For a while now I've been a trying to get rid of my iPhone. Believe me, I love my iPhone but I hate the giant bill that comes with it. I was on a family plan with my wife to which we had the lowest rate plan and we were still paying $140 per month. I finally had enough of it when I noticed that my internet was slow and my phone minutes kept going up because, as like most people, I rarely used the iPhone as an actual phone and either texted or emailed. So I devised a plan to still be able to get the benefits of an iPhone but at a fraction of the cost.
So when my wife's and my own contract was up we made the most difficult choice of not renewing, and breaking away from AT&T. I did a little bit of research and decided on getting a $10 Samsung SGH-S125G simple, non-smartphone Tracfone. After doing some internet research I chose Tracfone as they seemed to be the best of the noncontract phones. To substitute my missing internet abilities on the go, I bought a mini iPad with Verizon connection capabilities. Yes, this cost a pretty penny (about $600) but in the long run, I'd be making that money back over the next few months by saving with Tracfone.
The Tracfone card that I bought gave me triple minutes when I purchased a card. So after looking at how many minutes I used on my AT&T bill, I bought a 200 minute card for $40 which tripled to be 600 minutes. The card says that it ends after 3 months but isn't completely true. What happens is, when I start running low, which was about 3 months later, I grabbed another card with triple minutes, and another 3 months were added to my phone. The reason why they have a 3 month limit is, say after 3 months of no use with your phone you didn't want it anymore, the phone would stop working and would release your phone number back into the world of phone numbers.
So now I have my simple $10 phone and a iPad mini with Verizon plan, which I only activate when I want to. So if I'm out and about and need to connect to the internet, I pay $20 for 1gb of internet connection for a month. Now this works well for me but also only because I have wifi at my work and also at home so I'm rarely ever using internet when I'm away from wifi.
So if we do the math; I buy a $40 phone card which I usually pay to renew about every 3-4 months or so. So for a year of phone service I pay $120. FOR A YEAR FOLKS! That's so much better than $140 per month. Again, this works for me as I rarely talk on the phone. You will have to look at you own phone contracts to see what works best for you. If you notice that your minutes just keep rolling over month to month, maybe it's time to switch to a non-contract phone like me.
UPDATE: I have since went out and bought a Samsung Galaxy Centura smartphone from Tracfone. The reason why is that there are a few times that I do need that extra ability of internet usage when I'm out for small things that paying $20 bucks for would be too much. The good thing about the smartphone for Tracfone is that they separate your phone, messaging, and internet into 3 separate categories. So if I want to boost just one part, I can go online and just add more minutes to it. I like having options and being in a contract with a bill cell phone conglomerate gave me none. It also has a 3MP camera which takes great photos even in low light conditions. No front facing camera though.
The bad part is that the phone does have some quirks to it. Like it will change the time on you randomly like 6 hours behind. It will randomly shut off and also lock up as it only has about 4GB NAND+512MB RAM. So don't expect doing multiple things at once too often. I have a few simple games on there and that's it. You can read more product details here.
Overall, I do like the phone especially the price, we got a deal for it for only $55 as Bestbuy was having a sale. LIke I said though, don't expect iPhone capabilities from it as you will be very disappointed.