How to Get Cell Phone Service For Under $20 a Month

Why I Switched To Ting And Why I Am Happy With Ting So Far

I upgraded to the smartphone world just over a year through Tracfone. Tracfone offers older Android based smartphones with pay as you go rates that work out to as low as  $10 a month.

However, I am not an Android lover, I am an Apple guy.  So even though I had a smartphone I was still carrying around my iPod. I went from a two piece smartphone to a two piece smarter-phone. I tried and tried but I just couldn’t fall in love with the older LG that Tracfone offered.

I looked into Tracfone’s Bring Your Own Device offer but to me it didn’t sound like it came with the same triple minutes, triple texts and triple data the smartphones they sell on their site come with and that is what keeps their service prices so low.

My 4th generation iPod didn’t get the ISO 8 update and is getting very outdated, and so with just a month or two to go on my current pay as you go card I was trying to figure out what to do.

I could keep going with my two piece smarter-phone by updating to an iPod 5 or I could look into an inexpensive way to get an iPhone.

Then fate took care of it and my Android smartphone broke and I was stuck with replacing both pieces of my smarter-phone to stay with Tracfone and that didn’t seem…well…smart.

What did seem smart was to get an iPhone and switch to Ting.

How Ting Works & What Smartphones You Can Bring To Ting

Ting is a month to month cellphone service that runs on the Sprint network in my area. No contracts to sign, which I love.

Ting also has an amazing selection of cellphones that can be used with their program. They have a “Shop” area where you can buy a device but you can also Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) you just need to take a few steps first to make sure the device you want to purchase is compatible. Most of the most popular phones such as the Samsung Galaxy, LG and iPhone 6 can be used on the Ting network.

I ended up buying a  refurbished 16GB iPhone 5c from Ting ( I was tempted by the iPhone 6 but the price was too steep for my thrifty self) .  To be honest I actually returned the first iPhone I bought and got a second. The first one was freezing up all the time.

Ting Has Great Customer Service No Nasty Press One For….

The issue with the iPhone however allowed me to fully try out Ting’s customer service 1-800 number and I was very happy with their service. Real people pick up the phone right away no for ….press 1….for…. press 2.

The customer service reps walked me through each and every step I needed to do to fully make sure the iPhone was indeed faulty and then what I needed to do to get a free replacement and how to set up and check my new iPhone (which has no problems).

What I am paying month to month with Ting

I found the coverage to be pretty decent in my area. The few times I have used data it went pretty fast.

I am however not a data hog, nor a big talker, nor a texting addict, which is why I love Ting so much. You only pay for the service you use.

My ting cell phone usage one day before bill arrivedAbove is a snapshot of my cellphone usage one day before I was billed (30 day billing cycle so this is day 29).

As you can see each service cost $3. So 0 to 100 minutes cost you $3, 0 to 100 texts cost you $3 and 0 to 100 Megabytes of Data costs you $3 and then there is a device fee of $6 per device.

There is a detailed usage chart foundunder “Rates” to explain what you pay as you use more minutes, messages and megabytes.

There are of course some taxes and fees but even with those added my first bill came to $17.46.

How I keep my usage so low

First I confess I am an introvert. I have just a few friends that I keep in regular contact with.

One of those friends has an iPhone so I use the iPhone message app to text her free when I am in wifi areas.

For the other friends I use the Text free app (also known as Ping) to text them when I am in free wifi areas which is roughly 90 percent of the time.

As you can see I use the power of free wifi to keep my cellphone bill as low as possible. There are free wifi hotspots everywhere now, the grocery store, restaurants, clothing stores, department stores, hardware stores and now even the gym where I work out has  free wifi. In fact, about the only time I don’t have access to free wifi is when I am in the car, and perhaps I shouldn’t be texting or surfing the web then anyways.

How Ting helps you keep your cellphone bills low

Ting allows you to set usage alerts on your account. You can set these alerts for texts, minutes or data and have them emailed. If you want to go one step further you can actually set a cap on your texts, minutes and data and when you reach them you simply won’t be able to use that part of your smartphone until the next billing period begins.

It is like a cash envelope system for smartphones!

You can have more than one person on your account

Right now I am the only one in the family over at Ting. My husband and 19 year old son are currently happy with their older LG phones over at Tracfone, and want to stick with them for now (although I did catch the hubby looking at a newer Samsung Galaxy) .

