Goodbye free cell phone

Friends, I have very sad news for you all today. A tragedy is unfolding right before our very eyes. I’m afraid my days of free cell phone service are numbered. My parents, and Girl Ninja’s parents, have formulated an evil scheme to ruin my financial future. They are kicking us off each of our families cell phone plans. The horror!

Unfortunately the majority of cell phone companies only allow five people on a family plan. There are five in my family, and six in Girl Ninja’s. That means there is no room for either of us to join on one of the exisiting family plans. Major bummer.

I know, many of you probably hate that I have leached off of my parents and enjoyed the benefits of a free cell phone. But hey, you’d probably do it to if your parents offered.

I’ve been out of my ATT iPhone contract since October. Girl Ninja’s Verizon contract is up in February. That means next month we will be starting our own plan. I love my iPhone, but just don’t know if I love it enough to pay for it myself. The thing is sexy as heck, but it’s also freakin’ expensive. It’s SEXpensive!

I’m pretty sure Girl Ninja’s phone is from the 1950’s as there is no touch screen, internet connectivity, or QWERTY keyboard. She’s stylin’ and profilin’ with an old school Motorola brick phone. Not only are our phone preferences completely different, but we are on different carriers. There are some serious decisions to be made. Let the arguing negotiating begin!

Do we go with modern technology and get iPhones (or Droids)? Or should we kick it old school and get a phone that is really designed to do one thing…make phone calls?

It’s looking like we’d be facing about $190/month if we hopped on an iPhone plan (that is unless Verizon has crazy low prices for their recently announced iPhone). I bet, though, if we just got super basic phones, with unlimited texting (but not data or other services) we’d probably be able to get our bill down to about $100/month.

That makes the iPhone an extra $1,080 a year (really $2,160 since you have to sign a two year contract).

As much as I love this little computer/lifeline/iPhone thingy, I just don’t know if the cost is worth it. Should be interesting to see how the next month pans out 🙂

What kind of cell phone do you have (smart phone or unsmart phone)?

How much do you pay for your cell phone plan (include # of people on plan)?

Anyone else receiving any type of parental hook ups, like Girl Ninja and I were with free cell phones?

78 thoughts on “Goodbye free cell phone

  1. Blackberry’s on Sprint Unlimited Everything. Awesome employer discount from 8 years ago that they don’t even offer anymore. $110.00-$120.00 per month.

  2. AT&T iPhone w/ legacy voice plan.

    60 bucks for 450 minutes, limited data [$15 bucks for 200mb?], and 200 text messages.
    It’s about all I use, and I change the text messaging dependent on usage.

    It averages 60 with the low texting, but will go up to 75-80 bucks if I’m texting a lot [I check usage 15 days into each month]. It’s just me on the plan. I do get a corporate discount of 10%.

  3. Plain old phone that just makes calls. I don’t pay monthly fees, and I top up at most £10 a month (~$15). If I want to use the web, I have a laptop, which works much better and broadband contracts are much, much cheaper.

  4. Wow, I didn’t know that having a cellphone in the US would be that expensive! Here in Germany you can get unlimited SMS and calls for about 40 Euro (roughly 48 Dollar). I don’t use my phone that much so I only spent about 5 Euros per month (9 cent per SMS or 1 minute call), without any monthly fee. Though I know that having an IPhone also will cost about 50 Euro per month with unlimited calls and sms, I think that prices in the US are steep!

    • I’ve heard that Europe is light years ahead of the U.S. in both connectivity and price (we still have a lot of dropped call problems, even in big cities). Text messaging only got minimally expensive recently. Though I heard that Apple products are at least double the price, is that true?

  5. I have Sprint and get a corporate discount. Had 4 basic phones for the longest time at $80/month. Upgraded my wife’s phone only to the HTC EVO 4G and now have a $155/month bill. Painful but I feel we need to keep up to date with technology because I don’t want to be like so many old people struggling with technology and we can “afford” it even though I do feel like it is a big ripoff. I feel your pain, Ninja. I’m about to upgrade my phone to 4G and it should only increase it about $10 more because Sprint has the best pricing with smart phone plans with my corporate discount.

    When I got married, I put my wife and her parents on my plan. They are the lucky ones getting hooked up with free cellphones/service from their daughter and son-in-law 🙂

  6. I currently have two cell phones- my Canadian one normally costs me about $35/mth for 100 minutes and unlimited texting. I just pay extra if I use the internet. I’m on pay-as-you-go on a horrible basic cell here in Australia and it generally costs me about 30 dollars a month if I do everything in my power not to make calls- especially mobile to mobile calls- and text sparingly.

