There was a time when owning a cell phone was just too expensive to be possible for most single moms. Yet the convenience made these phones part of nearly every single moms wish list. The cost has come down while the service has improved. Now everyone from grandparents to elementary school children are carrying cell phones and using them for everything from conversations and texts to sharing photos and playing games. Thanks to all these advances it is even more affordable for a single mom to get a basic cell phone to keep in touch with the school, doctors, kids and even job interview.
Whether you have a cell phone for just emergencies or you and your children have them to keep in touch and avoid problems with pickups or schedules you may still find that the cost is a major expense every month. The benefits of having a cell phone far outweigh the cost involved but for a single mom struggling to make ends meet there’s not much wiggle room on what you can and can’t afford. There are a few ways that you can save money every single month on your cell phone service.
With the Safelink program if you qualify for food stamps or Medicaid you will likely be approved for a free cell phone with free text and calls. These are basic cell phones not Smartphones and they work on the Tracfone system which means rural areas may not get the best coverage but without paying anything you can have the peace of mind of having a cell phone in the car with you. These are limited to one phone per qualifying household so you may want to consider another low priced phone so that you can let your kids use the limited free one and you can keep in touch when you’re at work. There are also other programs you can find by searching “government free cell phones” some are for your specific area and others are services offered across the country.
While a cell phone plan or family plan on a contract with Verizon can be quite expensive you can save money each month by calling Verizon and adapting your plan to meet your needs. Many times when you explain your financial situation they will help you customize your plan to allow you to have the minutes and text options you need for you and your kids while reducing the data and internet usage to save you a great deal of money. Another option through Verizon is the prepaid plans. You can purchase a used phone off eBay and call Verizon to activate it. If it is a regular cell phone there is an unlimited talk and text plan that will cost $40 per month. If it is a smartphone you will pay $60 per month.
AT&T doesn’t have quite the coverage that Verizon does but they also offer options for making family plans affordable, budget plans for emergencies only and even pre-paid plans which allow you to pay as you go for what you use. The benefit of pre paid plans is that if you happen to use up all of your minutes you can add more as you need them, but if you don’t use the phone very often you aren’t paying a large monthly bill for minutes and texts that are going to waste. They even offer a rollover type plan, if you don’t use your prepaid minutes up but refill within the month you keep the minutes that are on there.
Google Voice service is a handy program where you are assigned a phone number and incoming calls can be directed to your Wi-Fi only cell phone. This is wonderful if you happen to have a phone that has been turned off and you can’t afford to have it turned back on. Google Voice is free and when you don’t have your cell phone in a Wi-Fi area voicemail is delivered to your email so you don’t miss any important calls.
While services like Safelink are designed to help those with low incomes your local department of social services may also be able to direct you to other services that are based on income or need. Check with them when you are filling out your assistance applications and you may find an even better plan.
For many a cell phone seems like a frivolous expense, but when you consider how many folks don’t have landline phones, or who are out working and need to check in with the kids or the babysitter it’s clear that cell phones are useful and in many cases are considered a necessity. That doesn’t mean you have to break your budget every month to keep a mobile phone on.
Many folks look down their nose at single moms who are receiving public assistance but happen to have a nice car, nice clothes or Smartphones, but their nose shouldn’t be in your business. You don’t have to explain a single thing or make any excuses to the nosy person behind you in the grocery line. Sure, you may be paying with an EBT food stamp card and receiving a call on your Smartphone but those people don’t know if you were given the phone when someone you know upgraded or if you bought it used for a fraction of the actual cost. Let judgmental people stew in their righteous indignation and do what you need to do to get by and to raise your children to feel safe and protected, and always able to reach their mom when they need to!
Budgeting your income and expenses each month can help you determine what you can afford to pay, making a few phone calls and checking different options will then help you make sure that your cell phone cost comes in well below what you can afford. Single moms learn these strategies for most everything and it comes in handy even once you find someone new and settle in to a marriage or the kids grow up and you only have to pay your own bills. If you can get something for less, there is no reason other than laziness to not look into it. Act today and start saving money every single month on cell phone service.
For more information please visit www.singlemomfinancialhelp.com/