7 Cheap Cell Phone Plans We’re Looking At

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Cheap cell phone plans are a great way to save money. I share the cheapest no-contract plans to look at if you want to ditch your high-priced carrier.

Cheap cell phone plans are one of the best ways to save money in a budget. While you get quality service through Verizon the monthly bill can make nearly anyone choke. Thankfully they do have no-contract options available now though a lot of that goes back to competition forcing them to go that way. That notwithstanding, reducing a monthly cell phone bill is one of the best ways to save money as a family.

I know that we’re not the only family dealing with expensive phone plans as plans from the major carriers average over $150 per month. That’s just crazy, though the good thing is there is significant competition making cheap family cell phone plans relatively easy to find.

After taking a look at some of the cheap cell phone plan options out there we decided to move to Cricket, which operates on the AT&T network for a total of $70 per month – or a savings of roughly $100 each month.

Having used Cricket for the past few years, we’ve not seen any noticeable drop-off in quality. There are some great options out there to consider if you’re looking to lower your monthly cell phone bill.

What if you like your provider but would still like to save money on your monthly bill? Trim is a free to use app that will negotiate rates you pay providers, for free, including cell phone bills.

If you’re looking to save money on your cell phone bill, here are the top cheap cell phone plans on the market.

Cheap Cell Phone Plans to Consider


When I got my first cell phone the only real options were the big carriers and outliers like TracFone. Thankfully that is no longer the case as most people can find plans that cost them no more than $50 as you’ll see below.

Republic Wireless


Republic Wireless is one of the most popular carriers out there, and for good reason. They might even offer the cheapest cell phone option out there with monthly plans that start as low as $15.

The plans at Republic Wireless range from $15, which is all on Wi-Fi and has unlimited talk and text to $40 per month that includes up to 5 MB of data. If you just need basic coverage and are regularly on Wi-Fi then Republic Wireless is a great carrier to consider.

The one drawback to Republic Wireless is that you can’t bring your own phone and you have to choose from one of their four phone options.

Republic Wireless does offer the Moto X Pure, which I use and love it. If you don’t need to have an iPhone, Republic Wireless is a great option to consider.

Some other things in the Republic Wireless corner are:

  • They offer a 30-day money back guarantee
  • They pay you back each month for unused data
  • Republic Wireless is contract-free, so you can leave at anytime
  • It operates on the Sprint network


Cheap Cell Phone Plans


Check out the plans at Republic Wireless 

Straight Talk


Straight Talk is another popular option for those looking for cheap cell phone plans as theirs start at $30 per line though those plans are limited to 1,500 talk minutes. If you move up to the $45 per month plan with Straight Talk then you get unlimited talk, text and 3 GB of data.

If you’re a heavy data user however you might find Straight Talk restrictive, though if you use Wi-Fi a lot you should be able to avoid that. Other highlights of Straight Talk include:

  • You can bring your own compatible phone
  • Several dozen phones to choose from
  • MVNO status allows coverage on any the 4 major carriers’ towers


Cheap Cell Phone Plans


Check out the plans at Straight Talk 

GIV Mobile


Giv Mobile is another MVNO like Straight Talk but they bring a unique spin to pre-paid cell phone plans. Giv Mobile donates 8 percent of your monthly plan to select charities. That isn’t a lot of money, but it is a nice feature assuming they have the ability to give to a charity that’s important to you.

While plans with Giv Mobile start at $20, they’re somewhat light with the data allowance. To meet what you can get from Verizon you have to sign up for what’s called “The 45” which is $45 per month for unlimited talk and text and 2 GB of data. For an additional $20 per month you double that data allowance.

As with others, Giv Mobile allows you to bring your own phone, though they do offer about 24 different phones to buy directly from them. I will be honest though in that the phones are a bit on the outdated side. If a more modern phone matters to you then you might want to look elsewhere. However, if you need bare bones and don’t use a whole lot of data then Giv Mobile is a decent cheap cell phone plan to consider.


Cheap Cell Phone Plans



T-Mobile made news recently with its new Data Stash promotion. The promotion allows you to rollover your unused data for up to 12 months and starts you out with 10 GB of data for free. As with Straight Talk, you can bring your own phone to T-Mobile but will need a T-Mobile SIM card to do so.

The good you receive from the Data Stash promotion comes with a twist on the phone purchase though. Everything I’ve seen about T-Mobile states you pay for the phone in monthly increments (basically leasing the phone) as opposed to buying it outright.