    Definitely check into discounts through the federal government if you haven’t already!

  7. We only pay about $125 for two iphones on our plan, not sure why you would be paying close to $200. That also includes $30 unlimited texting.

    • is that with ATT currently? Do you have any data plan or none at all? My company announce they were kicking some of us off their cell plan, including me. I shouldn’t complain, but I’ve had free cell (including for personal calls) for 10 years now so it’s a change! I have a samsung rubgy (ruggedized for clumsy folks!) that’s nice & durable, but heavy & not-cool-like-a-smart-phone… hubby has same phone & we pay $50/ month for 450 minutes & 200 texts for him but he always has rollover minutes avail. So I’m thinking of replacing my work phone with iPhone so it’d be a second line on current account which is month to month. But I know myself and would totally want the data plan so that’s a quite a hike in the bill. And if I got the iphone, hubby would likely be so jealous…he’d want one too!

      • Yes, sorry I didn’t say it was with AT&T. I just added my mom to my plan too and she decided to get an iPhone so I know it will be like $160 now with her. Hubby has the unlimited data plan (got grandfathered in), I have the 200mb data plan ($15, between work and home I connect to wifi, so I haven’t even come close to the max), and $30 for unlimited family txting.

    • That’s the amount I calculated if my boyfriend & I got on a shared plan with 2 iPhones, so I also don’t get the $190. Unfortunately I can’t get my boyf to agree because he also is on a family plan with his mom who is footing the bill! HAH.

  8. I use sprint and have 450 minutes that is with no internet, it is 39.99 before fees and taxes. I just recently added 200 text for $5 extra. My bill ends up being about $55.
    My husband has a phone through his work.

  9. Plain ol’ Virgin Mobile pay-as-you-go with QWERTY keyboard…about $15.00/mth, no monthly fee. I only use my cell to text (and not as much texting as I used to), and to call home when I forget the grocery list. I have web access on my cell, but it costs $1.00/web use; I rarely use it; laptop’s more user-friendly. In 1 month (when Hubby’s gets through his probation period at work), he can get on board his company’s cell plans, with BlackBerry being the phone of choice ($28/month, tho’ I don’t have all the plan details).

  10. Totally not being judgemental, but I am always in awe of the amount of money people will pay for a cell phone. I just want the basics – I only need it for two reasons: to phone my BF to let him know him on the way home and to be able to connect to 911 if necessary (I have a long daily commute). Don’t need it for texting (don’t get the point of that at all!). Don’t need it for the internet (have it at work and at home). Don’t need it for pictures/videos (my life is not that interesting that I need to be able to take a pic at a moments notice). Don’t need all those apps to use up my time and money. So for these reasons I have the bottom of the line phone on the most basic plan. I simply could not stomach forking over $50 plus a month to those vulture cell phone companies. I got WAY more important things to spend my money on.

    Seriously, consider your needs and your wants when it comes to a cell phone.

    On a side note, I read an article this morning on CBC news website that in Ottawa in 2009, 911 dispatchers received about 23000 unintentional 911 calls, mostly from pocket dialing on the touchscreen type phones. Another reason to love my plain jane flip phone!

    http://www.cbc.ca/consumer/story/2011/01/11/ottawa-pocket-dialling-911.html

  11. My DH and I both have AT&T iPhones. Be sure to ask them about pricing and any employee/company discounts based on your employers. Our plan cost $128 a month for unlimited texts and a lot of data (2GBs), with 550 minutes. With free rollover the minutes have been plenty. We get a good discount based on my DH’s employer.

  12. I was on an individual plan before we got married, and my in-laws quickly kicked her over to my plan soon after the wedding. We now have a family plan on Sprint. They’re pretty cheap but I know that wouldn’t work out for you with the iPhone fetish and all, which thankfully both my wife and I have managed to avoid 🙂

  13. I’m one of the lucky ones still on my parents’ plan. I suspect that my parents will kick me off either next year or when I am due for a new phone.

    I have a blackberry curve. My parents have an excellent plan through their work, so I’m not really sure what the monthly total is.

    I like my phone- and the convenience of the internet at my fingertips all of the time, but were I to buy a phone on my own, I would have no problem going back to a basic phone without internet and a full keyboard.