However my daughter turns 13 this June and she knows that is when her older brother got his first cell phone and she too is an Apple gal. She is saving her dollars for an iPhone 5c. ( we only spend so much on a smartphone for a teenager, if they want anything more snazzy they pay what it costs above the plain Jane one themselves).

When her birthday arrives I will simply add her on my account as a second device and she can use up those minutes I am not using and I will allow her to put our account into the next package but set a cap that will make it impossible to go into the package after that.

The next package gives us up to 500 minutes, 1000 text messages and 500 megabytes which is very roomy compared to the first package and should give us plenty of room.

Screen Shot 2015-04-23 at 3.22.32 PMAbove is a screen shot from the Ting Website under the “Ting For Families” section. The link to this section is found at the bottom of the Ting home page. As you can see their average rate for a family of 4 is just $71 that blows any contracted plan plan right out of the water.

How to start your Ting account with a $25 off a device or a $25 Ting credit

Ting has a great friend referral program. When you buy through a friends links (and those words in blue are mine) you get $25 off a device or a $25 Ting credit.That is a great deal for signing up and for spreading the word!

I assure you however I am not sharing just to get $25 in Ting credit. I  fully tested out the Ting network first, making sure I truly liked it, and that it was a thrifty deal before sharing it with you. I also am in no way affiliated with Ting, I wrote this article because I wanted to, Ting has no idea I am doing it.

iPhone & Android Smartphone (Selfie Light) 16 LED Flash

The LED lights brighten up pictures and fill in shadows on your face (it’s an instant filter!). It comes in handy for when you’re trying to capture the moment in a dim room, like when you’re trying to achieve the perfect #NoMakeup-makeup, #IWokeUpLikeThis shot or when you’re in a dark restaurant, club or bathroom. While it does have a dimmer, be aware of the brightness — yes, people will notice you snapping away, (but they’ll probably just be jealous.


After all, even Hillary Clinton is trying to get her hands on one!). The dimming feature offers you the ability to control the level of brightness to find the perfect look for your shot. The Selfie Light takes 30-45 minutes to reach a full charge. Once it’s ready to go, it will stay lit at full power for up to two hours. On the lowest brightness, you can snap away for almost 36 hours.



$12.99 Click here for (Selfie Light) Purchase

How To Buy a Used Smart Phone (Complete Guide)

It’s very dangerous to buy used cell phones whether it be on eBay or on your local classifieds.

There are good amount of things you should be aware of. This guide will help you know what to look for before buying used cell phones. 

ESN’s and IMEI’s are unique identity numbers to each phone. IMEI numbers are used by the GSM (AT&T, T-Mobile) network. Verizon (CDMA) uses IMEI numbers for their 4G LTE phones. ESN or IMEI both identify the phone.

ESN/IMEI Numbers # are 15-17 digits long



You can find your ESN/IMEI :

Most iPhones IMEI numbers are on the back of the phone (except older models) & the back of the box (Apple)



Open your dialer and type in *#06# using the keypad.(Apple/Android)

Open Settings menu. The number is also found in

Settings > About Device > Status (Android)

 Under the battery (Android)                                                                                         


CLEAN ESN/IMEI – the phone is eligible to be put on a network

BAD ESN/IMEI – the phone cannot be registered on a network


  • lost and stolen
  • Its still on another account.
  • They owe a balance on the phone. Cell phone companies no longer do contracts, they lease phones. So with that being said the ESN/IMEI is BAD until the phone is paid off

People usually don’t post the ESN/IMEI number inside the post when selling a phone. So in your best interest to ask the seller for the ESN/IMEI number.

You can call your service provider to check and see it the ESN/IMEI number is clean & can be used with them.

You can enter the ESN/IMEI on a third party website such as : – to check if the phone has a balance, blacklisted, reported stolen &/or activation status – to check iCloud lock

Left : Good ESN/IMEI     Right : Bad ESN/IMEI


iCloud lock

It has become even more dangerous to buy a used iphone especially. The reason is seller’s apple ID is linked to their iCloud account. The terms sellers use are :


  • iCloud Locked
  • Activation locked
  • ios locked
  • Find my iphone locked.

BEWARE ! If you see any of these on the listing do not buy, If you do not know the sellers iCloud information you will not be able to use the phone even if you reset the phone. Make sure the seller does a full reset of the phone including the iCloud so you are able to input your own.

BEWARE the seller can reset the phone and the phone could lock ready to be activated but the iCloud could still be attached PLEASE check the ESN/IMEI number to verify the iCloud has been completely removed.