How We Save BIG with a Prepaid Cell Phone Plan

posted by Andrea | 11/25/2019

how we save big with a prepaid cell phone plan

A couple of months ago, I polled social media regarding switching to a prepaid cell phone plan (and once again, you all came through for me!)

Dave and I have contemplated switching from Verizon’s network to something like Republic Wireless or Cricket Wireless for many months now (maybe even a couple of years) but we never actually followed through because we’ve never had any problems or issues with Verizon (other than the constantly increasing bill.) 

Many of you responded (thanks!) but your reviews were very mixed — some said these cheaper providers were worth the savings, others said they weren’t due to lack of coverage, smaller networks, dropped calls, poor signals, etc. etc. 

Since Dave and I have both been with Verizon from the very beginning, neither of us were super excited about the various “hoops” we would need to jump through to switch networks. But at the same time, the realization that our cell phone bill was literally our biggest utility expense each month continued to bother me. 

I wanted to figure out how to save money on a prepaid cell phone plan, preferably without switching networks or giving up any of our current features!

Interestingly enough, a few of you mentioned that Verizon now offers their own “prepaid cell phone plan” at a significantly discounted rate… I immediately went to the website to search for this option. 

After a little research of my own and asking customer service several questions, Dave and I decided that a Verizon prepaid cell phone plan might be the perfect option for us to reduce our monthly cell phone bill while still enjoying all the same features we’ve learned to appreciate over the last many years with Verizon.

I called a few days later… and the rest is history! 

NOTE: this post is NOT sponsored — I’ve been a happy Verizon customer since I was 18 years old! 

If you can’t see the video above, you may need to click through to the post

 

How much are Verizon’s prepaid cell phone plans?

At the time of this post (11/25/19) the prepaid plan we purchased was $40 per month for the first phone and $30 per month for each additional phone (plus a few bucks for taxes and fees.)

This plan includes Unlimited talk, Unlimited text, and 6 GB of data PER PHONE (we were previously sharing only 1GB of data!) 

At roughly $74 per month, this was already a fantastic savings for us — especially considering we were able to stick with the Verizon network and get 12 times more data between the 2 of us!

cell phone prices

But it gets even better! 

After I signed up, I realized we could save an additional $10 per month ($5 per phone) if we enrolled in the auto-pay option (which we ALWAYS do)! 

So… our current bill for the prepaid cell phone plan is only $64 per month TOTAL (for both phones)! 

CHA-CHING! 

apple iphones

How Does a Prepaid Cell Phone Plan Work?

The ONLY difference with Verizon’s prepaid plan is that we pay for our month of service BEFORE we used it, where previously, we paid AFTER we used it. 

Our most recent bill was on November 22 — which paid for our usage from Nov. 23 – Dec. 22, at which point we’ll be automatically charged another $64. 

NOTE: There really is no chance Dave and I would ever use more than 12GB of data in a month’s time, but if we did, we would just be charged a little extra on the next bill. 

My understanding (after asking MANY questions) is that the Verizon Prepaid Cell Phone Plan works with any type of cell phone and is available wherever the Verizon network is available. 

Read more for yourself on Verizon’s website

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cell phone data usage  

What’s the “catch”?

Honestly, I still haven’t found one! 

I double and triple checked that this prepaid cell phone plan pricing was NOT a promotional deal that would end at some arbitrary time — it’s not. 

I also double and triple checked that there were no hidden fees (other than a few dollars for taxes) — there aren’t.

I was originally told (by a reader) that the prepaid plans get “second rate” WiFi in crowded areas, but the Verizon rep assured me that only applied to any data we use ABOVE and BEYOND our 12GB — and we’ll NEVER use enough data in a month to worry about that! 

The only thing that might be a “deal breaker” for some is that the prepaid cell phone plans are NOT an option for anyone with insurance on their phone or anyone making payments on their devices.

Since Dave and I pay for our phones up-front, and since we do not have insurance on them, we were prime candidates for the prepaid plan… and thanks to a helpful customer service rep, we made the switch over in less than 10 minutes! 

All we had to personally do to make this switch (other than provide our credit card information) was to turn our phone off for 2 minutes and then turn it back on again. 