The cheapest plan comes in at $50 per month for unlimited talk and text and 1 GB of data. At $60 per month you receive an additional 2 GB of data. However, you’ll be adding roughly $20 per month if you buy a phone through them.

Cheap Cell Phone Plans

Check out the plans at T-Mobile

Boost Mobile


Boost Mobile operates on the Sprint network and has plans starting as low as $35 per month that allow for 1 GB of data and unlimited talk and text. At $10 and $20 extra per month you can add 4 or 9 GB of data respectively. Other highlights of Boost Mobile include:

  • You can’t bring your phone
  • They offer several dozen phones under $150
  • Their platform only works with Android and iPhone devices
  • No tablets or mobile hotspots are offered


Cheap Cell Phone Plans

Virgin Mobile


Virgin Mobile is another in the lines of cheap no-contract cell phone plans that operates on the Sprint network. Virgin is also one of the cheaper cell phone plans out there. While their plans start as low as $20, that gets you only 300 minutes of talk time each month and unlimited texts.

Assuming you want data coverage then plans start at $35 for unlimited talk and text plus 250 MB of data or the same 300 minute talk limit and unlimited data up to 2.5 GB.

Virgin Mobile doesn’t allow you to bring your own phone, though they do have several dozen to choose from including iPhones. The one thing I have noticed with Virgin Mobile though is that they seem to be lacking with regards to family and business plans.

This would be enough to cause me to look elsewhere when you add it to the light data allowances. However, if you’re looking for bare bones they might be worth considering.


Cheap Cell Phone Plans

Net 10 Wireless


Net 10 Wireless is the last of the cheap cell phone plans we looked at. Net 10 comes from the TracFone family and allows you to bring a compatible phone if you have one. If not, you can choose from one of several dozen phones they offer which are admittedly, not the most up to date.

As it’s a TracFone family member you can add minutes in a variety of ways, which is a nice convenience to have.

Net 10 has plans starting at $35 per month for unlimited talk and text. For an additional $5 per month you get 500 MB of data. Net 10 also offers relatively reasonable family plans starting at $75 for two lines with the same 500 MB data limit. If you’re largely on Wi-Fi then Net 10 could be a decent option to look at.


Cheap Cell Phone Plans


Check out the plans at Net10 Wireless 

As I said in the beginning, there weren’t many cheap cell phone plans to choose from even a decade ago. That has changed a lot over the past few years with the competition no-contract cell phone plans bring to the market.

Cheap cell phone plans are a great way to save money. I share the cheapest no-contract plans to look at if you want to ditch your high-priced carrier.


If you’re looking to spend less on your monthly cell phone bill there are plenty of options to choose from. Since we’ve moved to Cricket we now have an extra $100 per month we can allocate elsewhere in our budget – which is a great problem to have.

I firmly believe reducing your cell phone bill is one of the easiest ways to save money every month – especially if you’re not a heavy data user and don’t care much about what kind of phone you use.


How much do you pay for your cell phone coverage each month? What do you look for when you’re shopping cheap cell phone plans? What other carriers did I miss?



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John is the founder of Frugal Rules, a dad, husband and veteran of the financial services industry whose writing has been featured in Forbes, CNBC, Yahoo Finance and more.

Passionate about helping people learn from his mistakes, John shares financial tools and tips to help you enjoy the freedom that comes from living frugally. One of his favorite tools is Personal Capital , which he used to plan for retirement and keep track of his finances in less than 15 minutes each month.

Another one of John's passions is helping people save $80 per month by axing their expensive cable subscriptions and replacing them with more affordable ones, like Hulu with Live TV.


  • Amanda W says:

    Our family did the same search recently, and we choose Cricket Wireless. I tried out Net 10 while waiting for my husband’s phone contract to expire, and between APN setting woes and their buggy website, they were a headache though the price was great. Cricket has a few stores in our town, and it was nice to have person-to-person interaction with an MVNO during setup. Their current prices are competitive- we pay $90 for three people, each with 2.5G data per month. Oh, and the husband tells me to say from him… EMAW!

    • John Schmoll says:

      Good to know on Net 10. I like their family pricing but it sounds like from your experience they’re not that different than our experience from TracFone. We’ve heard relatively good things about Cricket so they’ll be ones we consider as well. Ah, fellow K-Stater…Go State! 🙂

  • Alexandria says:

    We are personally thrilled with Ting. We were paying $180/month on Sprint (4 people) and now pay just $50/month on Ting for 4 people. They use the Sprint network so is basically the same identical service. We could even keep our phones. But you can buy a Moto G for under $100 to use for Ting but they are also expanding their network this month so that you can bring over a lot more phones.

