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Is pay-as-you-go the right cellphone plan for you?

Pay-as-you-go cellphone plans can offer savings, but they

Pay-as-you-go cellphone plans can offer savings, but they are not for everyone. Credit: Getty Images / Geber86

At this reflective time of year, you’re likely looking over your finances, coming up with ideas about how to make next year better. Cutting expenses is key. Maybe it’s time to rethink your cellphone plan and opt for pay-as-you-go.

Rizwan Kassim, chief strategy officer of Ultra Mobile for Mint SIM in Costa Mesa, California, says one in three people now pay as they go and more providers are coming onto the scene dangling savings that can surpass traditional carrier’s deals.

Here’s what to consider.

  • Pros: “The upside of pay-as-you-go plans: You only pay for what you need, so there’s little waste. This is especially true with plans like AT&T’s Daily Plan, which only charges you on the days you actually use your phone,” says Kelsey Sheehy, consumer expert at

There are varying levels of data, 2 gigabytes, 5GB and 10GB for example. You can pay month to month or buy in bulk.

  • Cons: Pay-as-you-go-plans aren’t for everyone. If you are a heavy cellphone user and use a lot of data, it’s probably not ideal for you, Sheehy says.

Be aware that minutes can expire if you don’t refill your account. And incoming calls and texts — even calls to check your voicemail — can count against you.

Says Sheehy, “Pay-as-you-go can also get expensive, depending on your usage. Do the math to make sure it’s the right route for you. You may find a monthly prepaid plan is a better bet based on the amount of minutes, texts or data you use. You can get a monthly prepaid plan with unlimited minutes and texts for as little as $15 per month.”

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