Having a reliable cellphone is almost a necessity in today’s modern world. Unfortunately, the high cost of many smartphones and their associated service plans prevent many Americans from enjoying the convenience and utility of carrying around a cell phone. Luckily, there are some budget options for anyone looking to save serious money on a pay-as-you-go cell phone plan.
These plans offer a variety of bare-bones features, but they’ll all do the trick. You’ll get enough minutes and usually a bit of data too. You won’t be using your 5G/4G/LTE connection to watch Netflix on the bus to work or anything, but you’ll be able to use your phone for calls, texts, and important Google searches.
We should point out that all of these plans require you to bring your own device — an extra expense by itself. However, if you have an old smartphone laying around or can get a cheap hand-me-down from family or friends, these five pay-as-you-go plans are super easy on the budget.
Tello’s pay-as-you-go phone plans actually start at $5 per month for 100 minutes, free texting, and no data. So if you only use your phone for texting, this could be an option. However, we suggest you bump it up a little bit to make your phone more useful.
For $10 a month, you get unlimited minutes and 1GB of data. That data won’t last long for most people, but if you find yourself needing to make a lot of phone calls, this is a great plan. Even their top tier plan of unlimited minutes and unlimited data, capped at 25GB, is only $29 a month. That’s much cheaper than the so-called “big boys” of mobile providers like Verizon or T-Mobile.
The best thing about US Mobile plans is their flexibility. You can use one of their pre-made plans if you want, but the real savings is found in customizing a plan to fit your specific usage. You can adjust your monthly minutes, texts, and data all on a scale of zero to unlimited, and the price will change by a couple bucks based on your choices.
For example, you can grab 75 minutes, unlimited texting, and 2GB of data for just $18 a month. If you don’t need that much, the price can be customized to $10 — or even less. The data is 5G speeds where coverage allows, so you won’t be frustrated waiting for things to load. As an added bonus, US Mobile also offers a variety of foreign rate plans for frequent travelers.
Boost Mobile has an amazing deal for new customers. For just $5 a month, you’ll get 5GB of data and unlimited talk and text. The data is 5G/4G speed depending on your device and where you live. Plus, you can even hotspot it to your friends, family, or other devices. The SIM card is also free, saving you $10 more. Like most of these plans, you’ll need an unlocked smartphone to use it.
The only real downside is that the price only stays that low for three months. After the first 90 days, the same plan is billed at $45 every three months. That’s still only $15 a month, though, making Boost Mobile an excellent discount phone provider. Better yet, there are no contracts and free shipping of your SIM card.
Twigby can almost match Boost Mobile on pricing. Their pay-as-you-go plans start at just $5 a month, but that’s with no data or 1GB included. Like Boost, Twigby offers a three-month introductory price for new customers. For $10 a month, you can get unlimited talk and text, plus 4GB of 5G/4G speed data. After 90 days, the price doubles to $20 a month — still a fairly affordable mobile plan.
Twigby has a few additional perks worth mentioning. You can hotspot your data for no additional charge. You can make free international calls to more than 80 different countries. There’s also free voicemail services, free caller ID, free call waiting, and a free SIM card. There are no activation fees or contracts to sign, either.
Last but certainly not least is Reach Mobile. Like competing providers on this list, Reach offers plans as low as $10 a month. They come with unlimited talk and text 2GB of data. Unfortunately, the price does rise after the first three months. At least, there’s no contract to sign that would keep you locked into that price for years.
However, Reach might be one of the best options for affordable family plans. They allow you to add up to six lines to a single account, giving you an additional budget option for your teens, tweens, or significant other. Their “Best Fit” plans will even refund you some money if you only use enough data to have qualified for a lower plan.