Follow CentsToShare on Twitter! Follow CentsToShare on Facebook! Follow CentsToShare's Feed!

I Don’t Have A Cell Phone

by Jonathan on December 15, 2011 · 8 comments

I Don't Have A Cell PhoneThere comes a time in your life when you know that you need to take certain steps to eliminate the waste in your life. I reached one of these times several months ago, actually, when it hit me that I was wasting a lot of money on my cell phone bill every month. So I got rid of it! Yes, it’s entirely possible to live without a cell phone. It was done for thousands of years and is still done by many. Let me tell you why I don’t have a cell phone…

I can’t think of anything else that I have procrastinated so much as getting the gumption to actually get rid of my cell. I’ve been meaning to do it for at least a year, but only just did it back in September! I’m not sure why it took me so long other than I couldn’t force myself to pay the stupid cancellation fees. As if cell phone companies don’t get enough out of their customers, with $100+ bills, but they make one last grab at you if you decide to take matters into your own hands.

I Don’t Have A Cell Phone…Because Everyone Else Has One

I am not the kind of person who likes to fit into a crowd and blend in. I don’t really enjoy standing out either, which doesn’t make sense. I like to do my own thing behind the scenes and be different in my own little way. I felt stupid for getting a cell phone back when I got it, because I knew it was the ‘hot new thing’. I absolutely hate fads and do not get into them. I get so annoyed when I see anything related to vampires or Twilight it’s not even funny.

I got it mainly for the security it offered when you are away from home. This reason doesn’t really matter anymore though, mainly because cells phones are SO pervasive. If you break down or get into a wreck, just use someone else’s phone! It’s that simple. Maybe you could even walk to the nearest farmhouse if you are in the middle of no where.

I Don’t Have A Cell Phone…Because It’s Cheaper To Live Without It

This was one of the bigger catalyst’s for getting rid of my cell. I cannot justify paying so much for something…considering I didn’t even use it to it’s full potential! I can’t remember the last time I used all my minutes, and I certainly didn’t browse the web on it. That was a horrible experience and is best left for computers.

Let’s run some numbers, though, just to show you how much a cell phone will cost you.

My bill was about $120 a month for a smart phone with unlimited data and a second normal line for my wife’s phone. If you make $3600 a month after taxes, this may seem like a small amount to pay for such a luxury. It’s only 3% of your income! Not that bad.

Let’s put it the other way. How much does this cost you per year? Well, 120 X 12 = $1,440 over the course of a year! That’s a decent amount of money. Imagine have that much extra money every year. What would you do with $1,440?

Now the real shocker comes when you think about how much money you could save for retirement if you didn’t have a cell phone for your entire working career. Let’s say you work for 40 years and are saving $1,440 bucks a year. 1440 X 40 = $57,600 over the course of a lifetime!! Want that sports car when you retire? Just get rid of that cell phone right now!

I Don’t Have A Cell Phone…Because There Are Better Alternatives

Now I know, there are going to be people pointing out that money isn’t everything and that having a cell phone is very handy. Some may even say that it’s about the only way to stay in touch with anyone in real time. Combining the money savings, with the alternatives that are available to cells, makes for no-brainer decision, at least for me, to get rid of a cell phone. If you are looking for something that gives you a much better, cheaper calling experience, look no further than Skype.

Skype gives you the following for a mere 30 bucks per year.

- Unlimited calling to all cell phones and landlines in the US, Canada, and Mexico. Yes, unlimited. As in NO MONTHLY LIMIT. For $2.50 a month! How can you pass that up?

- Call from any computer anywhere. You may not be able to call while you are out on the road, and shouldn’t be anyway, but what place doesn’t have wi-fi nowadays? What house doesn’t have the internet?

For another 30 bucks a year, you get a phone number and voice mail so other people can call you as well. I have had both of these services for the past 3 months and absolutely love it. I paid $60 dollars for the whole year, which is the equivalent of $5 a month! I highly recommend Skype to anyone looking for a better alternative to cell phones or even land lines.

For those of you who want mobility, look no further than TracPhone (or other prepaid phones). Not only do they work just as well as normal cell phones, they are always cheaper. TracPhone even lets you roll your minutes over each activation period.

Basically, the way it works, is that you pay for a certain length of service and purchase a certain number of minutes to use during that time frame. Prices are very reasonable. We paid about $200 bucks for 2 TracPhones, over a year of service on both of them and well over 1000 minutes per phone. That’s about 8-9 bucks a month per phone! Certainly a lot better than a cell phone if you don’t use that many minutes. And if you do…just get Skype. :)

So we get mobility in the TracPhone and essentially unlimited calling with Skype, all for about $12 a month! I’d say that’s a winner over a cell phone plan any day.

I Don’t Have A Cell Phone…Because I Don’t Want To Be Reached All The Time

Back when I had a cell phone, I had a tendency to just carry it with me everywhere I went, just for the sake of carrying it and feeling connected. I personally think this is a dangerous mentality to get into because it makes you very dependent on something that is very transparent. Meeting with friends in person is much better than just texting or being on facebook. Maybe you do both, in which case I am happy about that. If you find yourself perpetually connected, yet feeling lonely all the time, it’s time to break the electronic bonds and meet people in person.

There are also times when I just want to say to heck with the world…I want to be alone! With a cell phone, it’s much harder to leave it in the other room or turn it off. I actually tried turning my phone off for a whole day a few days before getting rid of it, and it felt very strange….almost unnatural. Today, I go most of the day without having my TracPhone on me and it’s very refreshing.