  14. My mom insists on paying for a house cleaner and yard man to come to our house twice a month, because if she didn’t we would (gasp) do these things ourselves! She is really sweet to do this because it takes a lot of stress out of our already busy lives.

    I have a 1st gen iPhone so the data plan is about $20 less per month than the newer models. Maybe you can find a used one? Otherwise, if you can live without it (tear), the good old fashioned flip phone with unlimited texting might be the way to go. The good thing is, you and Girl Ninja can start your own family plan.

  15. Get on Sprint. Get android. Pay $69 for an everything plan with 450 minutes, unlimited mobile to mobile (any network), nights at 7pm. Add GN to your plan for $10 more. Save over $50 and be amazed by the power of Android.

  16. There is no way your iphone plan should be $200. Ours is about $$120 for two iphones each with the middle data plan and 450 minutes. Minutes are rollover so they add up very quick Unless you stream a ton of music its near impossible to reach the 2gb data limit. There are free apps that will give you a separate phone number to text through so you don’t need to add on any text packages (i was skeptical at first but it works great! I haven’t had an issue yet). If you are like me, I can’t live without internet on my iphone. Its insanely useful when traveling or just going out for the night and navigating to a new restaurant or something.

  17. We have the Droid from Verizon. As much as I’d like to save money on my cell phone plan, I honestly can’t bring myself to get a different phone. The Droid is awesome. I like being able to use it with my GPS ( since my car doesn’t have it), it lets me access my email from anywhere – used to be important but not so much anymore. Before this I didn’t have internet access on my phone and it’s come in handy a few times. Our bill is roughly 150.00-160.00 a month with a 20% employer discount.

  18. Dude, if you are old enough to be married and thinking about baby ninjas…you are old enough to have your own cell phone plan.

    We have Verizon. We both have “entry” level smart phones, the LG Env Touch (which they don’t sell anymore; the newer version has replaced them). We have a 1400 min plan (mostly because at that level, you get unlimited talk to up to 10 people, and that is where the benefit comes in for us). I have 250 text, he has 500 text (but we are getting ready to swap that). We both pay $10 a month for the data plan, up to 25 thingys (megabits, milabits?) a month. We have insurance on his phone (which we may drop) The gov’t offers a 15% discount. Our bill is $131 a month for both phones.

    We thought it was going to be alot lower when we signed up for the plan. They didn’t tell us about the $10 a month per phone data plan for these phones. And it is a long story about the text plans. We thought we would be at closer to $100 a month.

    Never had an iPhone or Droid, but from what I have been told….it is hard to go back once you have had one.

  19. I have an unsmart phone and am trying to hold out as long as possible! I have no clue how much my parents pay for my plan, but I know I cost them about $10 a month as an additional member. Yup, still on the parents plan, I feel like it is just easier that way.

  20. Yo Ninja,
    I got the droid from verizon – it’s pretty sweet, but they don’t sell Iphones in my state (no at&t coverage), so that’s not an option for me. I know you work for the feds, and usually every carrier has like an “employee discount” that you can just fill out your email address, and they’ll check to see if it matches a company in their records, and give it to you. It’s as simple as that. No questions asked or anything. MInes 18% I believe, bringing total bill for 2 people to 150/mo

  21. My husband and I are both still on our parents’ plans, but since our extra lines only cost the parents about $20 each a month, we just pay our parents that and stay on their plans.

    I have a Palm Pixi with a data plan from Sprint. It’s not as fancy as the iPhone, but I love it and it does waaaaayyy more than a standard phone. Still has the touch screen but with an actual keyboard (I dont like the virtual ones).

    Good luck with your search! We all know you’re secretly excited about this so you can do research and planning and decision-making spreadsheets 🙂

  22. I have a super basic Samsung phone (which is perfect for me), I’m w/ Solo Mobile and pay about $50/month. That includes 150 local minutes, 150 CAD long distance minutes, free even/week after 5pm, free incoming and 1000 text messages. I rarely, rarely go over. oh, I also have call display, but no voicemail because most people don’t leave one anyways.

    Jordan has some fancy querty/touch/windows phone has mega data a ‘fab 10′ national plan’ and a bunch of other who-ha for about $70/month. He also has voicemail/call display.

  23. You may already know this, but you will lose your unlimited data on the iPhone if you open a new plan. Unless you can convince them that’s it’s not really “new” since your phone number won’t change or anything. AT&T now only offers tiered data plans – which suck if you actually use a good amount of data.

    I have an iPhone 4 – love the thing. It’s like crack for computer geeks.

