Tracphone vs cell phone
April 18 2008 at 2:30 AM
Ok, due to some upcoming changes in our lives, we have decided to enter the 21st century and get a mobile phone of some sort. Besides.....that 2nd head I seem to grow whenever I say I don't have a cell may wither away and die, lol.
We are not yappy phone talkers, not even my boys, so this would be for basic communication and emergencies. We will need it more in our investment property in Maryland than anywhere else. At this point, 1 phone amongst us all would be fine, however, in the fall when we have sports going on, it may be beneficial for 3 of us to have phones in order to coordinate everyone. I was leaning towards a tracphone, until I started thinking about the fall...we'd all need our own separtate tracphone, right? Is that much different than being part of a normal Verizon style group plan?
I know, these are simplistic questions, but I'm the most clueless person on earth when it comes to cell phones. And I mean that......I saw Amish guys on the train much more adept with cell phones than I, lol.
I'd appreciate feedback.
Lori in MA
I am not sure
April 18 2008, 5:03 AM
what would be the cheapest.
I think this is most important. Find out if the phone will get reception where you will be travelling. My friend Sandi has a tracphone and she has problems with reception often and she is in Amherst where this shouldn't be a problem.
You will have to buy the phone either way. Not sure which would be cheapest here either. I have heard from my kids that the cheap phones are also part of the problem with reception. That said my phone was 29.99 and it is groovy looking and I have no problems with reception (yep that is cheap).
You can call or look online at Sprint, Verizon, or AT&T (used to be Cingular) or whatever is in your area. You can look for different phone plans. Ask or look for the most basic plan; see how much it would be for 3 phones and the least minutes they offer for each month and if the minutes roll over to the next month if you don't use them.
You can also look online for phones and see how much they cost and what they look like, etc. I think either way you will have to order the phones online.
If you talk to a person, always ask them if there is a cheaper plan than what is online. You can ask if there are any specials if you sign with them.
If you go with a company, sometimes they might ask for a deposit, regardless of your credit. You might have to sign a 2 year minimum contract.
We signed a two year with Cingular/AT&T with 5 phones on it. One month my daughter's phone had a game added. She said she never added it. The other daughter had an internet access fee, which she said she never did. I called and they removed the charges without any problems. This is the only time in the 12 years we had the phones that I had a problem with wrong fees.
What I find frustrating about our cell phone bill is that the taxes are OUTRAGEOUS.
You will want to get a vehicle charger (10 bucks at WalMart). My cell always seems to die when I am in my van.
Hope this helps.
April 18 2008, 7:02 AM
Do talk to someone here who has one, because we get bonus minutes and so do you if you use a referral. Or at least they used to do that. Know what? I think that's changed, come to think of it.
Anyway, check out the tracfone list at yahoo:
I learned a TON by reading through these posts for a month or so before ordering for Katie (now 16) for Christmas. For about $40 I got her a phone (pink, no less!) and 218 minutes and 5 months of service. She still has minutes left, and just got another 60 minutes, which I will turn into 180 with codes and a double minute card, etc. She got the 60 minute card for her birthday, but honestly? It was part of the $40 I spent in December!
You can get fantastic deals with Tracfone if you use the codes and are creative with how you use it. She uses it primarily with texting, which uses .3 minutes per text.
Look at the site and email me if you like. There are others here who've been able to use cell phones for very little a year by using Tracfone. That's where I found the site--right here!
April 18 2008, 7:28 AM
a penny for my phone, but it means I'm tied to a contract.
My concern with the Tracphone is that there are ways to get some great deals for extra minutes and such, but knowing me, I'd run out of minutes while I was out of town, in the middle of a family emergency, and end up paying some outrageous price to be able to talk to my family members. With my Alltel phone, I don't even worry about going over minutes, because they are a part of my Circle, so it's free to talk to them 24/7/365.
I pay more for my phone, but added on my kids for $10/month - and we share our minutes. We don't use many minutes outside our circle - we call one another 99% of the time.