Again, you could just keep the cell and turn it off…but then you are paying for something you don’t use.

I Don’t Have A Cell Phone…Because It Tracks Everything You Do

Call me paranoid or old fashioned, but I don’t exactly enjoy being actively tracked at all times by computers. I realize there is no one sitting at a computer, watching me in real time (or maybe there is…), but just the fact that it’s being done and has been mandated by the federal government makes me a little wary. The Telecommunications Act of 1996 actually mandates that every cell phone sold in the US be installed with backdoor systems that allow certain agencies to get into your phone….even when it is off. No joke. The reasoning for this is probably something akin to monitoring terrorists or something. Sounds like 1984 to me.

To top it off, it turns out that there is even software installed on nearly every single smart phone out there called Carrier IQ that logs EVERYTHING you do. I mean everything. It logs each keystroke, every text message, every phone call and all data associated with it. But also get this…it turns out that law enforcement is keeping that data for itself. The FBI apparently has information from Carrier IQ databases and is not about to release it when hit with a FOIA request. Not only does this make me uneasy, it gets me to question just how much we are told about the things that are most pervasive in our lives.

 

While getting rid of your cell phone may not be for everyone, for me it was a clear choice. I have absolutely no reason to  have one and am a little angry at myself for even getting it in the first place. Just because everyone is doing something, doesn’t make it the best practice. Just look at the credit card industry if you’d like some proof of that.

Enjoyed this article? You may enjoy these as well!

About the author

Jonathan wrote 103 articles on this blog.

Jonathan is the founder and primary writer at CentsToShare. He enjoys reading above all else, but also gardening, building, eating healthy food and being self-reliant. Living a happy, stress-free life is possible, but it must be sought after, and not taken for granted. If you like the site, please let me know in the comments or through email - centstoshare@gmail.com. Thanks!

{ 8 comments… read them below or add one }

Geoffrey @ It's WordPress December 15, 2011 at 11:49 am

I’ve considered a variant of this plan myself. Combine Google Voice (on laptop, smartphone sans traditional service, etc) and a mobile hotspot service. Using the data service of the hotspot tucked in my bag when out and about and the smartphone connected to it to perform all the normal functions (text, email, voice). Switch to work or home wifi when at the office or home, respectively, to conserve mobile hotspot bandwidth (if you’re on a limited plan).

Reply

Jonathan December 15, 2011 at 2:17 pm

I’ve thought of using Google Voice as well, but haven’t looked into pricing. Are they competitive to Skype at all?

Reply

Geoffrey Fortier @ It's WordPress December 15, 2011 at 5:38 pm

Google domestic US & Canada to US & Canada is free. International rates here: https://www.google.com/voice/rates

Reply

Chambulayla December 15, 2011 at 12:57 pm

I’ve used the Grand Central (Google Voice)/Skype/TracFone combo for years. When away from home and a community hotspot, I use the TracFone (buy a double-minutes-for-life phone then buy the 1500 minute package to get an immediate 3000 minutes). When in a hotspot, to save TracFone minutes, I use a portable Belkin Skype phone (IPEVO S0-20 is better but very expensive and there are other alternatives at http://shop.skype.com/phones/), the size of a smartphone; so, I don’t even need a PC when at a hotspot.

Reply

Jonathan December 15, 2011 at 2:19 pm

Hi Chambulayla, thanks for the comment!

I am really liking switching over to Skype/TracPhone, and I agree on getting the double minutes for life phone. That’s what we got, and it’s how we got over 1000 minutes each on our phones. After three months, we are still sitting well above 700 on each phone, since we use Skype for most calling.

Reply

Oren December 18, 2011 at 11:23 am

I love the idea, but I think it would be pretty hard to part with my cellphone. I have gotten rid of my landline, which saves us a bunch of money per year.

Reply

Jonathan December 18, 2011 at 3:52 pm

Hi Oren, thanks for the comment.

I thought this too a long while before I actually took the plunge. It took quite some time to actually build up enough ‘want’ to actually do it to, but it’s totally worth it in the end. :)

Reply

Ted February 2, 2012 at 10:31 pm

When weighing pros vs. cons I see mostly cons. I own a cell phone for emergency 911 use only (free, no plan required). I’ve had it a few years and have never used it–I never remember to bring it in the car. I can be reached through email or landline. If I’m driving I shouldn’t be talking on the phone. (The driver talking on her cell phone who hit me on my bicycle should’ve known this. I see more idiots driving at night with lights off, too. Hmm, what could be distracting them?) Those who feel burdened that they can’t reach me 24/7 need to get over yourselves. Your need for instant gratification does not obligate me to always be available. My boundaries did not disappear when you bought your latest iToy or Crackberry. Now, let’s talk about the problems on the cell user’s end. How many times have my calls with a cell user been dropped? How many times has the cell user rudely ignored me because his attention was drawn elsewhere…like to driving their car? How many times have I watched someone texting while ignoring the person they’re with and/or disturbing others around them (dark theater)? (Legislators, PLEASE outlaw all cell phone use while driving! These idiots are too stupid or self-absorbed to put the phone down and save themselves or others. Driving while texting is like pointing a loaded weapon with eyes closed.) As for being reachable, how many times have I called someone’s cell only to get voicemail? There was a time long ago when people got cell phones in order to be reachable at all times. Ironically, now they are reachable even less. Now it’s “I’m not here, leave a message” or the implied “I don’t want to talk to you but I’ll text you.”

Reply

Leave a Comment

Previous post:

Next post: