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Still on the Family Cell Plan

July 22, 2010

I would say this is a confession, but I think it is so incredibly common these days that I’m not the least bit embarrassed.  I’m still on my parent’s family plan.  T is on a plan with his mom and little sister too.

Family plans, when fully utilized, are one of the cheapest plans (per a phone) out there.  On Verizon you can have a family of 5 sharing one plan for $140 (text and talk).  Assuming no one is a big day time out-of-network talker, you’d be fine on the minutes.  That’s a mere $28 per a phone line!

T’s sister (who’s even more frugal than we are) spotted the cheapness of family plans, organized herself to be in charge of a new family plan, with her, her husband, her mom, her dad, and her other sister.  The limit is 5, so they are kicking T off.  I’m annoyed about this on principle (why does he get screwed?!?) , but if we get my grandparent’s a prepaid phone, we have room for him on our family plan.

Now this part is a bit embarrassing.  I also don’t pay my share of the phone bill.  This is leftover from college, when I wasn’t expected to.  My parent’s kept insisting it would be silly for me to pay them the $10/month it cost to keep me on.   I got a smart phone with an extra $10 data plan (and got married!) in April and pledged I’d start paying my way (and I will!), but I was also sort of waiting to see what we figured out with T.  Now that he is joining up, we are going to pay our share (including back payments to April for mine) in 6-month installments.  I hate the idea of paying every month.

On Red’s blog, I read some comments about being on the family plan meaning you are still financially attached to your family.  I disagree.  Both of us have been supporting ourselves for years.  This is simply the cheapest way for us to stay  connected, and doesn’t cost my parents anything.

So what about you?  Are you still on the family plan?  Were you ever on it?  Why did you get off?  (Did your family abandon you like T’s?!)

(photo credit)
17 Comments leave one →
  1. July 22, 2010 5:53 am

    I abandoned my family when I got my own plan, but that’s because my mom is an awful snoop. She couldn’t stop investigating the details of my phone bill every month, so a new plan was the best thing for me at the time.

    I love your and T’s idea of creating your own family plan. There have been a few times that I’ve thought about adding my friends/husband to my own line to save money. But then I also worry about someone going over and not being able to pay the charges. If that happened, I would have to step up to pay it, and I’m not sure I’m ready for that kind of responsibility.

    Despite comments on the blog and my own first thoughts, I’m still going to look into going on my family’s plan, if no better option arises. It’s just too cheap. And I’m not a teenager anymore. If Mom looked over my cell bill now, she would see lots of texting, phone calls to/from my husband, and that’s about it. Maybe the occasional call in to P.F. Chang’s, but nothing quite as scandalous as my teen years. 😉

    • July 22, 2010 7:33 am

      Ooops, I wasn’t clear. We aren’t creating a new family plan, I’m just getting him on MY family’s plan. The definition of “family” is pretty loose. I think you really just need a group of 5 people who are willing to share a bill.

      My family is not too snoopy, but like you, I don’t really have much to hide!

  2. July 22, 2010 6:53 am

    I’ve never had a family plan..or shared one… jordan and I are thinking about it when our contracts come up yet – but I’m really not sure if it’s that much cheaper.

    • July 22, 2010 7:34 am

      I’m not sure if it is or isn’t in canada. It is here, but it is cheapest if you have 5 people. For two people the savings isn’t huge.

  3. July 22, 2010 6:56 am

    I’ve never been on a family plan, mainly because I got a cell phone before my parents did with my own money so it just stuck. I always worked through college so I had enough to pay for my cell phone while my parents took care of the rest. My family has a family plan that my sister is on now, but considering that I am a HUGE texter and data user and talk on the phone out of network a lot.. it’s probably best that I am on my own plan.

    • July 22, 2010 7:36 am

      I would have paid for my cell in college if my parents took care of the rest! 🙂

      T had his own plan for years for the same reason – his family didn’t get cell phones for a long time.

  4. July 22, 2010 8:01 am

    No family plan here, my family lives abroad! And back home, there’s no such thing as a family plan. I guess my brother and I could team up…but I honestly never thought of it. I pay way too much for my phone bill, even with my company’s discount. I find that I hardly use my phone for what’s it’s intended to do – make calls!

  5. Sara permalink
    July 22, 2010 8:39 am

    My boyfriend is on a family plan with his mom and she’s been paying for it… forever. She won’t LET him pay for it! I’m on my own plan, and I do kinda wish that I was on a shared plan but I currently have an iPhone with AT&T and I hate their service so I’m trying to switch once my contract is up! Family plans are definitely the best way to go, so long as you trust the other people on it with you.

