Friday, October 8, 2010

Frugal Phones For Families

It seems that with current mobile phone rates, land lines are going the way of the dinosaurs. Most families' land lines could be replaced with less expensive mobile options. However, there are always some drawbacks to mobile plans.

Some families spend enough time on the phone that the most inexpensive mobile plans simply don't allow enough minutes. The price can also go up once you start adding more lines so that everyone in the house can have their own phone. Pretty soon, you'll be buying texting plans and data plans, and what seemed like the frugal option starts to eat a significant portion of your monthly budget. Not to mention, you can end up dropping a good chunk of change on the initial phone purchase while getting stuck in stifling contracts. You all know what I'm talking about.

Our family has been resisting the urge to enter the smartphone era. We've been able to get our mobile-app fix using an iPod Touch and an old iPhone (no phone service - we just use the WiFi) that we were able to get off of a family member who had upgraded.

Recently, Wal-Mart began offering an inexpensive post-paid Mobile Family Plan which works on T-Mobile's network. Here's what's so great about this plan:
  1. It's a post-paid, no contract plan. You buy the phone you want with cash (get the inexpensive $35 one), and you can quit or upgrade your phone at any time. There's no early termination fees, no credit checks, and you don't have to worry when you accidentally send your phone through the washing machine - you're only out the $35 for the inexpensive replacement.
  2. It has unlimited talk and text for prices rivaling the lowest-minute rate plans of other carriers: $45 for the first line, and $25 for each additional line.
Unfortunately, their data plan isn't all that great. So, if you're like us, and you can get by without it, this is a pretty good deal.


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