A while ago, I was faced with the option of exchanging my cell phone with a pay-as-you-go TracFone. My father told me that since I was moving out of state he would no longer be paying for my cell phone bill. I would either have to scramble for money every month to pay for service or get a pay-as-you-go phone. I ended up choosing the TracFone.
Having done this, there are a couple of things I want to mention to future buyers or other people who have found themselves in a situation similar to mine.
First, before you do anything, consider how much time you spend on the phone per month. How many people do you actually call? Check your call log. Consider also how often you text (this will be important later, trust me). If you’re like me, you probably text more than you realize, and most likely you also call more people per day than you think. It’s important to know approximately how many minutes you spend on the phone per month. If you can’t approximate the number of text messages you send (and receive) per month, phone billing companies will usually give you this information.
Next, ask yourself how much money you are paying for phone service per month right now. If you are on a family plan and/or you make a lot of calls per month, it is likely that switching to a pay-as-you-go phone is not the best option for you. If, on the other hand, you call only a few people and don’t spend very much time on the phone, a tracphone may be a good choice.
Keep in mind that with many pay-as-you-go plans, a text message (whether sent or received) usually costs you half a minute of airtime. It is also important to note that with a pay-as-you-go phone you buy the minutes ahead of time and they will be deducted as you talk. Unlike a traditional service plan, if you talk for 53 seconds (or whatever) on a tracphone, you will be charged for one minute rather than the amount of time you spent on the phone.
Also, when buying a pay-as-you-go phone, I recommend buying the nicest one available. Although I am alright with the tracphone I purchased (since I’m a college kid with no money who call exactly three people) I really miss my old phone. The reason is simply an issue of quality. Even though my old Motorola Razr was unnecessarily advanced for what I needed, it also processed considerably faster. Were I to do it over, I would choose an upgraded tracphone.
Finally, if you choose to get a pay-as-you-go phone, make sure to get one with double minutes. Many pay-as-you-go companies offer the option of buying a phone (which usually costs a little more than the other models of equal quality) which, when activated, will double all of the minutes you buy. For instance, if you purchase a thirty minute card and register those minutes to an activated double minute phone, you will actually get sixty minutes of air time. It’s a great deal, and it’s well worth the initial investment.
Here’s a little comparison of traditional cell phone versus pay-as-you-go phone to help you make a decision:
–Pricey monthly plan
–Exceptional quality phone
–Great for families (family plans)
–You pay for all your services, whether you use them or not
–No monthly plan, pay per minute/per text
–Decent quality phone, not necessarily stylish
but great for junking around
–You only pay for what you use