    Anyway, Ting’s customer service is exceptional and they give a lot of credits for switching over, referring people, or just because. Technically we pay $50/month but there are several months we have paid $0 due to credits on our account.

    • John Schmoll says:

      Thanks for the great feedback on Ting! I’ve heard good things about them. I don’t believe the Sprint coverage is that good in our area but are planning on looking into that more. Good to know about the customer service – that’s something I like to look for.

  • Thomas Sterling says:

    RingPlus is a Sprint MVNO. Plans start at $1.00 no charge For BYOD. I have a $29.99 that includes unlimited talk and text plus 2.5 gigs of Data and a plan for $19.99 unlimited talk and text 400 megs of data.

  • I use Walmart Family Mobile. 4G. All you can eat, text, voice data.

    I get charged $72.85 for two phones. That includes all taxes and fees. It’s great and is powered by T-Mobile.

  • Jason says:

    Thanks for your post John. It took me quite a while to research and choose my carrier, but finding a good one is well worth the time. In Toronto, Canada the two cell phone plan carriers that seem to offer the best value are Mobilicity and Wind Mobile (which I think is available in the US). I chose to go with Wind Mobile and have been happy so far

    With a BYOD device, unlimited talk text and data plans start at around $40 a month. This is less than half the price offered by major carriers like Bell, Telus and Rogers. The major difference is that Wind Mobile supports a 3G network. If a 3G network is fast enough to meet your needs, you can save a lot of money.

    • John Schmoll says:

      I agree Jason, it’s well worth the time especially when you’re looking to slash your bill in half.

      4G is nice and all, but with us working from home we’re on Wi-Fi the large majority of the time so having a relatively good 3G would serve us well.

  • I second a previous comment – Walmart Family mobile just cut their prices again – unlimited talk/test/data for just under $30 a month per phone. It runs on the T-Mobile network, and you can buy a phone or bring your own. I was floored to find that for $40 you can buy a cheap smart phone (ZTE Zinger) – it’s no iphone or Galaxy S model, but it’s android based and can everything I need a smart phone to do (I tried it out for a review). Great option for people not wanting to spend a lot on their mobile phone service!

  • Jo-Ann O'Neil says:

    I’m new to the ‘cell phone ‘ game. Currently I’m on my daughter’s plan with T-Mobile. I want to have my own coverage. This plan that I am on has everything, including a camera and international calling. Any suggestions? Thanks, Jo-Ann O’Neil

    • John Schmoll says:

      Good question Jo-Ann. I’d say it depends on if you want the international calling and what your data needs are. Personally speaking, we’re looking at Straight Talk since you can bring your own phone and is a MNVO and Republic Wireless the most seriously. I’m also hearing good things about Ting.

  • Raunda says:

    I also recently left Verizon due to high prices and poor customer service. I went with straight talk and now only spend $45 for unlimited everything. It is only 3g, but I use it mostly at home on WiFi anyways. I love the savings!!!!

  • celeste says:

    I switched from Verizon to Straighttalk over 2 years ago now! I love the savings and the service is just as good as Verizon. I don’t mind the 3G service…I only had 3G when I left Verizon so I never really knew the difference….

    Love the bring your own phone option! I specifically got the AT&T chip and have been able to get great deals on AT&T phones.

  • Jason B says:

    I currently have the Verizon prepaid plan. I pay $50 per month.

    • John Schmoll says:

      Not bad at all Jason. I think the continued growth in the pre-paid space is only going to force Verizon to offer more plans like that.

      • celeste says:

        the verizon plan only give you 1 GB of data but unlimited talk and text. ST is 3 GB and unlimited talk and text. ST better deal.

        • John Schmoll says:

          Good to know Celeste. I admittedly don’t know much about the pre-paid plans from Verizon. That said, we only get 2 GB with our current contract, so that alone shows ST is a better deal. Not that they really need any more to sway that though since the price is so much better. 🙂

        • Victoria says:

          My Verizon prepaid plan is unlimited talk/text with 5 GB of data for $40 bucks a month. I’ve had it for a year and love it.

  • Debt Hater says:

    I’ve switched over to Republic Wireless for about a year now, and haven’t had any issues with the Sprint coverage in my area (from Verizon). I didn’t even have a smartphone before so the 3G plan works perfectly for me. I also recently convinced my parents to switch over from Verizon and their bill went from $80 a month with flip phones and it’s now $20 a month! The only issues I’ve found is that MMS is unreliable.