    I pay $48 per month to my dad since we’re on a family plan. $10 (voice) + $10 (text) + $30 (data) = $50 – 15% university discount = 48ish.

    My dad paid for ALL of my gas during high school and for a month or 2 after graduation. I was an authorized user on his SpeedWay MasterCard. It was a SWEET hook up!

  24. Mike and I both have iPhones and we pay about $120 per month for 700 minutes. I don’t know where you came up with the $190 per month number. And this is with the $30 per month for the unlimited data plan. It would be cheaper with the new data plans.

    I’ve been having an iPhone for a little less than 2 years now and I don’t think I could ever go back to a regular phone. You could go with Verizon for the iPhone, but remember it is a CDMA phone which means no data while on a voice call. That is a huge deal breaker for me – looking up movie times while on a call, pulling up some email etc.

  25. Over the summer, I dropped my phone in the river and called my dad to discuss getting a replacement. “Well, that’s perfect timing!” he said. “I was planning on telling you that I wanted you to get on your own plan now.” Wow! So, with that little notice, I suddenly had to find my own plan.

    The phone-of-the-river-death was a dinosaur — flip phone, no data. I expected to go the same route. I needed a lot of minutes because I have a lot of siblings and parents in other cities, on various carriers (and I go into work in the evening and often work weekends so finagling the “unlimited” hours was impossible.) As it turned out, I could save if I purchased the 600 minute plan. But I could get 900 minutes/unlimited text/ for the same price as unlimited text/minutes/data! So, I went with data. I pay $7 for insurance every month. I have a 20% work-related discount, and I pay about $66/month. My boyfriend was with me, and we asked what it would cost if we ended up adding his phone (should we get married one day) — it would take the bill to about $110 with his phone (also data). I am on Sprint and have a Palm Pixi.

    On another note, I am new to your site; I’ve been reading it for only about a week, and I love it! You asked recently if you are still relevant now that you are out of debt. I wasn’t a reader when you were in debt, and I find your site completely helpful and entertaining now! I am a twentysomething just now beginning my own journey out of debt and have just begun blogging as well. Thanks for the encouragement to get my financial house in order!

  26. About $52/month through verizon. I’m on the moto droid, I have the unlimited data& text plan and whatever the lowest tier of minutes is as I mainly text. They had a promotion via email back in Nov for voice+text+data plus plan starting @ $69.99 and I get a 19% discount through work. All for just extending my contract for an extra year (which was only extended for an extra 5 days as I called about it 5 days after my first yr anniversary with them) they have one for $139.99 for family (first 2 lines included) not sure if they are still offering the deal.

    My data usage on 3G is over 2gigs a month, if not for wi-fi and the unlimited data plan, I think my costs would be close to $200 a month if they had a data plan cap.

  27. We have simple Verizon phones WITH a Qwerty keyboard but that require no data plan. In addition I have a 32gb iPod Touch that connects to wifi at home and at the office so I am covered most of the time. A year’s worth of not having a $30/mo data plan more than pays for the Touch.

  28. I love t-mobile. No contract phone plan. (Not pay as you go, I just told them I don’t want a contract and they said OK.) There are no bells and whistles, but for $60 per month I have unlimited texts, unlimited nights and weekends, t-mobile to t-mobile unlimited, and 1000 minutes. But I’m like Girl Ninja… my Samsung phone has no data, no internet (although it can) and NO picture taking capabilities. However, it is durable and doesn’t run out of battery…. since you’re planning on having kids, may I suggest a durable phone? They LOVE to break your nice screens on your I phones… just ask any parent 🙂 good luck

  29. My hubby and I have been researching phone plans for about a month (we got married in March). He’s on Verizon and I’m on T-Mobile. I think I’m going to go on his plan this week with a basic cell phone. He has a blackberry and I traded mine for a cell with a QWERTY keyboard and internet access 2 years ago. I have never once accessed the internet through my phone during that time. I do text a lot, which is super convenient. But, I have a great PC at work and a Mac the rest of the time. There’s wi-fi everywhere, so no real need to use a phone for internet. I have a great digital camera, camcorder, and digital recorder for making videos and podcasts, so no need for the camera in my phone either. Hubby seldom uses his phone for anything other than calls and texts either. Both of us are super tech savvy. I have to be up all of the latest (and emerging) technology for my job. I get the convenience of multi-use gadgets and smart phones and apps. I just don’t feel the need to be attached at the hip to technology all the time (like I used to be). Once I realized how great it is to unplug and not make myself available for every phone call, email or tweet, etc., I dropped my smart phone habit – and I’m not looking back!

