Republic Wireless gets lots of press (like from MMM), which is well and good. But for those out there who just want a simple breakdown and instructions (like maybe one's parent(s)), here we go.
If you own a basic Verizon plan, no data, you are locked into a 24-month contract at around, say, $40/month. Your phone was free!!!!!!!!!! (so what? - that's like free needles). Your total cost of ownership for that phone/contract pair is $960.
If you own a Republic Wireless Moto G (linked above), you pay $149 up front, and can choose your plan. Say you stick with no data, and pay $10/month for unlimited talk and text. There are no contracts, so a 24-month period is only chosen for comparison. Your total cost of ownership is $389.
Add data ($30/mo for Verizon, $15/mo from Republic), and it just becomes more obvious ($1440 vs. $749).
So, mom, if you're convinced, click on the "Republic Wireless" link at the top and (as of today's website format) click on the green "Buy Now" button next to the Moto G ad. Add one to your cart (8GB version), go to checkout, enter your zip (see, yes, they have coverage where you live, my phone works when we visit), pick the $25/mo plan option, and go from there. They'll send it to you in a nice box ready to boot and use, you get the credit card set up for autopay, and you no longer have to think about phones - you'll just have one that works.
With Republic, there are no family phone arrangements with the potential for awkwardness as times change and users may move on. You get phones one at a time, and they are cheap. The service is good, the phones are reliable (if uninspired) Motorolas that will do what you want them to do. It's just a good product (as my past year with them has demonstrated to me).
You can get phone service cheaper than Republic. I'm not sure if you can get phone service better than Republic.
Love you Mom.
PS - If you are reading this and are addicted to iPhones, sorry. You can't use Republic. If you have a Verizon iPhone, I'm really, really, sorry - you can't take it with you when you leave them (and you still should leave them). But, even Verizon-locked phones get decent bids on ebay (we sold our old Droids for decent money). You will want to get an unlocked iPhone, and then go to one of the cheap GSM providers like AirVoice (the Mrs. uses them - satisfied, if not as slick as Republic). There are more competitors in the cheap-GSM-sim-card phone world, and I can't make a discriminating recommendation. Even a $700 unlocked iPhone plus $10/mo service (again, what Mrs. uses) beats the majors pretty fast.