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I Don’t Have A Cell Phone

by owl 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.

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About the author

owl wrote 91 articles on this blog.

Owl 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 - Thanks!

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