I also asked about phones on Facebook groups I'm in, and I got a lot of feedback from there as well.
So for my first smart phone I got a Samsung Galaxy J3. If I'd had lots of money, I would maybe have gone for the Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge.
Seems it just came out. So I don't have much feedback online about it yet. It was under $200. And by switching to Verizon, the price got knocked down to $109.99. I also purchased a phone charger, a tempered glass display protector to protect the front, and a red (of course) case.
This brought the total of my first month's coverage (since I pre-pay for a month in advance), the phone and the rest to $266.32.
My plan: I have unlimited talk and text, and you get 3 GB instead of 2 GB automatically with auto-pay.
If you go on auto-pay, you also pay $5 less per month. I go with any way I can save within reason.
I have most of my bills on auto-pay and my bank pays it before it's due every month. I am just more comfortable knowing that my bills are paid on time. And it has helped me build my credit after the divorce.
I asked the guy helping me at Verizon why so many people pay over $700 for a phone. He said that many think the newest thing out there is what they just have to have, so they get it.
But, he added, (and this is his opinion) that there really isn't that much difference in phones anymore in terms of technology, so they aren't really getting all that much paying more.
I have no idea. I just bought my first smart phone, after all.
I may change my mind, and need something else later. But I'm on a budget, and just cannot see spending that kind of money when I'm at home most of the time and using my laptop.
I can take photos and finally join the ranks of Instagram users.
I don't have to type out a text. (I don't want "text claw") I can just speak into the phone, and it will write a text for me. A BIG plus for me. I have arthritis in my hands and fingers.
If I couldn't do this, I just wouldn't text at all. (Still haven't yet).
I don't play games or stream video or music or anything like that. This is because if bloggers are trying to make money, then they need to stay abreast of current technology.
And so I can get on Instagram, which will avail me of more financial opportunities via sponsors, etc.
It is for protection when I'm out alone; a way to keep me from getting lost via a voice giving me directions.
I also find myself standing in line at stores behind people using coupons on their phones to get cheaper prices, so I will love that.
No telling what all I will be able to do once I figure this thing out.
The battery can be taken out. It is unlocked. And I'm free to switch anything any time I want. I'm not locked into anything.
I simply don't want to go into debt over a phone. I have finally, over 4 years time, got my credit rating up to a decent number after the divorce. I have worked hard to get there.
I don't like debt hanging over my head. And I sure don't like paying interest on credit cards.
I left a marriage with my credit completely ruined. I clawed my way back up the credit scale. Slowly but surely.
So that was my choice.
I can switch later if it doesn't fit my needs.
Once again, all your suggestions helped me to figure out the phone lingo and determine a lot of factors. Someone told me not to order sight unseen online, as I should hold it in my hand first. Great idea. So I did followed that advice.
I listened to all your comments and it sure helped when I started going to stores to check things out.
See below for links to info and reviews that helped me when trying to understand plans and phones.
1. Consumer Reports Best Phone Plans For Your Family July 2016
2. 10 Best Smart Phones So Far April 2016
3. Save Hundreds On Your Cell Phone With One Simple Trick (2015)
4. 10 Best Smart Phones In The US (written 10 days ago)
5. How To Save Money On Your Cell Phone Plan (June 2016)
6. Comparing Wireless Carrier Plans (February 2016)
7. Can You Really Get A Smart Phone For Free? (March 2016)