Not too difficult! 

 

As I mentioned above, this post is not sponsored. 

I simply get SO many questions from readers about how to save money on cell phone bills that I thought it was finally time to share our really great deal! 

Yes, I know there are some plans out there for only $15 per line — or tracfones that are even cheaper. 

However, the fact that we were able to keep our iPhones and stick with Verizon’s network (which is superior to all other networks where we live) justified the slightly higher monthly fee. 

We’re still saving hundreds of dollars every year with this prepaid cell phone plan AND we have 12 times more data! 

I’d definitely call that a win-win!

Do you have any other great tips to save big on cell phone services?

how we save big with a prepaid cell phone plan

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Filed under: LifeFrugal Living

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33 comments

  1. Marry Walker

    12/12/2019

    very useful tips for saving prepaid plans. An explanation is clear as a vell. Very useful as well. Gracias. keep posting this type of post for us.

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  2. Becky

    12/01/2019

    Did you have to go to the Verizon store to make the switch, or were you able to switch on line? Honestly, I would rather walk over hot coals in my underwear than go into the Verizon store. I feel like every time I walk in the door it’s a 2-hour visit!

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    Andrea Reply:

    no — absolutely NOT!!! No going to the store necessary (at least not for us).

    you can make the switch online, or call their customer service if you have questions (or just want someone to walk you through the process) It literally took us 10 minutes and was pretty painless!

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  3. Stewart

    11/28/2019

    Have you or any of your readers ever heard of Twigby? If so, would you please give a review?

    Thanks!

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  4. Julia

    11/26/2019

    Were you able to keep your same phone numbers? My husband and I have had the same phone numbers forever and really don’t want to change them. We have AT&T and it looked like we might not be able to transfer them. Anybody else with AT&T have experience with this?

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    Andrea Reply:

    yup, everything stayed the same for us. All we had to do was turn our phone off for 2 minutes and then turn them back on.

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    Shelley Reply:

    We switched from AT&T to Cricket a year ago and saved a ton of money (about half). We kept our same numbers and got more data. I have never noticed my phone being slower but my husband says it is occasionally. Hope this helps.

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    Blondie Reply:

    It is a federal law that you are allowed to keep your phone number when you switch providers.

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  5. Michael

    11/26/2019

    Hi-

    We just switched to Total Wireless (Verizon on TracFone, 4 lines for $95, 100 GB of data at Verizon speeds, not slowed at all! Can’t beat that with a stick. I will say that switching from a carrier to prepaid can be confusing, but I found TW tech support very helpful.

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    Andrea Reply:

    wow — that’s a fantastic deal. Thanks for sharing!

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  6. Mandi

    11/26/2019

    My husband and I have used PagePlus Cellular (prepaid) for almost 8 years now and we are very happy. For most years we were paying $37/month for both (on auto pay) but last year (after selling our rentals) we knocked that down to $20/month (again on auto pay). This carrier is on the Verizon network. The customer service is amazing and I don’t think they have raised their rates – in fact, I believe it’s gone down slightly through the years. I have had to bump up my renewal date several times if I ran out of texts or minutes – but a small price to pay when we are saving so much money. They make it easy to do that with their chat service. My husband and I do not use data – our plan includes some but I have no idea if it’s good or not since we use our phones for calling and texting. We have been able to use any phone option – we just have to purchase their SIM card.

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    Andrea Reply:

    this sounds fantastic Mandi! Thanks for sharing!

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  7. Carrie

    11/25/2019

    We have used Verizon Prepaid for about 10 months. Other than a couple glitches the first several months, where I had to call because one or more phones had no service at the beginning of the month, it has been terrific!!!!
    One thing to remember when switching to a prepaid service is that the phone has to be unlocked…or be a phone for that specific carrier.

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    J Reply:

    What does a cell phone being “unlocked” even mean?

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    Liz Reply:

    The phone companies have software on phones you buy directly from them (or their partner stores) to prevent the phone from working on other networks. You can get them “unlocked” so that they will work on other networks, but sometimes they ask you to pay for that. Locked phones are generally cheaper than unlocked phones because the networks give you a discount knowing you probably won’t leave their network. I personally think it’s a bit icky.

