Compare TracFone and Jitterbug Costs

Compare the costs of TracFone and Jitterbug

But first, let’s compare the costs of TracFone and Jitterbug at a couple of usage levels. One really great thing about TracFone is it’s flexibility – when you need minutes, you can buy more. If you don’t need more minutes, just make sure your service stays active. And this can all be put on autopilot, and monitored and maintained remotely via the web, IF you want to. So, let’s get to the cost comparison.

This is where it gets a little confusing, since TracFone offers different phones. Because of the variation in phone prices and possible usage amounts, it is not possible to make a perfect one-to-one comparison. But I’ll do my best to compare the costs of ownership and use in the first year of service, between TracFone and Jitterbug. Here are the first-year costs under Jitterbug:

Minutes per month 30 60 150
Cost of Phone (direct from company) $147 $147 $147
Activation fee $ 35 $ 35 $ 35
Cost of Minutes (annually) $180 $240 $360
Total $362 $422 $542

And now, from TracFone:

Minutes per month 30 60 150
Phone (package deal w/ minutes) $ 0 $ 0 $ 0
Activation fee $ 0 $ 0 $ 0
Cost of Minutes (annually) $100 $100 $180
Total $100 $100 $180

WOW. Those are some substantial savings, across the board. Further, the $100 total for up to 60 minutes under TracFone works out to LESS THAN $10 per month, with no additional start-up costs!

Another advantage of TracFone is that if you ever need more minutes, it’s simple to buy and add them – you’re not bound to “use or lose” a certain number per month. Use 2 minutes one month, and 200 the next, and it’s fine – any unused minutes will roll over to the next month, until you use them up, as long as your service is active.

In the following paragraphs, I will explain how to find the best deal to get you started on TracFone, and how to make sure the phone will work where you need it to work. HOWEVER, if you plan to use an average of MORE than 150 minutes per month on your wireless phone, Net10 will end up being a better fit in terms of monthly cost and ease of use. They frequently offer free phone packages, and the Motorola V176 flip phone, which I recommend, is currently being offered as a freebie. To find this deal,please click here.

Or, for more discussion related to using TracFone as an alternative to Jitterbug, and to find out how to get started with TracFone, click here.

9 thoughts on “Compare TracFone and Jitterbug Costs

    • Hi GM
      I agree, the phones are not ALWAYS free. But in most of the deals I recommend, ESPECIALLY for someone that is new to TracFone, you can get a phone plus an airtime card, for the cost of the airtime card alone. So, this means the phones is free when you pay regular price for the airtime. Does that makes sense? Thanks for your contribution to the site!

  1. Just to add my 2 cents…..I found that the LG 225 is a great, easy to use phone for a senior who is not tech savvy. I know you recommended the V176, but in my area (Connecticut), that phone is not an available option when purchasing through Tracfone or at any of our local retailers. I do agree that the V176 is a good choice for seniors who want a cell phone “just in case”.
    I have an LG 225 and I recently bought the Moto W376g DMFL package for my mother in law. Upon setting it up I found that the LG was a much easier phone for her to deal with. A few points I can make regarding this are:

    1 – Phone book format. With LG you have the name listed once and are able to access all numbers for that person from the one listing. With Moto you will have a name listed multiple times…once for home #, once for work #, one for cell #, etc. It involves alot of scrolling.

    2 – The buttons on the LG are bigger or maybe just better spaced. In setting up the Moto, I found the buttons very tightly packed and this sometimes caused me to end what I was doing or enter something I didn’t want to.

    3 – The main menu on the LG is nicely set up so that if you want to go to, for instance, Recent calls, you just have to hit the number 6 while in the menu. No scrolling.

    4 – Outside screen. You can see who is calling without opening the phone.

    5 – DURABLE – My LG has spent most of it’s life (I think thats about 1 1/5 years) in the bottom of my purse (no case) and still looks remarkable. It feels nice and solid. I can’t say the same for what is now my Moto 376g.

    6 – The LG came with an instruction manual…a real one. Now I am not sure if it still does, but I was not impressed that the Moto only came with basic start up guide and that I would have to use 88 pieces of paper plus ink to get my mother in law real instructions. She doesn’t have a computer so downloading them and saving them is not an option.