  30. My bill is about $205 for 5 lines sharing 700 mins, unlimited text, 2 Droids (1 unlimited data @ $30, and 1 150MB for $15) before my employee discount. I am the parental hookup for my mom and sister, but once my sister graduated from college I made her start chipping in $45 a month.

    I often thought about getting rid of the smartphone, all I did was get spam email and check facebook with it. But then upgraded from a Blackberry to a Droid and having way too much fun with Angry Birds. Think about all that you do with your IPhone now and if its worth the extra money. Verizons plan for the IPhone will most likely be the same as it is today which is just adding $15/$30 to your voice plan.

    Take the next month and evaluate the past 6 months of usage to determine how many minutes you need, keeping in mind that by consolidating to one company you are going to get mobile to mobile benefits. Take a visit to stores and play with the new phones to find the one you want, especially GN.

    Also keep in mind that if you want to keep your numbers you are going to have to do a change of responsibilty through each carrier and sometimes those can get tricky, so call now and find out the process.

    Saw last night that AT&T and Verizon are turning into the next Coke vs. Pepsi, with the advancement of data, things are going to get interesting among all the carriers, so advice to all is to check in on your plans every so often there may be better deals to be had as the competition heats up.

  31. My husband and I have been on my parents plan since before we were married. We have been married 6 1/2 years now. About a year or so ago, my parents started fussing that we needed to get our own plan, so we just offered to pay our part of their plan. It’s been fine so far, but they are fussing again. Saying we need to cut apron strings. I don’t see why we need to get our own plan if we are already pay for our part of the plan, but what can you do. I think they have set a deadline of us turning 30, which is a year and a half away.

    My husband has a smartphone (Palm Treo) and I have a seriously old Nokia brick phone that was free with the plan back in 2003. We pay for our lines $10 x 2 + texting $5 x 2 + data for hubby $25 = $55 total. Once we get our own plan, we will probably go with Sprint and bring my phone into the 21st century. But we will make that decision when we get there because with the pending price war between AT&T and Verizon, they might eventually come out cheaper.

  32. Wow, the day is almost here! While we have enjoyed having you on our plan looks like limits are forcing you to grow up, I mean move on. I can not imangine life without a smartphone. We all use the internet, including you on our iphone’s and texting is awesome at keeping us in touch when dad ninja is on the road. Don’t just be cheap, buy what will make you happy and work within your budget.

    Roses are red, Violets are blue. My cell plan will be cheaper with out you!

    Truly if we could just add Girl Ninja we would have been happy to do so, but alas we cannot so you must now add a new line to your budget spreadsheet and move forward.

  33. VIRGIN MOBILE!!!! I am paying $40/month for unlimited text, internet and 1200 minutes of talk time. My hubby is paying $25/month for unlimited text, internet and (I think) 400 minutes of talk time. No contracts, but you do pay for your own phone. We have the LG Rumor Touch with a full QWERTY keyboard, but they just came out with some much better phones over the last month or two, and DH is saying that the next few months should bring around some awesome new phones on their plans. I have everything I need, most of what I want, and it is WAY cheaper than going back to my old plan (which cost me more, but had no texting or data included).
    We never dropped a call while we were in SD, and that was during the massive storms in December when we floated down the freeways between San Marcos, Oceanside and downtown.
    Also, they made it really easy to keep our same phone numbers. I may look into the iphones when my phone breaks down, but I doubt I’ll make the switch; this plan is just too sweet.

  34. We’ve got matching Blackberries. I’m kinda sad we went with smartphones because I’m pretty sure we’ll always have smartphones, now. I’d got Android over Blackberry, now, but I wouldn’t have done that when I got the Blackberry in 2009. Android is on the way to having more apps than iPhone, too.

    We’re with Sprint and have a corporate discount. We’re paying $125/month for more minutes than we use and unlimited data.

  35. Well, if GN’s cell phone is from 1950, mine is from the 1800’s. I have a very basic “unsmart” phone (actually a Samsung) that does nothing but make phone calls (no keyboard!), and I buy a pre-paid card from Virgin that costs $100 and is good for 12 months! So… my cell phone “plan”, if you could call it one, costs me $100/year! I do have to pay for everything I do with the phone (calls, texts), but seeing as I really don’t have much of a life, it all works out fine. In fact, after owning the phone for just over 2 years and investing a whole whopping $300 total, I still have a $180 balance on the phone!

