The Beginning of the End?

I bought my 11-year old daughter a cell phone this week.

It’s a $10 TracFone from Wal-Mart and I also bought 3-months of service (60 minutes total) for another $20. She’s not allowed to even have the phone in school, which means she won’t have it after school either. I’m hoping this keeps her usage down. I’ve told her that I’ll pay the $20/3 months but if she wants more minutes then she’ll need to pay for them.

$7/month seems like a pretty decent price for her to have a phone when we she’s around the neighborhood or at drop-off activites. We’ll see how that works out.

Oh, and text messages count as either a third of a minute or .3 minutes, I’m not quite sure which. And they offer larger blocks of minutes for better rates, but this is the best rate for getting months of service. Minutes don’t expire as long as you buy more months of service before your current time ends.



  1. #1 by lizriz on April 22, 2009 - 7:02 pm

    Hm… You really better keep an eye on her usage. I’d imagine that a kid today could use 60 minutes up texting in a matter of days, even at that ratio. They text like we talk. Seriously.


    • #2 by Ren on April 23, 2009 - 1:13 pm

      lizriz – I’ll definitely be keeping an eye on it. At least it’s pre-paid, so she can’t go over and rack up crazy charges.


  2. #3 by whall on April 22, 2009 - 7:02 pm

    ARGH! Ren, your blog comment section is NOT Blackberry-aware. I type in a comment, hit submit, it asks to activate javascript and then everything disappears.


    For our 14yr old, she bought her own iPhone (with babysitting and petsitting money), and she’s responsible to pay the $30/mo add-on unlimited data plan. We pay the $9.99/mo add-a-line to our family plan, and we already have the unlimited txt messaging for the entire family plan. It works well for us.

    The best thing about it is the iPhone is the new disciplinarian. Chores not done? iPhone possession is in danger. Not acting right? iPhone to the rescue. She doesn’t have a hit single that brings the family millions of dollars? we haven’t actually set a punishment for that yet.


    • #4 by Ren on April 23, 2009 - 1:15 pm

      whall – I took a quick look at the comment code and didn’t see an easy solution. Perhaps I could enable the iPhone theme for the Blackberry.

      We already discussed this at pool last night, but I wanted to add that I can’t imagine your daughter needing discipline. Well, maybe the lack of a hit single thing, but probably not even that.


  3. #5 by Janna on April 22, 2009 - 11:14 pm

    I have a TracFone too!
    I’ve had it for a couple years now.
    And I still have no clue whether the texts are a third of a minute or .3 minutes.
    Whenever I sent one (or read one I’ve just received), the screen says “.30 minutes deducted”.
    Every time, I wonder what the heck it means.

    If you find out, let me know.


    • #6 by Ren on April 23, 2009 - 1:19 pm

      Janna – As best I can tell, it’s .3 minutes and the mention of 1/3 is just a simplification. I may do an experiment to try and verify this.


      • #7 by Janna on April 23, 2009 - 11:44 pm

        I have no clue.
        It’s gotta be either a third of a minute (as in, three tenths), or half a minute (as in, 30 seconds).
        If you experiment, please share the results.
        Inquiring minds want to know. 🙂


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