If you are a senior person living on a shoestring budget and you only need your cell phone for making urgent calls, there are several inexpensive contract plans you can get. Cheaper phone bills will save you a decent amount of cash; and as luck would have it, there are various ways to find free cell phone plans for seniors. If you are not eligible for the free cell phone package, you can use different strategies to get a cheaper service and get more bangs for cash. Whether you are shopping for a plan for a loved one or yourself, you do not want to be caught up in between hefty phone bills. Read on and learn how to cut down your cell phone bills if you are a senior.
Opt For the Government Lifeline Program
The lifeline program is a good place to start to get free mobile phones and phone plans. Lifeline is a federally sponsored program that gives seniors free smartphones with a monthly package that includes 350 minutes of talk time free, unlimited texts, and 1GB of data that can support browsing, social media, and email. The lifeline program is known as the free government phones program. The program is not typically meant for older people only; but they are the best candidates for this program, especially if they are under a fixed income or are receiving any other benefits from the government. A person becomes eligible for the lifeline program phones if their income is below the federal poverty guidelines or if they are already receiving government aid such as;
- Medical aid
- Food stamps
- Supplemental security income
- Housing assistance
- Low income
The list of aid programs you receive will vary from state; thus, you need first to check if the aid you are receiving qualifies you for a lifeline phone.
Look for Mobile Virtual Network Operators.
Mobile virtual network operators provide mobile services to their clients at standardized prices. They can be easily referred to as mobile reseller services since they depend on major carriers such as Verizon, T-Mobile, and AT&T. Most clients who do not need expensive plans or the latest smartphones always opt for MVNOs. So if you are an older person and only need your phone to make calls and text, watch out for MVO plans.
Phone plans designed specifically for seniors
Some carriers and wireless services have specific packages meant for seniors who are not always on their phones. For example, the T-Mobile 55+ plan has a package containing two lines with unlimited calls, texts, and LTE data for $70 a month. AT&T also has a plan that is meant for 65years old and above seniors. Therefore when shopping for a cell phone plan, it is best to look at these senior plans and pick one that suits your needs; they are usually quite affordable. Additionally, setting up and using the plan is also easy.
Use call and texting applications
Several applications can be used to make free phone calls and send text messages. You can use your data plan or wi-fi to access these applications for example, Skype and WhatsApp. With such applications in place, you do not have to look for expensive packages since they allow you to make video and voice calls. So if you are a senior and have installed wi-fi, you will not need a phone plan. The downside of these applications is that you can only call people who use the app.
The upside is that some of the applications, such as Skype, may allow you to make payments for a specific phone number used to receive calls and receive standard phone numbers. And the most outstanding feature for these applications is that you can easily make calls abroad. So if you want to avoid using up your minutes, you can rely on these communication applications.
Consider your Usage
Not all seniors use their phones sparingly; some are always on the phone browsing and checking up on their family and friends. Also, suppose you like traveling or have a family abroad. In that case, you will be looking for a package that sustains your communication without much trouble; since you may want to keep in touch with family through video calls which may require an unlimited plan.
Senior cell phone plans come with extra discounts and convenience from primary wireless carriers; especially if you are 55years and older. I you are an AARP member, you can still qualify for these discounts if you are 50 years and above. However, suppose you are not sure of your eligibility for a senior cell phone plan, several other plans can give you the features you want at a fair price, even if they are not specifically meant for seniors. Understanding your usage and needs gets you closer to selecting the best cell phone plan for you.