    I honestly cannot imagine paying $100-200/month for a cell phone!

    • “…as I really don’t have much of a life…” LOL! I miss simpler times. Hate growing old. I tend to hold on to old tech way too long since everything new gets outdated so quickly. Balance is tough.

    • Same here – we’re on the Virgin Mobile pre-paid – can’t imagine why people would need anything more than that – unless they talk A LOT to others. Me, I don’t need to, and pay a LOT less.

  36. My husband and I have Verizon and I have a Droid with the $30 data plan, we have 700 shared minutes and unlimited texts. Our monthly bill is $125. When my husband switches to a smart phone, we’re looking at about $155 a month. We get 15% off a month because I work at a state university. You should see if working for a county public school (I think you said Girl Ninja works for a public school system) will get you that same discount. My husband works for the county government and he has access to the same 15% discount (we used mine since he joined my plan after his parents booted him off theirs).

  37. OH and I forgot to mention that prior to me getting a Droid, our plan was $89 a month with the 700 shared minutes and unlimited texts 🙂

  38. Check with both of your employers to see if there’s any kind of discount with a wireless carrier. Many large employers have some kind of discount deal.

    I have the best employer discount in my family (I work for a certain wireless carrier), so my family is styling it on my plan. They are paying their share after the discount. Prior to working at this job, we were paying around 33/month/person with brick phones, limited minutes, unlimited texting. As far as being under the princess plan, I got the limited princess plan for college but I have always paid for my share of the cell phone plan.

    I love my smartphone but I am not sure how much I would love it at full price.

  39. we have ATT and pay $75/month for my husband and my phones, which includes something like 500 minutes (with rollover- we have so many extra minutes) and 100 text messages each. that includes his company discount, which is maybe 15%. The phones are old samsungs that we got 3.5 years ago. our contract has obviously expired so we could upgrade the phones, but we are cheap so we are holding out as long as we can. since we’re not used to having internet etc it’s not a problem. It is funny on my daily subway commute looking around and seeing 80% of the riders engrossed in their smartphones, while I sit there with my library book. so old fashioned! but I work in science/engineering and guess I get my high tech quota met at work 🙂 occasionally I feel like it would be cool to be more current with a fancy droid. but that would mean paying more $ each month and so for now I am holding out. we’ll see how long I make it!

  40. We both have enV2 phones, which do have QWERTY keyboards. I love it for texting. It also has Internet capabilities, but we don’t have a plan or use the Internet ever. I say kick it old school. Our plan with texting is going to cost $89.99 with Verizon (that’s with unlimited texting and 750 minutes a month, which is all we need because Verizon has free mobile-to-mobile and everyone in our family is on Verizon). Plus, Mr. Red gets a work discount, so we’re looking at about $70 after his discount. Cha-ching!

  41. I’m 23 and still on my parents’ Verizon family plan. As my dad put it, “for $15 a month we can call and text you whenever we want for as long as we want!”

    Anyway, I have the Samsung Convoy. It’s a pretty rugged, low frills phone (it has a mediocre camera, can play music, and not much else), but it is holding up better than any other phone I’ve ever had, the battery life is excellent, the call quality is superb, and it does everything that I need it to do. When I drop it, the battery doesn’t fall all over the place and the sides don’t get dinged up. When I don’t charge it for 5 days, it still works. It’s not a distraction. I don’t mind that, as my dad says “it’s kinda butch” (I’m a petite female), because it’s SO functional.

    I’m a fan of not paying for more than you need. I have my laptop with me 90% of the time, so I don’t need the features of a smartphone because my computer can do all of them. I have a nice camera and a large capacity ipod, so I don’t need my phone to take great pictures or play music (though the convoy can do both). However, some people will save money, energy, and space by simplifying to one device (such as an iphone) that serves as their only camera, mp3 player, pda, and (really small) laptop. It depends on your lifestyle.

  42. Sprint/Nextel offers discounts for government workers…. I think it’s about 10 or 15%. We have 2 blackberries with unlimited everything and a USB card for internet and we pay $200/month total out the door. We do have the family share plan.

  43. We pay $125/mo. on a family share plan, and I have an employee discount through work. I have a Motorola Backflip and my husband has a Samsung something-or-other. Unlimited texting, 450 minutes shared (we hardly call anyone, and it’s free to all other AT&T phones), I have 200M of internet/downloads, and he has unlimited. It depends on what you need. I have enough to stay in contact since I’m constantly away from my house, so it works. We also don’t have a landline.

