A new update is posted here.

Last year I began writing a series of Monday Money tips that chronicled steps that we were taking to save money.

Time for an update, and this time it’s about cellphones.

After buying a Samsung Galaxy S3 in 2012, I had buyers regret.

Not over the phone, it was fantastic.  No, I didn’t like the fact that my monthly cellphone bill was around $170 for one smart phone and one dumb phone.  So I sold the Samsung, and went back to my original Droid. And we also switched to a prepaid no-contract plan.  Page Plus became our cellphone service, but actually we were keeping our Verizon coverage.  Page Plus is the only  3rd party prepay Verizon service provider.  A friend of mine had them for years and would brag about only paying $30 a month.  I was able to drop our monthly bill to $85 a month.

This summer the ancient cellphone my wife had been using bit the dust.

First I dug out my old Motorola Razr and we had it activated, but it only lasted a couple of weeks before the screen went bad.

She visited our local Page Plus Dealer and he sold her a used phone for $30 that she really likes and she’s all set.  Her monthly bill continues to run $29.95.

Meanwhile,my old Droid was just not cutting it.  I took a position this year managing the social media for a huge internet retailer and my phone’s operating system and memory capabilities were lacking for the work that I do.  Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, all were just too much for my phones old Android FroYo Operating System.

So I had a plan to upgrade my phone to at least the Android Ice Cream Sandwich Operating system, or go with an iPhone.

(A quick primer on Android Operating Systems…  They have numbers and they have fun names.  More info here).

But I didn’t want to spend more than $200 on a phone and I wanted to stay with a no-contract deal.

Nearly impossible.  It was around May when I brought this up to my wife and she said my Fathers day gift would be the phone.

But when Fathers day came in June, I wasn’t ready yet.

I was not finding what I wanted:

Smartphone for $200 or less with a modern operating system that provided good coverage and could handle the features I needed for my Social Media job.

In our part of the world, Verizon beats Sprint and all the others for coverage.  I watched as my co-workers with AT & T and Sprint would not get a signal at their desks.  Our offices are in a rural part of Indiana, about 35 miles from where I live.  I needed my phone to work both places and in between.

I did lots of research including shopping for used phones, asking about Sprint coverage, etc.  I was considering switching to Boost Mobile but my gut was telling me no.  Stick to my guns. Buy a phone under $200 that I could use on Verizon that met my other criteria.  Used phones were risky, even though my wife just bought one, she spent $35, not $200 and saw it in person.

One day, I discovered Verizon was offering pre-paid phones at Walmart.  This summer I did my research and found the LG Lucid phone was being offered by Verizon as the LG Optimus Exceed.

The phone was available in limited quantities at Walmart, Target and Best Buy.  So limited that the weekend I decided to pull the trigger, there was only one in town at one of our local Best Buy stores.  I spoke to my wife, and then bought it.

Price was only $129.99.

Network is Verizon

Droid Operating System is Ice Cream Sandwich.

Yes it can handle the apps I need to use for Social Media and also the Navigation App with Google Maps that we use when traveling sometimes.

I did buy the $70 prepay plan from Verizon for at least the 1st month which is $15 more than I was paying with Page Plus.  This $70 plan includes double the data and I can switch to a $60 Verizon Plan if I’m not using all the data I get with the $70 plan.  I can also decide to switch back to Page Plus anytime.

The comparison between Verizon and Page Plus:

Verizon $60 plan includes 2 GB of data.  Page Plus offers the same for just $55, which is what I had.

Verizon $70 plan includes 4 GB of data.  Page Plus offers a $69.95 plan that includes 5 GB of data.

Both offer all of this at 3G, not 4G speeds which I can live with.

Lessons learned include doing research, which I tend to do anyway and have patience.

We put the phone to the test this past weekend on an out of town trip using the navigation and maps to find our way down dark country roads in the rain and it worked like a charm. Battery life on all the smartphones I’ve had have been poor, but I was able to keep this one going buy plugging into my car charger.

If you want to read more Monday Money tips and stores, just click here.