I live in Michigan and used to work for a cell phone company (CenturyTel). You can definately get a cheaper rate, mine now is only $20 a month for 1200 minutes. This was purchased on a promotion, which is a good way to do it. If you only make a few calls a month look for a plan with 100 or so minutes (most won’t come with less) and just make sure the minutes are good when and where you need them.
$20 is about as cheap as plans go, unless you get a plan with no minutes, which I have seen from $10-15 a month. But beware of the per-minute cost, one call at 50 cents a minute can put you up there in price really fast. Also beware of plans that are advertised cheap but require a long contract that ups the price after a year.
Also keep in mind that if you switch phone companies you will most likely have to buy a different phone if it is not compatible (and this is usually the case in MI). Try to get a promotion with a free phone, although most of these will require a long contract or a more expensive plan.
Any good customer service person or sales person can find a plan that will fit you, and shouldn’t try to push you into more than you need. Tell them how many minutes you want and how much you want to spend and they will have an idea of what will work best. shop around and don’t buy from anyone who pressures you or is not clear about ALL the fees. Plan on adding about $3-5 dollars to the cost of your plan for fees and taxes.
In my experience, pre-paid plans are not a good way to go. We usually reserved them for people with bad credit who didn’t qualify for a regular plan (this may be different in other states). The price per minute is crazy and if you don’t use them, you lose them. Plus the added inconvenience of having to buy minutes every month. There are enough plans out there that you should be able to find one.
Sorry, this went on for a while, hope it helps.