  44. We each pay between $6-10 /month for our two unfancy phones with Virgin Mobile prepaid. So $12-20/month for two phones that make calls, text, etc. Sure they’re not fancy smartphones with internet connectivity, apps, etc – but they work for us. All we really need them for is making phone calls.

    I use my iPod touch along with the very freely available wi-fi that is everywhere these days – to get my smartphone-like fix. I say go that route – cheap pre-paid service – unless you absolutely need a smartphone for some reason. 🙂

  45. Check out Sprint Family plan. If you call ANY mobile phone it doesn’t count…The Wife and I pay 120 for unlimited text, data, and 1250 mins. FANTASTIC both of us have android based phone

  46. We are on an AT&T basic voice family plan for that last 8 or so years. Not even sure our plan would be available today.

    If you want smartphones, it looks like Sprint has one of the better deals around. I’ve been thinking of upgrading to smartphones and have been seriously considering moving to Sprint. Besides – I really don’t like the crappy customer service at AT&T.

  47. I use a prepaid phone service, which costs anywhere from $10 to whatever I want to spend. I got sick of spending $90 a month for two blackberries with internet and went basic. Now both my husband and I have prepaid phones and spend whatever we want on them that month. Usually we renew minutes every couple of months, because without internet, we only use a talk and text. We have google voice numbers so if we want to go to a different carrier we can whenever we want. Most prepaid carriers give you free minutes when you buy a new phone, so if I want a different phone it is easy to get.

  48. I used to share a cell phone plan with my mother. It was a dumb phone and she wasn’t willing to pay monthly Internet and texting fees, so I paid for that.

    After a while though, I got an iPhone with the husband. We were paying around $150 after taxes and employer discount. This was a lot more than my previous $10/month but well worth it in my opinion. My smartphone is my everything.

    Middle of last year, we broke our contact with AT&T and jumped on the Sprint unlimited bandwagon. We still have smartphones, Samsung Epic 4G this time (aka Samsung Galaxy S). I think now we pay $130. We don’t really need the unlimited texting but definitely unlimited data.

    If you’re not particularly stuck on the iPhone but like smartphones, you should consider an Android phone. It’s just as good and the plans can be cheaper. Girl Ninja can always stay with a dumb phone.

  49. Eeep!

    We have prepay phones (like a lot of NZers, actually.) Together we spend an average of $50. That includes unlimited calls/ texts to each other and 2000 texts to others on the same network carrier. It does mean we’re a bit limited when it comes to contacting friends on other networks, but most everyone we know is on Vodafone.

    Data charges here are insane, so while we have one some what smart phone we don’t really use its full capabilities. Also, we are generally a nation of texters as calls are also expensive (unless you’re on a contract with a good plan)

  50. What kind of cell phone do you have (smart phone or unsmart phone)?

    We have T-Mobile. Hubby and I both have G1’s and youngest son has a Samsung something… Our phones are both Androids, full keyboards, internet etc.

    How much do you pay for your cell phone plan (include # of people on plan)?

    For the 3 phones, 700 shared minutes, each with unlimited Internet(which kills us, because that is $25 EACH phone every month!), unlimited text, free mobile to mobile(this saves us, because most of our family is on t-Mobile, as well as many friends) we pay $170 a month.

    Anyone else receiving any type of parental hook ups, like Girl Ninja and I were with free cell phones?

    Oldest sons took over our phone numbers on my father-in-laws family plan, so he pays for their phone service!

  51. I have not smarten up yet 🙂 I still have an older phone and I just switch to a pay as you go… I can’t be bothered to pay for a data plan when I sit at a computer all day long with all the bells and whistle of the internet.

    My plan is to get a used iPhone and use the phone with pay as you go and use the smart phone functionality within the wireless network.

    I pay 20$ or less per month depending on my usage.

    I love to invest in the phone companies though. They pay sweet dividends and I make money from all those data plans!

  52. I have a Motorola flip phone, texting and Internet access is blocked! I don’t need more or do I want more. I gave up our land lines and only use our cell phones. As a teacher I get a group rate, my total monthly bill is $70 for 700 minutes.

  53. I’m currently the one paying the family plan for my family. I have 3 bro’s and two sisters. If I divide it by everyone on the plan, it ends up being $50 per person. I think a couple can get a plan for as low as $69-89.

