DEAR SAVVY SENIOR: What are the cheapest cellphone options available today to seniors living on a shoestring budget? I only need it for occasional calls.
— Seldom Calling Senior
DEAR SELDOM: For financially challenged seniors who only want a cellphone for emergency purposes or occasional calls, there are a number of inexpensive no contract plans you can get. Or, depending on your income level, there are also free cellphones and monthly airtime minutes you may qualify for. Here’s where to find some of the cheapest deals.
One way infrequent cellphone users can save money is with a prepaid cellphone — also known as pay-as-you-go phones. With a prepaid phone there’s no contract, no fixed monthly bills, no credit checks and no hidden costs that come with traditional cellphone plans. With this type of service, you buy a special prepaid phone then prepurchase a certain amount of minutes (for talk or text) that must be used within a specified period of time.
While most major carriers like AT&T and Verizon offer inexpensive prepaid plans, as do independents like Net10, Cricket and Virgin Mobile, some of the best deals are offered by TracFone (tracfone.com, 800-867-7183) and T-Mobile (t-mobile.com, 800-866-2453).
TracFone has phones that start as low as $10 and call plans that cost under $7 per month. And T-Mobile has a super-cheap 30-minute plan for $10, and minutes don’t expire for 90 days. That averages out to $3.33 per month. If you need more talk time, they also offer an annual plan where $100 gets you 1,000 minutes that are good for a full year. T-Mobile does, however, charge a one-time activation of $35.
Or, if you would rather have a no-contract senior-friendly phone with big buttons and simplified features, the Doro PhoneEasy 618 sold through Consumer Cellular (consumercellular.com, 888-345-5509) is probably your cheapest option. It costs $60 for the phone, with calling plans that start at $10 per month.
Continue reading this story on the...