  6. July 22, 2010 8:42 am

    For a while both Ry and I were on my parent’s family plan, along with my 2 parents and brother. Ry dropped off when he got a phone from his office, and now even though he doesn’t get a work phone any more he has decided to keep a separate bill.

    I am still on my family’s plan and like you don’t regularly pay for it. Originally Ry and I paid our $20/month but somewhere along the line my mom forgot to send me a quarterly bill and I forgot to pay it, and they just started paying for me. I’ve since asked if they want us to start again but they said not to bother.

    My brother just upgraded to a smart phone (Droid – I’m jealous!) and has to pay $30 extra a month in the data plan. My parents are making him pay his $40 share, and said if I wanted to do the same thing I could also, but I’d have to start paying again. I guess I took the cheap (embarrassing) way out and kept a regular phone so I wouldn’t increase my monthly expenses. ($0 to $40 is a big jump)

    I should just start sending my mom $10 each month and not ask any if they want me to any more… I do feel a little guilty mooching off their family plan and not paying anything!

  7. July 22, 2010 9:05 am

    I never was on my parent’s call plan, although I can’t really complain because they paid for my car insurance, and I know which one I’d prefer! Chad is still on his parent’s plan, but that will probably change once he starts working again, but maybe not since I think he uses about 20 off-peak minutes per month!

  8. Amanda permalink
    July 22, 2010 9:43 am

    My parents took me off theirs when they switched companys. It happened to coincide with me graduating college and starting my own job/finances with everything(car insurance etc.). I’ve talked about joining one with my sister and her husband, but I just never figured out how we could do it because we have a different area code. And I don’t want to change numbers in order to get on a family plan.

    • SP permalink*
      July 22, 2010 11:21 am

      We currently have 3 different area codes on our family plan. At least for verizon, they don’t care, or didn’t when we signed up.

      It really is a win-win situation (as long as you trust the people you are on with)

  9. Bonnie permalink
    July 22, 2010 10:32 am

    I have a great plan now–Sprint no-limit plan (anytime minutes, no restrictions on number of minutes or when the calls are made) for $60/month, not including the 20 percent discount I get for being an employee of a really large company. (Sometimes it DOES pay to work for The Man!)

    Never was on my parents’ plan because I’m old (well, mid-30s) and cell phones didn’t really exist when I was a teenager. 🙂 Also, I’m way too privacy-minded and would not have wanted either of them knowing more about my business than they already did! 🙂

  10. July 22, 2010 1:21 pm

    M and I have been on a plan for the past 2 years, but he decided he wanted an EVO, so now we both have individual plans. And I was amazed to see my $130 bill only drop to $100. So yeah… soo much cheaper for us to be together. But I don’t really want an EVO or want to go with Sprint… I want an iphone 5, on Verizon. :p He might decide to switch back with me if the iphone does end up on Verizon, and the 5th iteration is better than the 4th.

    When I was in college I was on a plan with my dad, and he didn’t have autopay set up, so sometimes he would forget to pay and my phone would get turned off for a few days… It would drive me insane. I like having control over all the things I consider important. Since we don’t have a home phone, my cell phone is one of those things. So yeah… I could go on a family plan with anyone, as long as I was in charge of the bill.

  11. Melissa permalink
    July 22, 2010 3:40 pm

    I have always been on my parents plan. Through college they paid for my phone and once I started working, we moved the plan into my name. The 20% discount through work more than covers the $10/month it costs for my phone on the plan. I don’t believe this in any way makes me “financially dependent” upon my parents. I could pay for my own phone, but it makes more sense to keep dollars saved in the family, rather than tossing them at the cell phone company.

  12. elle & ish permalink
    July 23, 2010 5:17 pm

    I’m on a family plan too.. and I don’t pay my share either. Aaand I financially support myself! You’re not alone 🙂

  13. July 24, 2010 10:39 pm

    I do the same as you! my parents won’t accept the $10/mo from me, either. it is ridiculous, as i am in my 30’s and live overseas, but they insist that I keep my US phone open for the times I come home (about twice a year for a month at a time) and so i can keep my phone number. I recently ‘gifted’ my mom $250 for mother’s day. secretly, it was to pay her back for 2 years of phone bills. 🙂

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