  54. My cell phone service is FREE, plus my company pays me every month to use my cell, I am sorry people but you can’t beat not only free but getting paid to use your cell phone, I am on the Lightyear Sprint Nationwide Network that services the United States, Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands, we have pre-paid with no contract, no credit check and no deposit, if you don’t qualify for free service it is only $59.99 a month with unlimited talk/text/data. I am a rep and have at least 3 customers on this plan so my service is free, I get paid to use my cell, plus I get residual income every month my customers pay their cell phone bill. If you don’t want to be a rep you can be a customer on this $59.99 plan and if you (as a customer) refer 5 people to the plan then your service is free every month those 5 referrals pay their cell phone bill but the beauty is they can earn free service too. Watch this short online presentation to see how you can get free cell phone service and earn residual income, if you are interested call me at 1-800-439-8033. Good luck and happy talking, texting and webbing out there 🙂

    http://www.lyaintro.com/September2010BPnoNEXT/September2010BPnoNEXT.html

  55. I can relate. I’m a little ashamed to admit that my dad still pays for my cell phone and will for as long as I want him to. I would love to get myself in a position in the next year or two to take over those payments on my own. I can also understand the desire to keep with the iphone. I was sorely tempted to make the jump to one myself recently and it took the sensible advice of my better half to make me remember that it was a want, not a need and I could wait to have it.

  56. I’m in Canada, I get 150 daytime minutes + first min free, unl. evenings & wknds, 500 txt, vmail, caller id, ringback (whatever that is?) call waiting and all that other fun stuff for just under $50 a month… which I consider to not be too bad. I wouldn’t pay more for a cellphone. I have an unsmart but not too old phone, works fine though!

  57. We have unsmart phones with Sprint. 2 people, 2 phones, 700 shared anytime minutes, free minutes to each other, other Sprint phones, and nights (7pm on) and weekends. We pay $81 a month total.

    We are currently looking into getting smart phones with web access and unlimited everything but our monthly bill would go up to $140 total. I think we’re going to do it despite the cost since my husband is craving an upgrade and I want to be able to check my gmail for my blogs from anywhere.

  58. I finally got my very first Smartphone about a year ago. Prior to that I had a Motorolla Razor that had internet capability, but I didn’t want to pay for the data plan, so it wasn’t used. I didn’t have a keyboard so texts were long and drawn out processes. I switched to a Blackberry when my boyfriend put me on his plan. We are with Sprint and with three lines, all three with unlimited data, text and calls to any cell phone no matter who the carrier, we pay $150 a month. That is really not bad at all considering I was paying $60 a month before just for unlimited minutes and limited texting.

  59. Seeing as I live in Canada (…bummer, I know) I cannot offer much advise regarding what plan/provider to go with.

    BUT…I do have a blackberry and I cannot imagine going back to a regular cell phone! Although I am sure that I could get used to it in the sake of saving some $$…

    Do you both have to get the same phone? Why do you have to go on a family plan?My man-friend and I have separate plans (because like you Ninjas we have different priorities) and we are very happy with it, and it comes out to cheaper than combining them.

    Keep us posted,

    Shoe Gal

  60. My husband and I each have iPhones, our first smartphones and I could not would not go back. Being able to check fscebook, my 4 email addresses, twitter, etc whenever I want and not using company computers to do personal work, it’s great. $50 each, plus I negotiated free call ID (reduced from $7 to $5 for hubby). This includes free weekends and evenings after 6, fave 5s text and talk, and because we are on a family plan together, we can call each other for free. Ask for loyalty discounts but also check for alumni, union, student, etc deals. Good luck!

  61. One word: Tracfone

    If you don’t care about the smartness of your phone, and especially if you text more than you talk, check out Tracfone. Heck, buy a couple and try them out, you can get a pair for 15$ with a half hour (texting comes out of minutes and 30 minutes would equal 90 texts) of talk time each. See if you miss things too much. If not, you could drop your cost to as low as 8$ a month each (total upfront cost averaged)

  62. I think you should try to get a free cell phone from Net10 on their web by buying one of their prepaid plans for starters and then you can choose each month which plans you want to use from their selection of 3 which are $15/200min., $25/750min, $50/unlimited. This way you have flexibility so that the plan suites your budget and talk needs.
    Tracfone plans are a brilliant super cheap choice if you don’t use your phone much but for intermediary and heavy phone use.
    I use Net10’s plans, usually the $25 plan for 750 min. and am saving $55/month since switching from using a contract and paying $80/month.

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