I love my Tracfone
April 18 2008, 9:12 AM
Since you're not planning to be yappy, it will be a great plan for you. Best part is that you can carry the minutes from month to month without penalty (not all pay-as-you-go plans offer this).
It really depends on how much
April 21 2008, 12:32 PM
you plan on using the phone. I went from Cingular ( now AT&T ) to Tracfone because I don't use my phone much. I was paying $36/month for Cingular and now I pay $42/YEAR with Tracfone. I use about 20 minutes a month ( my incoming text messages are free )and I'm still on the same network. AT&T is the #2 provider in my area. I don't worry about running out of minutes because I have a ton of them from the old refer a friend program. They no longer offer that tho but there are always codes to chose from to add minutes or time. It's alittle bit of work to find the best deals but for me it's well worth it.
Using my area code I priced a family plan with 3 phones at AT&T. You would get 550 minutes for $60 for the first two phones and it is $10 more a month for the third phone. That includes unlimited rollover minutes, free nights/weekends and unlimited mobile to mobile. With taxes it would probably be around $70/month.
Tracfone has two deals in my area now. One is a free phone, 400 minutes plus 50 extra and a years service for $99.99.
The other is a phone and unlimited double minutes for life for $49.99. Shipping is free for orders of $35 or more.
Bethann mentioned the Yahoo Tracfone group and there is a ton of good info there. Hope this helps you out.
You have two choices; make progress or make excuses.
How do you do $42/yr when the cheapest card is $19.99?
April 21 2008, 2:09 PM
If you don't have the annual card, you have to add time every 90 days, which is basically 4 times per year. At $42, that's only $10.50 per add.
Let me know how you do it because I've been buying the annual card! I've got 1,898 minutes on my phone right now and my average usage is 5-10 a month, so I don't need many, either . I just bought my annual one at the end of March; the $99 annual card comes w/ 400 minutes, and I used a code to get a bonus 230 minutes (was supposed to be 200 but when it activated the card it gave me 230!). W/ tax, I pd $106.74 for one year, but I would like $42 way better!
One thing I don't like about my Tracfone - can't use voicemail
April 21 2008, 2:19 PM
I ahve it on this new phone. However, I can't access it. I tried on the phone and the number it dials (is invalid (checking using yout tracfone uses your minutes, so that's not the best way anyway). I tried doing it from a landline (doesn't use up your minutes) and it doesn't work either (you're supposed to be able to call your phone w/ the phone turned off, and when the message comes on hit # and be able to check your messages). I need to find my manual for the phone and see if I'm doing something wrong.
How I do it
April 21 2008, 2:36 PM
is getting the B1G1F 60 minute cards plus a free phone when they offer them for $19.99 ( plus tax ) and free shipping. Then I add one every 3 months or sooner when I see a good code offer. I give the free phones away but you could either use them or transfer the minutes you get with them to your primary phone.
They have this special several times a year around major holidays. I think Mothers Day is one where they offer it.
Hope this answers your question, if not let me know.
You have two choices; make progress or make excuses.
I've never seen the B1G1F on the cards
April 21 2008, 2:49 PM
I have seen buy the card and get the phone free (that's how I got my current phone; my old phone was an analog and it got to where I could never get a good signal).
The cards are good as long as you have not activated them, right? So if they have that special anytime soon I can buy the cards and just hold onto them until next March when my year runs out???
Karen, my take on this
April 21 2008, 12:24 PM
If I were you (and I'm not), I would start with one Tracfone and decide later whether to switch to a family plan with another carrier. If you switch, you'll be able to keep your Tracfone number, and the phones themselves aren't so expensive that making the switch will cost you much. If you do switch, you will have to buy phones (some of which will likely cost more) plus $10 month for each additional line. Of course, if you're mostly talking to each other, that's free, so you can get an inexpensive (not too many minutes) plan. With Tracfone, you'll pay to talk to each other. There are a lot of pros and cons.