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    Jenny Reply:

    Thanks, Liz! That always confused me, but now I understand!

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    Andrea Reply:

    hmmmm…. they never mentioned anything to me about our phone needing to be “unlocked”. We just use iPhones that were purchased from Apple. Verizon said the only requirement was that our phones be paid for in full and not use insurance.

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  8. Sarah

    11/25/2019

    We’ve been with Republic Wireless for 8 years and have been so happy with them! $45/month for 2 of us. No catch.

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    Andrea Reply:

    that’s awesome!

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  9. Casey

    11/25/2019

    I just did this a few months ago as well–I had been grandfathered into a low rate via AT&T, but they found a loophole with their data packages and my bill increased by $10 a month. I did a lot of research and ended up going with Mint, and now just pay $25 a month. The first three months were only $15 a month which was great. The only catch was that I had to have an unlocked phone–so I purchased a used unlocked phone on ebay. I ended up selling my old phone on ebay for the same price so it worked out great! I calculated that I’m saving nearly $400 a year by making the switch.

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    Andrea Reply:

    yes, we were grandfathered in with Verizon too — but then last year, the rates started jumping up (probably some loophole like you mentioned). Glad we figured out how to get our monthly charges back down again!

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  10. Brenda

    11/25/2019

    That’s awesome! We’ve been using Cricket Wireless for 3 years and are very happy. We pay $125 per month for 5 (yes, 5) phones, all with unlimited data. It’s an amazing deal. They use AT&T’s network which is perfect for us in our area. We do have to pay separately for any phone upgrades but we don’t mind that.

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    Andrea Reply:

    Yes, this one was we looked into as well. Glad it working well for you and ALL your phone! 🙂

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  11. Holly Sanford

    11/25/2019

    Great info. I’ve been with Verizon also (gosh, 25 years now I think) and if I don’t have issues with a company then I hate to change but I also realize they are one of the most expensive. This sounds like a good option if I can get to a point where all our phones are paid off (two college kids and one is especially hard on phones). It might be a bit of an adjustment for the kids with the data but even if we went over a bit occasionally it sounds like it would still be cheaper for us. Thanks for the info.

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    Andrea Reply:

    yup, they are one of the most expensive!
    Also, if 6GB per phone isn’t enough, they do offer an unlimited package too (of course, that’s more expensive though!)

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  12. Lynn

    11/25/2019

    Thank you Andrea!!! I too have been with Verizon since the beginning and was trying to figure out how to lower my bill as well, this is awesome!. (Truth be told, I was with Alltell before Verizon bought them….I’m showing my age!).

    I am going to go onto my account and do this as well.

    Thank you so much!

    Lynn

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    Andrea Reply:

    it’s definitely a great money-saving option for verizon customers!

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  13. Rhonda

    11/25/2019

    Thanks for much for these tips, Andrea. We have US Cellular here in WI, and it looks like they do offer these prepaid options at similar rates that you describe. However, I have to check if we can change due to being “locked in” to our current plan. Anyway, it’s nice to have this blog to point out these tips, and do so in a thorough and easy to digest manner. I’m on a roll this month – we are refinancing a mortgage from 3.95% 30-yr rate, down to a 3% on a 10-yr. (in the process, I learned about “Total Interest Percentage”). Also, it never occurred to me to negotiate lower premiums for our car insurance. I recently read an article in the newspaper and was prompted to call our agent. I learned so much from her, and she was so helpful – just by simply asking! Granted, we are taking higher deductibles, but for people that are safe drivers, it can save a boat load in the long run.

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    Andrea Reply:

    yup! There are many ways you can save just by asking! It’s crazy all the secret discounts that are available!

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  14. Gilly

    11/25/2019

    Thanks for all of the information! Do you know if you have to carry a contract or is it on a month to month basis?

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    Andrea Reply:

    no contract!!!

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  15. Stacie

    11/25/2019

    Hi,
    DId you have to purchase new phones?

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    Andrea Reply:

    nope — all we had to do was turn our phone off for 2 minutes and then turn it back on again and the switch was automatic!

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