Pre-paid plans are becoming a more-and-more viable option these days, especially if carriers continue to make improvements like Verizon has just done with the introduction of their new "ALLSET PLANS" (no more all-caps from here on out, mkay). These new plans start at $35-a-month for basic phones, but if you're smart and opt for a smartphone, it starts at a mere $45-a-month.
That low Allset plan price includes unlimited 'Anytime Minutes' calls and unlimited messaging (including international messaging to Canada, Mexico, and Puerto Rico). The base plan offers a measly 500MB data allotment each month, though thanks to the magic of pre-pay you can get more as you need it. An extra 500MB is $5, and that's good for 30 days, while you can get 1GB for $10 and 3GB for $20 — both with a 90-day expiration.
Verizon has a handful of smartphones available for purchase for use on the Allset plans, including the iPhone 4 for $99.99, iPhone 4s at $199.99, the Moto G for $99.99, and a few other low-end Android phones. If you have your own off-contract Verizon phone, you can bring it onto an Allset plan as well.