Smartphones are becoming increasingly cost prohibitive for many individuals.

Smartphones are modern society’s norm, with 81% of Americans owning them, according to Pew Research Center’s June-released statistics. However, smartphones are becoming increasingly cost prohibitive for many individuals.

Phones that offer only calling and texting are referred to as “dumbphones” or “smart feature phones” and are available for around $20. The Wall Street Journal in July indicated that shipments of such phones are on the rise.

It is important to look for an “unlocked” device that is not tied to any particular carrier. And, many dumbphones require a SIM (Subscriber Identity Module) card, which connects to a provider.

SIM cards also store contact information and can be moved from one phone to another, as long as the SIM card size requirements are the same for each phone.



Pre-paid SIM cards, which offer users freedom from contracts and expensive smartphone bells and whistles, can be purchased online or at various technology and big box retailers.

A SIM card might cost less than $10 to purchase, but then there are different plans to choose from based on length of time, gigabytes needed, and anticipated talk and text minutes required.

Dumbphones with SIM cards are a go-to choice for international travelers who may only need phone access for a short amount of time and do not want to pay hefty international smartphone plan fees.

For existing smartphone users who want to transform their devices into money-saving dumbphones, Fastcompany.com in July offered step-by-step instructions, which include:
‒ Delete all added apps.
‒ Disable built-in apps.

To “say good-bye” to mobile data and just receive “vanilla” texts and phone calls, fastcompany.com shared: “In the Settings menu, select Messages and turn off the iMessage toggle if it was previously turned on. Then, back in the Settings menu again, select Cellular, and then un-toggle the ‘Cellular Data’ option.

“Similarly for Android, go into your Settings menu, then choose the ‘Network & internet’ option, then select ‘Mobile network’ and un-toggle the ‘Mobile data’ option.”