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How to Get a Smartphone Without Paying for an Expensive Data Plan

How to Get a Smartphone Without Paying for an Expensive Data Plan


    The phone carriers have figured out many ways to lock people into monthly plans that they don’t really need. The most basic example of this is the requirement on all the large carriers to pay at least $30 / month for a data plan for the right to use a smartphone on their network. This isn’t connected with their subsidy of your phone since they won’t even let you buy your own smartphone on eBay and then use it without a data plan. They justify this by saying people will need to use up large amounts of data anyways on their phone, so it is for the customers own good that they’re forced onto a data plan. Is there any reason to think otherwise?

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    There are some possible reasons why someone might want a smartphone without a data plan. For one, a smartphone is a powerful mini-computer, and people might want to have access to one, even without a constant Internet connection. One can take notes and set reminders, take pictures, and read books, listen to music and play games on a smartphone. Since the phone can sync when in a WiFi area, one can see recent news articles, emails and driving directions even when outside of a wireless area. In fact, since WiFi is so widespread, people often have little need for the data plan since the WiFi access is almost always better. Is it really necessary to have a constant internet connection even during the short amount of time one is away from WiFi? I think there are many people who would be willing to slightly disconnect for short moments during a day, even if it means the phone carriers would be earning $30 less a month. But are there any ways to avoid these fees and still get a smartphone when the carriers are in control?

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    There are a few possibilities. One option would be to forgo having only one pocket device and get a “dumb” phone for phone calls and a separate “mini-computing” device for everything else. This other device could be an iPod touch, a Galaxy player or a used smartphone. (See this post for an older possibility). If one doesn’t need the very latest technology, there many cheap used smartphones available on eBay. However, it becomes somewhat annoying to have to always juggle two devices. There’s fair amount of overlap between them, so it just seems very inefficient to have to carry two of them. If one is on a GSM plan such as AT&T and T-Mobile, one can buy an unlocked smartphone separate from the carrier and try to use it on the regular plan simply by putting in the SIM card from the dumb phone. However, this may go against the terms of the carrier. In addition, if AT&T can detect it is being used in a smartphone, it will automatically add a data plan to the person’s account. Currently one can avoid detection by making sure the smartphone wasn’t made for AT&T, but even that option might not last forever.

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    The final possibility is to get a prepaid plan. If you don’t need that many voice minutes, this can be much cheaper than standard monthly plans. The big four carriers all offer some form of prepaid plans, but to get bigger savings you will need to look elsewhere. Some of the biggest prepaid providers are TracFone, MetroPCS and Cricket Wireless. The most important factor is that the provider has good cellular coverage in your area, so make sure to check their coverage map. The next thing to check will be the cost of the plan, of using limited data, and whether they charge more for smartphone usage. If you are on a GSM carrier, you will often be able to put the SIM card in any smartphone that you buy. If you are on a CMDA carrier (like Sprint and Verizon), you will need to buy a phone that is compatible with them and activate it with them. Depending on your needs, you may want to try some very cheap prepaid options. For example, PagePlus, which runs on the Verizon network (and is owned by them), offers a $12 /month plan. Another super-cheap option is PlatinumTel, which runs on the Sprint network.

    To save on your paid usage, you could use free or cheap services for calls and texts when in a WiFi area. For example, Google Voice provides free texting from within WiFi and there are many different VOIP providers you could try. By picking a good prepaid provider, you should be able to save a significant amount every month on cell phone bills.

    (Photo credit: Hands on Smartphone via Shutterstock)

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    Last Updated on April 19, 2021

    40 Healthy And Really Delicious Meals You Can Make Under $5

    40 Healthy And Really Delicious Meals You Can Make Under $5

    Ever had those moments where you really wanted to eat something delicious and healthy but didn’t have the financials means to do so? Whether you’re a student or parent, this compilation of 40 great, healthy, and inexpensive recipes will make every night special and help you get fit! No more meals where you have to force the food down! It’s time to make that budget your best friend and turn it into great recipes. Enjoy!

    1. Fish Tacos in Crunchy Shells ($3.56 per serving)

    Is there a better way to end the day than a Fish Taco dinner filled with protein and nutrients and is easy on the wallet? This recipe calls for a boys’ or girls’ night in front of a good movie or game.

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      2. Mini-Meatball Noodle Soup ($3.43 per serving)

      We’ve heard of the delicious spaghetti and meatballs recipes, but imagine having that same meatball goodness in a soup? It’s like Christmas in a bowl. Healthy, warm, and only $3.43 per serving.

