The Cost of Keeping in Touch
As mobile phones rapidly replace the iconic landline that once graced every kitchen wall in America, their calling plans are also modifying the family budget. Here are a couple examples of family calling plans (most companies offer something similar) and how they work:

Sprint PCS
currently offers a family plan that allows 800 minutes to be shared between two phones each month for $70. Families may add up to three more lines for $10 a piece each month. This plan allows unlimited talking anywhere in the United States on nights and weekends and even kicks in a low cost-per-minute rate in case anyone uses more than their share of minutes.

offers a similar deal for families, allowing 850 minutes to be shared by two phones for $69 a month. Three more lines may be added for $10 each per month with a one-time $35 start-up fee. Additional minutes are 35 cents each.

Prepaid phones
, also called Pay-As-You-Go, donít require contracts and calling plans. These can be purchased in electronics stores such as Best Buy and Radio Shack for as little as $40, while high-tech features such as cameras are available on more expensive models. Calling time is purchased along with the phones or in neighborhood convenience stores. Users must call in to activate the minutes, which are priced competitively with other national calling plans.