Thursday, April 30, 2009

Things I Love Thursday: Tracfone Review

My Tracfone!

Seriously, I'm so glad we discovered it. Tracfones are prepaid phones where you buy minutes (which comes with airtime) as you need them. No contracts, no monthly bills, etc...

We got it while Marc was unemployed. I had a cell phone with a Big Name Carrier. I had the smallest plan possible which still ran about $35 a month. When Marc lost is work phone, he used my phone. Marc's cell phone is like a fifth limb to him. Plus he needed to make many long distance calls while job searching. It just made sense for him to have the phone, since I hardly use it anyway.

However, one weekend, I was going to take the boys out of town to visit family. Marc couldn't give up the phone since that number was out on all his resumes, and I didn't really want to leave the state with the boys and no phone. So we decided to pick up a prepaid phone. I'm so thankful we looked into them.

I got a phone for $20 at Walmart and it included "Double Minutes for Life". This seems to be the way to go. Whenever, I buy minutes, they will automatically be doubled for me. Plus, there are TONS of promotional codes online just waiting to be redeemed when you add your bought minutes.

For example, last Saturday I bought 60 minutes for $20. This doubled to 120 minutes. However, at checkout I had an option of "super-sizing" my order and adding another 60 minutes for only $10 (again, this doubled to 120 minutes). I then added a promo code for an additional free 50 minutes. So, I got 290 minutes for $30. This should last me 3-4 months or more.

This gives me freedom to use my phone when necessary (and not only for emergencies), yet should last me quite a while as I don't use it all that often. I did some math today and figured this phone costs me less than $12 a month. And that's without me feeling deprived of phone use.

Now, for even more good news. I can send or receive texts for only .3 minutes each. Three texts for less than one minute used! This is great when I just need to send a quick note to Marc like "I'm leaving now". This can make my minutes go even further.

Also, the service and coverage have been great. I have seen no difference between my previous Big Name Carrier and Tracfone.

There are a few downsides that I should mention. First of all, the phone I have is a cheap phone. It is very basic in it's options and not real "user friendly". But it does the basics that I need. Obviously, it sends and receives calls, it can text, it has voicemail (that I chose not to set-up since it also has caller ID; this saves me minutes not checking it), it has an alarm and a really rough-to-use calculator and phone book. These are no big deal to me.

You also eat a whole minute whether you use 4 seconds or 58 seconds. This might be normal cell phone practice though. It's also where texting comes in handy if you just need to sends a quick note.

Also, with this set-up... while I can use then phone whenever I need to without feeling guilty, I wouldn't use it to make personal calls just to "chat it up". I would save those calls for when I'm home. It probably would not be a good choice of phone for someone like Marc. But for me and my phone usage... the Tracfone, so far, as been the way to go.


Keith & Taryn said...

I got one of those too....a non-working cheap mothers dream!! They're great!! Love it!

faroutmom said...

My husband has a pre-paid phone too. His cost $15 for the phone and came with $15 worth of time. So, free is how I see it. It is an AT&T Go Phone, so he gets AT&T's nationwide coverage. He doesn't use it to much, so having it has definitely saved us some money over his old "plan" phone. (Which, btw, was also AT&T and we were paying around $50/month for it...versus about $15/month now)

Taylor said...

Wow, that's a really great deal. Sounds perfect for occasional users. Thanks for sharing.

Anonymous said...

I love Tracphone too!! After a few months I even talked my husband out of his Nextel plan, and he was even able to keep his same number. I'm sure you already know this.. but just in case before you add minutes, google "Tracphone codes" and you can almost always find an additional code to get a few extra minutes for free, this is in addition to the double minute thing.

thediaperdiaries said...

Thanks for linking up. I forgot you were a blogger too!! Hope things are good with you. We got one of these for my FIL and it was perfect. I agree they have great service area and are perfect for someone who doesn't need a lot of bells and whistles.

Glen Treft said...

I LOVE my Tracfone!

I dumped my AT&T phone and got out of my cellphone contract when the company changed its terms. (Did you know that if they do that, it voids the contract? They don't tell you that, but I saw it on the Consumerist site and it worked! No termination fee too. Haha.)

Anyway, I got a prepaid Tracfone and I haven't ever had a problem with it. I wouldn't know about the customer service because I never had a reason to call them.

But the best thing about this is that there aren't any bills and I know what my costs are because I pay upfront for my calls. It's great!

Chris Chan said...

I have a Tracfone and have been using it alot this summer. It's a great way to keep in touch with your kids. Calls and texts are less expensive on a TracFone than on other phones and with no contract, there's no surprises!

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