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        3. Spaghetti and (Vegan) Meatballs ($2.13 per serving)

        Now it’s time to look at the traditional spaghetti and meatballs recipe, but with a little twist: vegan meatballs. This way, you can enjoy the Italian tradition without adding on the extra calories. I’m sold!

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          4. Kabocha Squash and Lentils ($3.12 per serving)

          Absolutely delicious way to end the day with a Kabocha Squash and lentils dinner. The beauty of this recipe is that you can actually make many other things from the mixture, from dips to full-on meals. All under $5 per serving.

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            5. Baked Coconut Lentils ($0.91 per serving)

            Coconuts are always a good idea, but it doesn’t have to be eaten only for dessert or breakfast. With this great recipe, you can now eat a lunch or dinner filled proteins and a coconut twist. Yum!

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              6. Easy Marinated Roasted Chicken ($3.40 per serving)

              We love chicken and at less than $5 per serving, we are in heaven with this recipe. Add some vegetables and rice on the side and you’ve got yourself a full meal!

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                7. Organic Greens and Goat Cheese Gratin ($2.36 per serving)

                This is absolutely divine. You get in your healthy greens and your fat macros with this great recipe. Takes only a few minutes to make and it’s easy on the wallet. Bon Appetite!

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                  8. Beef Pot Roast ($3.22 per serving)

                  One word: perfect. This meal will warm your insides and fill you up with the high protein content.

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                    9. Fajita-Style Quesadillas ($0.43 per serving)

                    If you want to eat Mexican tonight but want to stay in your budget, this Quesadilla recipe is your best friend. It’s tasty and filled with healthy ingredients for less than a dollar per serving.

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                      10. Fish Tostadas with Chili Lime Cream ($2.82 per serving)

                      Another great lunch idea for the busy days ahead. Prep this in the morning or the night before and you’ve got yourself a healthy and cheap lunch meal!

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                        11. Beef and Black Bean Chili ($1.36 per serving)

                        Might not look like much, but this amazing chili is actually extremely healthy for you. The protein from the beef and the carbs from the black beans will fill you up in no time, and keep you full for a long period of time. Delicious and warm, just right for the winter!

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                          12. Crispy Fish and Peppers ($2.18 per serving)

                          Amazing recipe for anyone looking to change up their meals while keeping their macros in check and not going overboard on spending. Satisfies your crunch tooth (see what I did there?) and gives you all the protein you need to stay full and lean.

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                            13. Vegetarian Gumbo ($1.50 per serving)

                            You have the perfect macro mix here with the carbs, fats, and proteins. At less than $5 per serving, you’ve got yourself a meal that will last for the whole week!

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                              14. Mexican White Bean Soup ($0.99 per serving)

                              With the cold weather creeping in, it’s not a surprise that soups are coming back in style. This great Mexican White Bean Soup dish will keep you warm for winter without making a hole in your pocket.

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                                15. Black Beans with Mango & Cilantro ($0.38 per serving)

                                Mangoes make every dish a little bit sweeter, which is why we absolutely love this recipe. A normal rice and bean dish might be a little meh, but add the sugary taste of mangoes and you’ve got yourself a party!

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                                  16. Bean Burritos ($0.71 per serving)

                                  If you’re having people over tonight and don’t want to spend too much time or money on food, this dish is a great option! You can even cut up the burritos into pieces and make finger foods while everyone’s watching the game or gossiping.

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                                    17. Five-Spice Beef Kabobs ($2.43 per serving)

                                    The spices in this recipes add a delicious twist to the beef kabobs, which is definitely worth trying!

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                                      18. Cornmeal Crusted Pork ($1.92 per serving)

                                      If you like the fried crunch but want to opt for a healthier alternative, cornmeal is your man. This healthy recipe will satisfy all your fried desires without making you pop open your pant’s button.

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                                        19. Chicken, Tomato & Cucumber Dinner Salad ($2.57 per serving)

                                        Easy to do, extremely healthy, and super delicious. A must-try!

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                                          20. Lentil Soup with Beef and Red Pepper ($1.90 per serving)

                                          I can’t believe how cheap this meal is, especially for all the nutrients it contains. You can make a big pot on Sunday night and divide it into small portions to last you a whole week.

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                                            21. Smoky Mushroom Stroganoff ($1.90 per serving)

                                            Craving pasta but not sure what to top it off with? How about smoky mushrooms with a twist?

