The Cell Phone Challenge Update

Two years and two months ago, I gave up my cell phone cold turkey. Our life was changing and we needed to tighten the purse strings. We felt the cell phone really was a luxury and something that would save us $1000 a year by turning off.

I have to admit, I was a cell phone girl. As an early adopter of the hand held cell phone, I got my first cell phone in 1997 while living in the city. I was first of my friends to have one. I always had the latest and greatest technology and was never seen anywhere without it right by my side.

Then on February 10th 2010, I just turned it off. I challenged myself to take two months off from my cell phone to see if I could live without it. The first two weeks were hard. I found myself reaching for it, or thinking, gosh, I need to plug it in. It was a tough two weeks, but, guess what? Not only did I learn to live without it, I actually enjoyed not having. I enjoyed not being so available. I really enjoyed living in the moment and not being so distracted. Already, two years have gone by and I haven’t looked back, until lately.

It’s only been two years, but technology has gone nuts. When I gave up my cell phone, smart phones were just starting to hit the market strong. I had the latest blackberry, but there were no touch screens except the iPhone. Apps were starting but now there is an app for everything.

So it brings me to where I am now. I feel like I am missing something. Everyone seems so cool being able to reach into their purse and have all the power of the internet. To check their facebook status, take simply amazing pictures and have them automatically processed, scan QR codes to get the latest deals and information instantly in the palm of their hands. It’s amazing really.

My husband and I have always been “techies” and have always been ahead on technology, so why is it different with a cell phone? Of course everyone says we should have one for an emergency. That is true, maybe a “pay as you go” option would be good for us. But I have to admit, I kinda want all those cool apps and sleek touch screen. We hem and haw about it at least once a month and seem to come to the same conclusion. With all the glitz and glamour, it is still something we can live without. The challenge worked, and we save $1k a year.

What do you think about your cell phone? Do you have one? Could you live without yours?

16 thoughts on “The Cell Phone Challenge Update

  1. April 24, 2012 at 9:23 am

    You certainly put the costs in perspective: $1000 a year is a *lot* when you think of it that way. But then again, if you don’t have a land line, it kind of makes sense. (Since my husband and I have been together, we’ve never had a land line.)

    I’m not a big phone person. I have an Android, but I don’t use it like most people would. Maybe I’m old fashioned? Occasionally when we’re camping or on the road, I use it to read and respond to emails, but that’s about it.

    I admire the fact that you’ve gone 2 years without a cellphone in a society that can hardly pry its face away from cellphones. That is something to be proud of!

  2. April 25, 2012 at 8:23 am

    Thank you Danielle!

  3. April 24, 2012 at 11:14 am

    I’m a mini-slave to it. I like to facebook, post instant pictures, and play games while I’m sitting waiting for something. But, the best thing I like – is not answering a call. It feels liberating. I, too, know so many people who wouldn’t DREAM of not answering. I love to decide when I answer and when I don’t.

  4. April 25, 2012 at 8:24 am

    You are good about not answering- I become obsessed, but you know me. :)

  5. April 24, 2012 at 11:32 am

    You are amazing for giving it up for over two years! I think very few people would be willing to do that. Even when they know how much they’d save. I would gladly give up my phone and have thought seriously about it. But, Steve has to have one for work and his line is the one that’s expensive. My line is only an additional $10 a month (I have absolutely no bells or whistles) so whatever we would save, we would spend on having a landline (which we currently don’t have).

  6. April 25, 2012 at 8:24 am

    Thanks C – I would consider it too for $10/month, what a great plan!

  7. April 24, 2012 at 3:03 pm

    I just got my first cell phone 2 weeks ago because of my children. I have a land line and since I am usually home this has been fine. When I am out and about I am usually with someone who has a cell phone so really there has never been any need for me to have one. Besides, I have always found it to be extremely rude to be at the market and I can’t get down an isle because some is blocking it and talking loudly on a phone…drives me nuts! Now there is texting, something my children love to do and they were very concerned that I couldn’t receive texts from them…enter the cell phone. Really, I could do without and wish these phones had never been invented.

  8. April 25, 2012 at 8:27 am

    I hear you T- I have a lot of friends who only text. I feel so much less connected to them these days because of that. :( Texting is a large consideration on the “pro” side. But like you, I too get annoyed when I see people ignore what is going on around them to have very loud conversations about nothing.

  9. April 24, 2012 at 7:13 pm

    Good for you! Hubby and I share a plan and I was fortunate to get a nice discount from my employer for our provider. I have to say though we do not have a land line and we both have generic phones ….. I refuse to join in the smart phone generation and be a slave to it!

  10. April 25, 2012 at 8:29 am

    Thanks T- I use to get a discount on my old phone from my old company. It did make it easier. A generic phone may be in my future – but I am bucking it so.

  11. April 24, 2012 at 11:15 pm

    I have never had a cell, and am in a bit of a battle right now. Hubby wants me to get one, but I am resisting with every ounce of stubbornness I can muster (I’m pretty stubborn)! I have had moments lately though, where I felt having a phone in my glove box wouldn’t be such a bad idea. When you’re on the go with little ones it can be a comfort to know a phone is available. Then I think maybe a pay-as-you-go phone would be a good idea, but then…Well, if I’m going to get one I should GET one right? I’m thinking iPhone, all the fun photo apps, internet access… ;)
    I’ll probably just think on it forever, and continue on my cell phone free path – I like it here.

  12. April 25, 2012 at 8:30 am

    Ah, J- So you know EXACTLY what we are going through in this house too eh? The iPhone is so pretty, isn’t it?

  13. Trish
    April 26, 2012 at 9:29 pm

    I’m your Mom’s friend and love seeing pictures especially of your beautiful boy (and her beautiful grandchild). I don’t own and have never owned a cell phone. And yes, we did break down on the highway and someone stopped and helped us and we were fine. I have raised three kids without having a cell phone. We only hired babysitters whom we trusted. There was actually a small tornado once when we were out for the day. The sitter kept our son very safe and we found out about it when we got home. I feel very insulted when I’m out with a friend or family member and they spend all sorts of time talking on the phone to someone else!

  14. April 27, 2012 at 2:22 pm

    Good for you! I am also not a cell phone fan, though I do have a pay as you go plan from T-Mobile, which is cheap and reliable. It gives me an emergency phone and I do use it occasionally to call my husband. But I don’t even really give my number out to people, so I only rarely get calls on it. I have never had more phone than this and haven’t ever felt the need for more.

  15. April 30, 2012 at 9:11 pm

    I have a pay as a you go plan AND an iphone and I’ll let you in on a little secret that has saved me thousands….AT&T won’t “officially”support pay as you go on an iphone but if you buy one refurbished online, they will allow you to activate it, so you can get all the fun extra features and only pay per minute. Of course if you want data or text package plans you can get it too. Mine costs 25 dollars a month for everything, well worth it :)

  16. May 1, 2012 at 1:59 pm

    Great recommendation Keri. Thanks.

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