When you know, you know. There’s a time when you want to get off of your parent’s phone plan. There’s nothing wrong with going off on your own, but the world of cell phone service is not the easiest to navigate, and if you go about this process the wrong way you can end up with no functioning phone, or a plan that’s way too much or way too little, or something equally undesirable. Let’s dive into how to get off of someone’s phone plan and how to get your own phone plan to ensure that the process is as easy as it can be.
Preparation Before Getting Off of Your Parent’s Phone Plan
As we mentioned in the intro, there are some steps you need to take before you sever ties with your current phone plan. To make sure that leaving your old phone plan goes smoothly, there are a few steps you should take before you broach the subject with your parents.
Starting your own phone plan and being the account owner is exciting, but it is important to know that there are a lot of factors that go into phone plans, and owning your own phone and making any mistake will have costly consequences. This section will cover all the preparations you should take before officially starting the switch.
First things first: you need to communicate the fact you want to get off your parents plan with your parents. In most cases, only the account owner can add or remove lines from the plan. Generally, it is nice to take your number along with you to your new plan, and porting a number over requires communication from your old carrier and your new carrier. If you want to take your phone, you need to make sure that it is unlocked, but more on that later.
When you are on your parents phone plan, your parents have the control. Your phone and phone number are likely owned by your parents, and that means if you try to do something behind their backs it will probably cause a lot of problems, resulting in you not getting what you want. Don’t go behind your parents’ backs on this one. If you cannot get in contact with your parents, your best bet is getting a new phone and a new number on your new cell phone plan. It’s not the best deal, but you’ll have to make do at that point. If you are going down that route, just make sure to give your friends a heads up on your number change!
Research a new Phone Plan
Once you’ve chatted with your parents about your desire to switch, or before, it’s time to research the phone plan to which you want to switch. There are a lot of possible phone plans out there, and it is essential to know what you want out of your plan to pick out the plan that’s best for you. You should weigh the costs of phone plans out there with the amount of data you use.
At this point we think it’s worth getting unlimited talk and text because it is so cheap, but deciding how much data you want is a big question and affects the cost of the plan a lot. Fortunately, you’re in the right place! After we talk about when it’s the right time to leave your parents phone plan we will go over some of our best picks for new single-line phone plans for young adults.
What Do You Want out of a Phone Plan?
When you are researching a new phone plan, think about what you want. There are tiers of data priority , and figuring out what tier you want to land is a great first step.
- The cheapest tier are limited-data MVNO plans. They provide a set amount of high-speed data each month and are between $10 and $50 a month
- The second tier is unlimited MVNO plans. You have to watch out with these, because a lot of “unlimited” MVNO plans are not quite unlimited. They, instead, provide a larger pool of high-speed data and then unlimited 3G or 2G data speeds after that. They generally weigh in at $30 to $60 a month.
- After that, the third tier is the basic major wireless unlimited plans. These give unlimited 4G LTE and 5G data and are generally between $50 and $70 a month.
- The final tier are premium unlimited plans from major wireless networks. These give unlimited high-speed data and oftentimes other perks like mobile hotspots and subscriptions to a variety of services.
Major Wireless Networks and MVNOs
At the beginning of the process, you should decide whether you want to go with a major wireless network or an MVNO. Major wireless networks are more expensive but have more reliable data speeds, whereas MVNOs are far cheaper but often provide less in their plans and have data speeds that fluctuate when overall use is high. The amount of time you spend using WiFi has a huge impact on this decision, as phone plans are not affected when you use WiFi to complete any tasks.
This decision comes twofold. If you are willing to pay for the right plan, consider whether or not you would be inconvenienced by thinking about when and where to use your data. Streaming audio, video, browsing the web, and going on social media go through a ton of data, and if that is a part of your day that you want to keep then an unlimited plan may be best even though it’s at a higher price point.
If you spend a lot of time indoors or otherwise have a lot of ways to mitigate your overall data usage, a limited-data MVNO could be a nice alternative.
Leaving Your Parent’s Phone Plan and Keeping Your Number
Once you’ve told your parents your plan and are ready to get off your parents phone plan and switch to your own, the process of that should not be too bad. The account owner begins a transfer of service, which happens anytime someone switches phone carriers. The steps to change phone plans are, in essence, as follows:
- Create an account with your new provider
- Go through these steps to keep your number when you switch
- Make sure your phone is unlocked and ready for the new SIM card
- Purchase a plan with your new provider and confirm that your line is taken off of the old account
The specifics vary from carrier to carrier and we recommend browsing your specific carrier’s instructions to ensure that you do not make any mistakes. This process is designed to be an easy and painless way forward, but there are always unforeseen roadblocks that trip up the unsuspecting.
If you want to get a new phone number and or new phone with your new account the process is considerably easier (if more expensive). When you set up an account with your new provider and purchase a phone the company will assign you a number and you’ll be good to go.
How do You Know it’s Time to Leave Your Parent’s Phone Plan?
Leaving your parent’s phone plan can be a huge step into independence and starting your own life. It allows you to find a cheaper service if you so desire as well as not having to pay your family each month. There are, of course, downsides to starting off on your own as well. The independence and ability to be the account owner for your phone plan will likely result in you either going for a cheaper plan with less features or having to pay more because you are no longer on a family plan.
