Why Straight Talk Is My Husband’s Best Friend

When I began dating my current husband, the “Great Recession” of 2008 was just beginning. He is a master auto mechanic, and his field was hit extremely hard. The money people normally spent to repair their cars completely dried up as wave after wave of layoffs were announced across the country.

Most mechanics work on “flat rate”, which meant he was only paid for booked work instead of hours worked. No jobs booked = standing around doing nothing, for free. And there was very little work as the economy worsened. On top of all this, he was stuck in a cell phone contract with AT&T that cost him hundreds of dollars a month and even more to break it.  He’s usually a frugal guy, so this surprised me. Why was he paying so much for his cellphone???
Somehow he got talked into starting a “Friends and Family plan” on AT&T and adding his girlfriend at the time (before me) along with her sister and her boyfriend. This arrangement worked ok for a while. Everyone got a phone and plenty of minutes and they shared the cost…until they skipped out and left my husband with the bill. For two whole years!

My guess is that he was the only one with decent credit, so they used him to get what they wanted until they could no longer afford it. But even though he shut all the other lines off, he couldn’t get out of the contract. So he was stuck with a zillion minutes a month that he didn’t need and a phone bill he couldn’t afford.

Thankfully the contract was just ending as the recession was heating up. He swore he’d NEVER get stuck in another cell phone contract again and he’d NEVER use AT&T again. But what to do for cell phone coverage? There were a couple of “pay- as-you-go” options out there, but they all charged you for any day that you used your phone in addition to minutes used. He wanted something simple.

At that time, Straight Talk was brand new. It was just being rolled out in some of the Walmarts across the country. $30 a month for 1000 minutes and 1000 text messages plus a bit of data was just right for someone who needed a tough, simple phone. He has been a customer with them ever since.

A couple of years ago he graduated to a smart phone, after stealing mine all the time! Being in IT, I’ve always had a company phone, usually a smartphone (which is more like a ball and chain for work, but at least it’s paid for.) His new plan is $45 a month, with unlimited minutes, text, and data. Not bad for an extra $15. The data is actually limited to 2 GB per month. I’m not sure how they get away with saying that’s “unlimited”, but they don’t turn him off if he’s reached his limit, they just slow him down. That makes it hard for him to watch car videos, but how many car videos does one guy need to watch? LOL

Still, it does what it needs to do and he’s happy. He can search for auto parts on ebay from it, exchange tips on car forums, and do what he needs to do. (If anything, he uses the darned thing TOO much!) He’s not stuck in a contract. And you can now actually bring your own smart phones if they are from AT&T or T-mobile. As the smart phone market matures and more really good used phones are available, this opens up a lot of options for Straight Talk Users. What a great way to recycle nicer, slightly outdated smart phones!

Straight Talk’s technical support isn’t great, and their website can be a bit of a pain, especially if you’re having issues with auto-renewal, but their actual service is usually fine. It uses all the carriers that people are paying big bucks for- Verizon, AT&T, T-Mobile, Sprint. It’s the same concept as in groceries and many other industries- many name brand manufacturers make the generic version of the same items but change the labels on them. Straight Talk is the “generic” brand of cell phone carriers. There are a few others out there, but it seems to be one of the more reliable ones.

And the service has gotten even better. They now offer a home phone with a cell phone base that costs us $16 a month and has unlimited calling in the US and Canada. This is so much cheaper than a land line where you have to pay for local and long distance services, often separately. It’s also cheaper than most bundled cable packages that have internet phone included, as well as Skype, Vonage, and some of the other internet phones. (Since we live out in the country, these aren’t even options for us. Our internet is satellite based and metered.)

Straight Talk also makes life easier if you have a teenager who wants (I hate to say “needs”) a phone and tends to be a bit forgetful. I was able to buy a $30 phone card off the Straight Talk website along with a free phone because it was a new number. I think I even got free shipping with that deal. After a couple of months, my son lost the phone, but we were only out the money we’d spent on service that he didn’t get to use before the card expired. It was a pretty painless experience.Overall, Straight Talk has been a great experience for our family. Our total phone expenses are $61 a month- that’s for my husband’s phone and our home phone. Compare that to about $50 a month for one land line, and I’d say it’s well worth the extra $11. My husband easily makes that in repair  jobs he’s able to get because he has a phone, and money saved because he can use it to research parts he needs. Over the past seven years, it’s been a win, win for us!Note: None of this may be new “news’ to you, since Straight Talk has gained a lot of national attention and has a lot more users than when we discovered it. But if you’re sitting on the fence, I hope this review helps. 
This entry was posted in Reviews.

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