From my own experience, I've had a cell phone about 4 years and I don't use it much. Often I will use it for long distance because I've paid for the minutes, yet using my landline with prepaid long distance, like Onesuite, would be a lot cheaper. At the moment I am in a family plan with DS. When he gets married and he and fiance quit fighting about what wireless company (he likes Verizon, she likes AT&T), I'm sure I'll go to Tracfone. With all of the deals, I think I'd save a lot.
You are asking a lot of the same questions I asked when I first signed up with Verizon. DS wasn't an issue then--he didn't live here. I really wish I'd gone with Tracfone first, because I'd probably still be with them.
April 22 2008, 2:28 AM
I'm probably going to get a tracfone to start. Hubby could care less if he has a phone, so until we feel the need to have more than 1, this seems like the best option. I know my son would like one, but he's going to have to wait a little longer.
Do you have T Mobile service in your area?
April 22 2008, 5:51 AM
I have heard that they have a prepaid phone that is an even better deal than Tracfone. We don't have it here, so I have not researched it.
Maybe we have covered it all here...
April 22 2008, 7:59 AM
...but there is a prepaid cell phone thread (mostly Tracfone) in the archives.
I may have to rethink this
April 22 2008, 5:57 PM
I was talking to the agent today and he mentioned that the owners mentioned they can only get cell phone service nearly hanging out the attic window. I'll have to ask them Friday at closing what company they have, but I very well may not have cell service at the house, which means we will need a land line. I need to be able to call for emergencies.
April 23 2008, 4:46 AM
I checked the tracfone site, and at least for my zip code, the deals are:
Motorola W370 with a double minute card, for $39.99. Every time you add air time, which begins at $20 for 60 minutes, you get double that. With codes from the yahoo list, you'd get at least 180 minutes when you add a 60 minute card. You get 20 minutes when you activate your phone online, 10 if you activate it using your tracfone. You get 20 minutes if you sign up for the tracfone insider. So, for $60, you'd end up with a cool flip phone and 220 minutes of air time. Adding 60 minute cards with codes from the list make your cost around .11/min. A couple times a year, they offer the 60 min cards as a b1g1 offer. That really drops your per minute cost!
Or, a red reconditioned Mororola C261 with a 200 minute card for $39.99. There are some codes available on the list to add some extra minutes with that, too. I think the current one is add an additional 60 minutes when you activate a 200 minute card. Or you could add a double minutes for life card to that package for $49.99 and get double minutes, like above.
There are some other deals. These are what's being offered in my market. Your market may have different deals. If there's something you want in a different market, you have to do a little research, but you can often get that package and have them send you a different SIM card. So there really are ways to make Tracfone a fantastic deal.
Oh, there is also free shipping on orders over $35 right now, too. Here's the yahoo list:
Or, Staples has a tracfone for $9.99 right now, too. You could always just get that plus a $20 60 min card, and double that with codes. Depends on what you think your usage is going to be.
One more thing--that double minute card for $49.99 is for the life of the phone. If your phone dies, your out of luck, but if the phone lasts a long time, it's well worth the cost.
Lots of options.
do you get free calling
April 23 2008, 6:36 AM
from one cell phone to another on tracphones?
95% of all our calling is from one cell to another - and those calls are free so long as we are w/in our local calling area when we place the call(inlcudes most of Missouri and Arkansas) the call can go out to about anywhere in the lower 48.
April 23 2008, 12:47 PM
That's why we keep a regular cell phone bill, too. Dh and I use that. Ds and Dd are on it as well--their own plan, I mean, but same company. We do a lot of calling within our own company. A lot of people around here use this company. 16yo dd is the one with the Tracfone. It's been a great first phone for her and definitely cheaper than if I'd added a line to my regular wireless.
My sil and bil have completely switched their family of five to Tracfones, though, and they are creative enough with how to communicate with each other--lots of texting and voicemail-- so that they are saving BIG BUCKS over the regular wireless company.
Dh and I use ours for business, too, so I don't think we can quite go there right now.