text/data with 3G coverage. The Moto X is $300, so over two years that is $12.50/mo.

Megan J August 18, 2014 - 5:44 am

My husband and I have had Republic Wireless for about 2 years and love it! We get unlimited talk, text, and data for $45/mo total. You do have to buy their phones, but I just got the Moto G (Moto X is also avaliable) and like it a lot. It also runs off the Sprint network when you’re not on wifi, and we haven’t had any connection problems with them. The customer service has always been good, too. Good luck!

plantingourpennies August 18, 2014 - 4:07 am

We switched to Ting from Verizon earlier this year and absolutely love it. Rungs on the Sprint network, which I was nervous about but turns out it has improved a lot since I last had Sprint in the mid-2000s. We both kept our iPhone 4Ss (well, we swapped our Verizon 4S for Sprint 4S using Glyde – which Ting will reimburse you for any $ loss during an equivalent phone swap), and our bills have been ~$47/mo after taxes and fees. And that’s for both iPhones together.

Here’s where I gushed about Ting even more: http://www.plantingourpennies.com/lowered-cell-phone-bill-100month-part-2/


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