Many cell phone users are so conditioned to the phone-contract concept that they can't even fathom switching to a prepaid phone. Fewer than 20 percent of Americans use prepaid phones [source: Entrepreneur]. But the reality is that prepaid phones can help some people save serious money.
Prepaid plans vary. Some charge a daily fee; others charge only for the minutes you use. If you're a light- to moderate phone user, you can save a lot of money when you compare the costs to a traditional contract plan.
As with all things in the land of cell phones, though, you have to read the fine print. Many prepaid phone minutes have an expiration date, and sometimes, just like their contracted brethren, they come loaded with confusing fees that can wind up costing you more in the long run.
Most prepaid phones that have a per-minute charge will cost around 5 to 25 cents for every 60 seconds [source: MSN Money]. Those phones often have a daily access fee of a dollar or two. You may also have a choice of buying blocks of minutes or a monthly plan, through companies such as TracFone, MetroPCS or even bigger companies such as Verizon and AT&T, among others.
With prepaid, you won't get to play with the latest smartphone gadgets. Instead, you'll get a more basic device. But what you lose in frilly and unnecessary fun can add far more in value to your savings account.