I’ve mentioned before that Jason has food allergies. He’s severely allergic to tree nuts, peanuts and seeds. He carries around an epipen with him in a small black-and-white checkered backpack, along with a water bottle. Yep, he can’t even share a water fountain. What he doesn’t carry around, though, is a cell phone. So finding a good, cheap wireless plan is certainly something Allie and I have discussed.
Yep, it’s tough raising a kid with food allergies, just as it has to be incredibly tough for him going through life with them. As Jason’s getting older, though, we’re giving him a lot more responsibility and making him step up to the plate more when it comes to his allergies. He needs to be much more vocal with everyone about them, as well as ask lots and lots of questions, the main one being, “Is that safe?”
He’s starting the 5th Grade tomorrow. (Wowzers. How’d that happen?!?) Allie and I have talked about it before and solely because of his food allergies have we considered getting him a cell phone. Nothing fancy. Nothing to go play Angry Birds. Or Plants vs. Zombies 2. Not so he can play around and take photos of everyone to slap up on Instagram. No, just a basic phone that he can call us or 911 in case of an emergency.
When I was recently offered a shot at trying out the Walmart Family Mobile plan, I figured that was the perfect testing ground. We want to get Jason a phone but we also don’t want to pay a fortune. Our cell coverage through Verizon Wireless is good but the cost is already pretty high on a monthly basis (and yes, I do play apps like Clash of Clans on it all the time!). I definitely need unlimited text and talking, so we pay through the nose for it.
Since we wanted to test things out with Jason, we weren’t looking for an expensive phone, nor any serious commitments. Locking in for even a year could be brutal if after a month or two we realize it’s not working or worth it. No, finding the lowest rate price plan was on the top of our list.
Walmart’s Family Mobile Plan has two really solid things going for it: simplicity and affordability.
First off, there are a ton of really good cell phones to choose from that are in the Family Mobile Plan at Walmart. If you want a souped-up smartphone, go for it. But like I said, we wanted something inexpensive and simple, so we went with the Alcatel 506A. It was under $30 for the phone, $25 for a starter kit, and then only $29.88 per month for unlimited calls and texts. That’s a pretty insane rate.
What’s real nice about the Walmart Family Mobile Plan is that they really do “get it.” They know what parents are looking for in a first cell phone for their kids. Besides being easy to use (granted, my kids could probably master the craziest smart phones faster than I could!) and real affordable, there are a lot of options to control how your kids are using their phones.
Some of the highlights I really like include:
- Control how many minutes or messages can be used by any 1 line on the account.
- Block usage at specific times during the day
- Each line lets you set up to 10 Always Allowed and Never Allowed numbers (This one is my favorite highlight of all)
- Block 411 calls
- Get alerts indicating whenever one of your lines has hit or surpassed the Family Controls limit
- Turn data on/off
Setting up the Alcatel 506A with cell phone service was a snap. Normally it can take like an hour at the store while all of your settings are put in place and your phone is activated. But with the Walmart Family Mobile Plan, I just went online, typed in my basic information and then just had to enter a few basic codes that were found on the Activation Starter Kit and the box the phone came in.
What’s really cool is that the Starter Kit has a plastic membership type card, but a small piece of it easily breaks off. That’s your SIM card, which you put in the phone to activate the Walmart Family Mobile plan. Stick that in your phone right underneath the battery, register online (or call) and you’re done. You can easily check for online account management and information by visiting MyFamilyMobile.com any time.
I think I spent all of maybe 5 minutes doing that. Then I had to just wait while the phone charged up so Jason could use it. We just got things going, so I’m real anxious to see how he likes his first cell phone. Walmart’s Family Mobile Plan is certainly making it easier to send the kids back to school.
The entire plan was actually covered in a recent issue of Live SoFab, a digital magazine put together by #cbias. You can read more about it, as well as get a ton of great ideas for the entire back to school season.
I’ll be checking back in with you guys in about a month to let you all know how Jason’s been doing in school with his first cell phone. For now, I’ll let him get comfortable with his new phone, while Allie and I get comfortable with balancing our monthly budget to see if #FamilyMobileSaves. I guess we all have some homework to do.
Curious how our Walmart shopping spree went? Check out my Google+ album for all the juicy details!