Leaving your family plan is a big decision, and it is something you should not do lightly. That being said, if it is causing you or your family stress, or otherwise becoming problematic, sometimes it has to happen. Make sure that you are in a financial position where you can pay your phone bills on time and have done the research so you know where you are going to switch when the time comes. From there, try to make the switch as easy as possible for all parties, but at the end of the day you are doing this for you.
The Cost of Your Own Phone Plan
Perhaps the worst part of having your own phone plan is the price. Cell service is expensive, especially if you want to luxuriate in an unlimited data plan from a major wireless company. There are a ton of cheap options, but you give up a lot of data and flexibility when you choose them. That choice is ultimately up to you, but you’ve switched carriers once already and you can do it again!
We recommend starting out with a cheaper line to get a feel of things and figure out your billing schedule while taking the time to see what it’s like when you have a limited supply of data. This is, of course, assuming that your family is on an unlimited plan. Tiptoeing around your data for a month or two is not the end of the world, and after that period you can decide if you can hold on on a cheaper plan, or if you want to pay extra for an unlimited plan.
Examples of Single-Line Phone Plans
This section will cover some single-line plans that are great for people who are going off on their own for the first time. When you are getting your own phone plan, it is important to understand the costs and what you get at the price point. This list will start with the excellent free Freedom Pop plan and go down the line, increasing in cost until we get to the premium wireless plans to hopefully give you a taste of every tier.
Freedom Pop’s Free Plan
- 10 texts
- 10 minutes talk
- 50 MB data
The free plan at Freedom Pop is uniquely cost-effective and must be our recommendation for those looking to save money on their phone bills.
Freedom Pop’s limited plans are great for those who are able to take advantage of Wi-Fi basically all day long. Wi-Fi is free, and it can be used in unlimited amounts no matter what the plan is. To this degree, a good way to limit usage is to tie your talk and text to WiFi as well so you don’t run out of your 10 texts or 10 minutes of talk that you get per month. This plan lets you keep a number that’s up and running, but not much else!
Twigby’s 4 GB Plan
For $20 a month, Twigby’s phone plan offers unlimited calling and texting and 4GB of high-speed data. For a new plan owner who does not use a lot of data, Twigby’s 4 GB plan is a great way to save money. Twigby has a variety of plans from no data to 20 GB of high-speed data a month, giving low-data users a nice mix of plans to figure out which one works best for them. Twigby offers a three-month new customer offer that takes $10 off of all their plans, making each one a great deal for those three months.
Keep your eyes open for other MVNOs like Twigby, like Reach Mobile and Tello Mobile. They have a plethora of cheap plans and, normally, nice new customer deals to save you even more money! The major downside to MVNOs like this is generally that their most expensive plan only nets you between 20 and 30 GB of high-speed data each month.
Mint Mobile’s Unlimited Plan
Mint Mobile’s Unlimited Plan slides in at $30 a month, almost half of Verizon’s cost. In order to stay at the price point, you have to purchase the plan twelve months at a time, but the prices are excellent. Their unlimited plan, while a great price, only gives 25 GB of high-speed data, so they suffer from the same downside as the aforementioned MVNOs. 25 GB is a lot, but it still requires a bit of planning to ensure that you don’t spend an hour or two on TikTok using up your mobile data!
Mint Mobile has options at lower price points for limited-data plans, making it a great option if you are considering jumping to a lower-priced plan in the future. Their new-customer deal is a three-month contract at low prices, which is the perfect amount of time to figure out how much data you need each month.
Visible Wireless Unlimited Plans
Visible Wireless phone plans are both unlimited, and they are a more expensive and more exciting MVNO for new lines. These plans are still less expensive than major wireless networks, but being able to fluctuate between their basic unlimited plan and their unlimited plus plan provides you with a surprising amount of options.
- $30 per month for Unlimited
- $45 per month for Unlimited plus
Visible Wireless’ basic unlimited plan gives you 50 GB of high-speed data on Verizon’s 4G LTE and 5G networks. That data allocation blows other MVNOs out of the water. 50 GB of data is a lot, and it lets you browse socials and stream a decent amount of audio and video before it gets dicey. Their unlimited plus plan is a true unlimited plan with no ceiling on the amount of data you are able to use. Out of all the options on this list we think Visible Wireless is the best bet when it comes to MVNOs for people who just got off of someone’s plan.
Verizon’s Welcome Unlimited Plan
While the most expensive monthly plan on this list, Verizon’s Welcome Unlimited Plan is a great choice for new plan owners looking to get that major carrier service while still saving some money. At $55 a month if you are a student and $65 otherwise, it is a premium plan, but access to Verizon’s library of phones and high-speed network might be worth the cost.
If you have decided on an unlimited plan, Verizon’s welcome unlimited is good for students because it doesn’t have anything added-on that will drive up the plan’s cost. That being said, it is still quite expensive compared to Visible Wireless’ unlimited plans. The major boon of Verizon and other major wireless networks is that you are able to use data with the assurance that it will be high-speed data all day long.
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