Sorry to hear you lost your job ;(.
Using an unlocked smartphone would be a viable option for you if wifi is what you want to use for data. T-Mobile will be more lenient in this regard if you wanted to use their network. ATT a little less so, depending on what phones you had in mind.
Search for my recent post on this topic where I give the run down on the Nokias that would work w/ ATT, etc.
I just lost my job last Thursday. My phone was their phone, so I don't have a phone.