    My girlfriend also uses Ting which is a pay for what you use, since she is around WiFi most of the time. Her bill usually averages around $20 a month. They have AMAZING customer service which is a big plus with them.

  • Aaron says:

    I had Net10 for a few years and the best thing I liked about the service was rolling over unused minutes each month. But their phones gave out after a year or so.

    I’m now a Virgin Mobile customer, and while I’m happy with their phones and service, it can be hard to get good customer service from them. They also run out of iPhones, making it difficult, and expensive, to upgrade. And with autopay, Virgin offers a $5 monthly discount.

    Great post, and one that gets me thinking again about changing carriers.

  • Bryan says:

    If you REALLY want Verizon, they have a decent pre-paid plan for $45 (BYOD). Unlimited talk / text, and 1GB of data (1.5 if you set up auto pay if i recall)

    • John Schmoll says:

      You’re not the first one to mention that Bryan. I’ll have to take a look at that as an option as well. I’d hate to stay with them – but am open to it. We never come anywhere near that for the data so it could work.

  • Addi Ganley says:

    Thank you for this post. Verizon giving up their contracts made us think about switching as well. Comparing different cell phone providers is definitely worth the time before jumping into another relationship with a cell phone provider.

    I have heard from several people about switching to Cricket and they don’t have any complaints.

    Thanks again for this information!

  • We just switched to Cricket Wireless. $100 for a family plan of 5 people! They use the AT&T network which is the one I was on previously so I knew that service shouldn’t be an issue.

  • LaNita Young says:

    We have a family plan with Verizon and it is not bad but their customer service is terrible. They do not care if they do you right or not. I am not for sure but I believe I was just sold an iPhone 6plus as new when I think it was a refurbished. The reason so is it has someone else’s name in the place where mine should be for Siri to talk to and that is what she calls me! But we have our house phone (wireless), our mothers, my husbands and mine on the plan. I am the only one with an iPhone 4 LTE. We have unlimited talk/text. I have 6 GB of data and I am paying monthly for my phone and our bill is only $249/mo. We can call anywhere without any extra charges also.

  • Al Finley says:

    I just switched my daughter to Twigby within the last year, and my wife and I switched last month because of how great it has been. They are a Sprint MVNO and you get to roam to Verizon for talk/text. Low price, free overage protection, and customer service thru chat. All great factors. I’ll be sticking with them for a while.

  • Mother Fussbudget says:

    I *was* on Airvoice Wireless for many years- their $10/month 250 minutes metered service plan.
    Anytime Minutes $.04 per minute
    Text Messages $.02 per message
    Data $.066 per MB
    MMS $.10 per message
    International SMS $.10 per message
    International MMS $.10.per message.

    My iPhone SE works with any provider, so this worked great for me – using wifi at home & work and minimal cellular service in non-wifi areas. (Airvoice = AT&T MNVO – uses AT&T’s network)

    Recently needed more cellular service, so moved to MetroPCS and their $30/month unlimited talk/text + 2GB LTE data plan. BONUS… MetroPCS (and T-Mobile) automatically gives users unlimited 3G data after reaching the 2GB LTE limit… FREE! (MetroPCS=T-Mobile MVNO – uses T-Mobile network)

  • William Lockridge says:

    Actually You did miss one, sort of. TracFone. I have a Samsung smartphone j7 from TracFone with triple minutes. essentially I buy 60 minutes talk time I get 1GB of data over a thousand texts 180 minutes of talk time and 3 months service time, and what you don’t use just keeps rolling over. Now admittedly I don’t talk on the phone much but my phone bill per month for this entire year has run me around $7 a month. Now they don’t have the triple minutes deal anymore unless you just happen to run across one of those phones in Walmart in which case buy it quick because the plan lasts as long as the phone does. I have excellent coverage, a really decent phone, and a nice app for buying time and sending it to my family, managing my account and so forth. Even when this phone finally breaks and the triple minutes go away, providing of course I don’t run across one of them in Walmart snatch it up and just throw it on the shelf until I need it, I can still keep my cell phone bill under $15 a month easily. admittedly I don’t use my cell phone that much But I’m not one of those people that feels the need to have it. glued to my face 24/7. I believe that’s called being frugal. Thanks for your articles they’re very informative.

    • John Schmoll says:

      I touched on them briefly William. 🙂 They can be a good service if you really don’t need any bells and whistles. I wasn’t impressed with them, but they get the job done if you don’t need a whole lot.

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