Can you believe I’m the mom of a 5th grader? I can’t! Jacob was in 1st grade when I started Pretty Opinionated! Back then, I wasn’t even thinking about things like after-school activities, cell phones and letting him walk home from the bus stop. Now, at 10, he’s starting band practice and begging for a bit more independence.

Jake First Day 1

He also needs a cell phone. While I have one that I got for him last year for review that I did love, Jake just burns through minutes on it. I needed something that let him get in touch with me anytime, but that didn’t require a plan or reloading of minutes. Something like Scratch Wireless.

Text Free Anytime, Anywhere with Scratch Wireless

We received the Coolpad Arise from Scratch Wireless in exchange for an honest review.

When I first heard about Scratch Wireless, I thought it HAD to be too good to be true. Free texting anytime, anywhere? No strings? No plans? No contract, first-born child clause, Cinderella clause, hidden fees, hidden dragons, hidden combinations of buttons that cause demonic possession? Nope! Free. Texting. Anytime. Anywhere. Well, almost anywhere. It uses the Sprint Network, so as long as they have coverage, you have coverage.

Coolpad 2

That’s awesome, right? So now my son texts me every day when his bus is pulling into the development. This is FANTASTIC because his bus is notoriously late. Like LATE late. Up to an hour or more, depending on traffic, fights between kids, and fights between the bus driver and parents regarding the fights between kids. On the first day of school, it was supposed to arrive at 4. It got there at 5. Second day, it was about 35 minutes late. We’ve settled into a nice routine of just about 25-30 minutes late every day since, but that could change at any moment.

Then there’s the days that Jake will have band practice. The activity bus doesn’t really have a set schedule. It just depends on how many kids are taking the bus that day. I don’t want Jake down at his bus stop alone under any circumstances once the sun goes down. It’s not a happy place. I can’t even get my mail alone after dark without hyperventilating. The lake front is basically a swap meet for our not-so-friendly neighborhood pharmaceutical vendors (of the less than legal variety).

Free Calls Anytime You’re on Wi-Fi

Another great benefit of Scratch Wireless: you can make free voice calls anytime you’re on Wi-Fi. Considering we live in a highly connected world, that’s pretty much anytime you’re relaxing at home, get coffee, eat a burger, buy groceries or shop for shoes. The Coolpad, an Android-based smartphone,  is super smart. It searches out signals like a little mouse in search of cheese. When it finds an open signal, it connects for you. This is the magic of Wi-Fi First technology. Of course, you can also tell it the password to your home network so you can use that. Jake uses it to call his cousin from our house all the time, freeing up my phone and the house phone.

Low Cost Plans Right From Your Phone

So you’re going camping and you know you won’t have Wi-Fi for a few days. You’re concerned that you’ll break down and will need to call a tow truck. Sending a text to AAA just isn’t going to cut it. You just won’t feel comfortable unless you KNOW you can make a phone call. No problem. Buy a pass right from your phone, for as little as $1.99! It’s as easy as buying a song! I haven’t tried this yet because I really didn’t need to do it. Jake has everything he needs with the free text and Wi-Fi voice calls.

Scratch Wireless is absolutely perfect for parents who want to give their kids a cell phone and a way to get in touch with them, but don’t really want to deal with the added cost of a plan or adding minutes every month. It’s peace of mind without taking a piece of your budget beyond the initial purchase of the phone. As for that, the Coolpad Arise is just $99 through Scratch Wireless.

Head over to Scratch Wireless to learn more. Follow them on Twitter and Facebook to keep up with news.

How would the Scratch Wireless help you or your family stay connected? Do you have a college student who could use it in the dorms? A middle schooler in after-school activities? Tell me in the comments!