    I ended up giving the LG to her rather than the Moto because after going over both phones with her she was much more comfortable with it.

    I kept the Moto and what I did like about it was that it does have a nice loud ring, which is something that could be important if you are dealing with a senior who is hearing impaired. What good is a phone if they can’t hear it ringing??

    Also, the Moto offers a much easier way to get to the speakerphone option. When in a call, simple press the right soft key and the speaker comes on. With the LG, it’s a matter of pushing the right soft key which accesses a menu and you have to either scroll to speaker on and hit enter, or you have to hit the corresponding number. I don’t have a bluetooth, the phone doesn’t ring enough while I’m driving to warrant the cost or the fashion statement of having this thing hanging off my ear. I’m not saying I wouldn’t want one, just can’t justify for myself yet. But the speakerphone access is VERY nice on the Moto.

    I just want to say that I am not bashing the Moto 376g. I have owned and used the Moto for a very short time (not nearly enough time for me to fully play with it) and it has some cool things that would appeal to those of us not in the Jitterbug market such as Bluetooth, much better games, and an FM radio, none of which really interested my 65 year old mother in law.

    I have also owned a Net10 V176 and it is very similar to the LG in terms of size and weight. And lacks the option of a camera which might be a good thing if you are dealing with a senior who doesn’t want to deal with gadgets. I can’t remember if the keypad lights up on the V176 which, while not usually necessary, is a nice feature.

    This posting was written as a way to compare two of the best phone deals (in my opinion) that Tracfone offers for those in my position who have to help out our family while I (and most of the world) are on a very limited budget.

    I chose the Moto 376 because you got a phone and the DMFL for $20.00 less than the price of the DMFL card alone and it was what my Walmart had in stock at the time we needed a phone(my Walmart didn’t carry the $19.99 Moto 370 DMFL deal or else I would have bought that one, but I need the phone ASAP). With the 376 it was like they were paying me $20.00 to buy the phone! And that was a plan that fit both me and my mother in law’s needs. We are not huge cell phone users, but rather keep them in case a sick child needs to picked up at school or some such emergency.

    For $10.00 more (39.99) and if you can wait for shipping you can get the LG 225 with DMFL. DMFL is a great thing. Even if you don’t use the minutes, you never lose them as long as you keep the phone active.

    And no, I don’t work for Tracfone!

    • Pepper –
      Thanks so much for your helpful additions! It’s always great to get another perspective. I have the 225 myself at the moment, and I agree that it is also an adequate no-frills phone (although the camera is a frill, I guess). I had written this comparison in mid-2008, so I guess it’s time to do some editing. I’ll definitely incorporate your input into the revision when I get around to it. Thanks again!

  2. You are more than welcome. And thank you for all the helpful, non biased information you provide. I really appreciate the time you take to not only maintain this blog, but test out the different models of phones. It’s a wonder that you have time for anything else!

  3. I love Tracfone, for the moderate use we have for cell phones. Our family-plan (five phones) costs us less than $40/month. Two most used lines have DMFL. If one of us needs more minutes, we buy extra without hesitating. No need to pay unnecessarily for minutes we don’t use. Keeps the phone use in our control… and no pesky yearly-contracts! Fantastic service too. One of my phones was giving trouble after 8 months of use. Tracfone replaced it with another one for no charge.

    If majority of us switch to tracfone, it will teach other companies something. Cell-phones are so much fun in other countries.

    I do not work for TRACFONE.

    • HarryT – I agree, TracFone is great for people who use less than 150 minutes total per month, possibly even more. I love it (and Net10) for the reasons you stated – when you need minutes, you buy them. Simple as that!

  4. I have a tracphone. all well and good, except my account is debited and the minutes never get downloaded. very poor customer service. will spend hours getting an operator who then has to enter a series of codes to download minutes. very inconvenient and costly in that one is not redemed minutes used waiting on hold. and if perchance you run out of minutes as i have while waiting, email/website forum will get back to you in 24/48 hrs. good grief!!

  5. Paul – have you tried turning your phone off and then back on again? Often that will trigger the phone to go out and get any updates from the network, including new minute additions.

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