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                                              22. White Bean Tuna Salad ($1.36 per serving)

                                              You can add this White Bean Tuna Salad in your sandwich or just eat it as-is for a quick lunch on a busy day.

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                                                23. Sausage Eggwiches ($0.80 per serving)

                                                Who says you have to eat fast food to get an eggwich? This delicious recipe will give you an amazingly healthy eggwich for less than a dollar per portion. Can you say Breakfast?

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                                                Sausage-Eggwiches

                                                  24. Baja-Cali Black Bean Salad ($1.17 per serving)

                                                  Great snack to add to a movie-night with friends. You don’t have to use chemically-processed salsas anymore, you can now use this homemade salad for your chip dips.

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                                                    25. Gnocchi, Sweet Corn & Arugula in Cream Sauce ($2.24 per serving)

                                                    Italians always knew how to make carbs look good! This delicious Gnocchi recipe will give your lunch a whole new meaning. Easy to make and only $2.24 per serving.

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                                                      26. Vegetable Lasagna ($1.73 per serving)

                                                      If you were looking for a healthy lasagna, you’ve just found it. At under $5 per serving, you can fill yourself up right away without putting on the extra calories.

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                                                        27. Fajita-Ranch Chicken Wraps ($2.05 per serving)

                                                        Don’t know what to make for lunch this week? How about delicious chicken wraps with a healthy ranch? This recipe will make all your lunches, even the quick ones, healthy and colorful.

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                                                          28. Quinoa with Pan Roasted Brussels Sprouts ($1.24 per serving)

                                                          A dish that has quinoa and brussel sprouts can’t be unhealthy, it just can’t, which is why this dish is one to keep in the books. Easy to make, healthy, and will keep you full for a long period of time.

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                                                            29. Butternut Squash Chili ($1.04 per serving)

                                                            You don’t need meat to make chili now that you have this recipe! It’s 100% healthy, filling, and smells absolutely delicious.

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                                                              30. Fast Shrimp Bisque ($2.03 per serving)

                                                              Seafood doesn’t have to be expensive if you know how to do it right, and this fast shrimp bisque is a great recipe to try if you’re in the mood for some seafood!

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                                                                31. Chicken-Noodle Casserole ($0.98 per serving)

                                                                Looks divine doesn’t it? This super easy to make dish will satisfy all your taste buds without burning a hole in your wallet or adding a few extra numbers on the scale.

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                                                                  32. Burrito Cups ($1.18 per serving)

                                                                  Entertaining someone tonight and don’t know what to make as appetizers? These burrito cups are a great alternative to chips or other greasy finger foods. All you need to enjoy it is a spoon and a cup.

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                                                                    33. Lemon-Dill Shrimp & Pasta ($2.45 per serving)

                                                                    Another impressive shrimp recipe under $5 per serving. The lemon-dill twist adds a great taste to the dish.

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                                                                      34. Potato Frittata ($0.87 per serving)

                                                                      If you want to eat potatoes for breakfast but still want it to be healthy, this is the recipe for you. At under a dollar per serving, this potato frittata will make you see potatoes in a whole new light.

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                                                                        35. Grilled Pork and Pineapple ($2.67 per serving)

                                                                        Meat and fruits? Oh, yes. The juiciness of the pork mixed with the liquid sugar in the pineapple will make you wish you knew about it sooner.

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                                                                          36. Greek Honey-Lemon Pork Chops ($2.15 per serving)

                                                                          Another splendid recipe mixing sweet and salty for a healthy meal. Easy to make and absolutely mouthwatering.

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                                                                            37. Jamaican Pork Stir-Fry ($2 per serving)

                                                                            You can add this healthy stir-fry to any dish as a side or amply enjoy it as-is for lunch or dinner. You can even make a wrap sandwich out of it if you’re in a rush to eat.

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                                                                              38. Herbed Salmon ($2.49 per serving)

                                                                              Salmon contains a healthy dose of fats that will boost your metabolism, lower inflammation, and make you happier. At under $5 per serving, need I say more?

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                                                                                39. Five-Spice Pork Kabobs ($1.96 per serving)

                                                                                Exquisite recipe under $5 per serving that will most definitely awe everyone at your dinner party.

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                                                                                  40. Stuffed Sweet Potatoes with Mango-Black Bean Salsa ($1.24 per serving)

                                                                                  You don’t have to eat sweet potatoes alone anymore with this flavorful recipe.

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                                                                                    Featured photo credit: Featured Photo Credit: 5 Dollar Dinners via 5dollardinners.com

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