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Going cell phone free?

post #1 of 43
Thread Starter 
Is there anyone on this board that DOESN'T have a cell phone?

Our budget is really tight right now, and i'm trying to make a little wiggle room for us (i did save almost $30 on my electric bill last month! YAY!). Anyway, we just signed up for a t-mobile contract...it's 2 years...it freaks me out. I have 1 more day to cancel it without paying ANY penalties...and i think i'm going to.

For $85/mo we only get 400 *shared* minutes, and 400 texts each. The upside is we each get to call 5 people for free and since we really don't talk to that many people, it covers us okay...

The thing is...$85 is a lot to lock yourself into for the next 2 years. For us, anyway. And there is no going down lower than that. It's as low as we can go.

I was thinking of getting a cricket phone, but i've been reading horror stories online about mysterious charges and horrid customer service...

All other phones seem to have a 2 year contract with not a whole lotta minutes/texting (i'm a text-a-holic, lol).

So i'm thinking of switching to a landline only. Right now we pay about $145 for phones/net. I can't go down to the cheapest 'net because it's our "free" entertainment (we watch tv/movies online since we don't have cable...plus i do online school).

If we go through qwest it would be approx. $85 or less for a landline with unlimited long distance (we're in oregon and my family/friends are all an hour or more away, and his fam. is all in wisconsin, tennesse, california...so we need the long distance) plus the internet service is still decent (according to the site) for downloading shows and movies and whatnot.

That would save us $60/mo.

But i'm soooo nervous about not having a cell phone! What if i go into labor and he's at the store or somewhere i can't get ahold of him? Ah!

Should we get ONE cricket phone for $30/mo that way when one of us is gone we can get ahold of the other one? Yanno - just share the phone? That would still save us $30 a month...which is better than nothing.

Help?

PS. sorry this is so boring, unorganized and long. I'm totally scatterbrained and stressed lately.
post #2 of 43
When my contract expires I plan to get a pay-as-you-go and only use it when absolutely necessary. I can't see being without a cell, especially because ds is in daycare, but I'm starting to lean towards the idea that most conversations could take place at home or on a landline.
post #3 of 43
I have a tracfone and I love it. It's pay as you go, I load minutes about every 3 months, and it lasts me that long. It's costing me about $150 for a whole year. No frills at all, it's just for phone calls, but it's exactly what I need. I'd back out of a contract, and go prepaid. We found a phone on Walmart.com that came with double minutes for life, so every 90 days I just add the minimum minutes but they double, and I'm all set for a while.

We were in a contract that had us paying abotu $85 a month for 2 phones, but we were only using about 80 minutes a month combined, so we were paying over a dollar a minute. With the tracfone and the double minutes for life we're paying about 12 cents a minute and are in control of how many to buy at a time.


http://www.tracfone.com/airtimedeals/

Oooh, I was just poking around cause I have to add time soon, and found I'm going to be able to get a year of service and 800 minutes (because of the double minutes for life) for $100. that's $8.33 a month, averaging 67 minutes a month, at 12 cents a minute. Nice.
post #4 of 43
Thread Starter 
Yeah, i'm thinking as soon as DP gets home we're gonna talk about this. I think one cell phone is a must if we are out and have an emergency or something...but prepaid would be ideal - we just wont give the number to everyone, lol!

I'm a homemaker, and i don't drive...so i'm home most of the day, everyday, anyway - and when he makes phone calls it's typically from home as well. Yeah - i think a land line might better suit us. And a prepaid phone would def. make me feel more comfortable about the whole thing!
post #5 of 43
We also watch TV online. Can you get stand alone high speed internet?

If you can, it's probably worth doing, because then you can get VOIP- there's a bunch to choose from. Via Talk, Skype, and magic Jack are the cheapest that I've seen- anywhere from $100 for five years to $200 for two years. That includes all long distance, call ID, etc. You have to buy equipment to make these work- but that's usually $60-$80, not a huge investment, recouped within a month or two.

We have done this, and DH and I each have TracFones. Because you pay per minute, I have found that you are only inclined to use it if/when neccesary. Net 10 is a good one, too.

We spend $30 a month on high speed internet and magicJack service, and probably another $20 or so on minutes for our phones. No contracts of any kind- we are free agents in the event that something drastic happens to our financial situation. And, honestly, $50 a month is not that much to pay, IMHO, for home phone, internet, and two cell phones.
post #6 of 43

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Edited by elsa_elsa - 6/8/11 at 5:18pm
post #7 of 43
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by The4OfUs View Post
I have a tracfone and I love it. It's pay as you go, I load minutes about every 3 months, and it lasts me that long. It's costing me about $150 for a whole year. No frills at all, it's just for phone calls, but it's exactly what I need. I'd back out of a contract, and go prepaid. We found a phone on Walmart.com that came with double minutes for life, so every 90 days I just add the minimum minutes but they double, and I'm all set for a while.

We were in a contract that had us paying abotu $85 a month for 2 phones, but we were only using about 80 minutes a month combined, so we were paying over a dollar a minute. With the tracfone and the double minutes for life we're paying about 12 cents a minute and are in control of how many to buy at a time.


http://www.tracfone.com/airtimedeals/

Oooh, I was just poking around cause I have to add time soon, and found I'm going to be able to get a year of service and 800 minutes (because of the double minutes for life) for $100. that's $8.33 a month, averaging 67 minutes a month, at 12 cents a minute. Nice.

So does double minutes for life mean anytime you buy minutes you really get double? Haha, i guess i'm a skeptic. I'm checking out walmart.com right now...i see one that says unlimited double minutes - how does it work? If i buy a 400 min/1 year phone card do i really get 800 minutes? How do they know when i activate it?

Can you text? How many minutes does it use up or how does it work?

TIA!
post #8 of 43
I bought my first cell phone ever last year and I bought a tracfone and cards. Was quite effective in giving me a feeling of security and it was very cost effective. If you cancel your contract and try it, you can almost certainly get a similar contract (or better!) if the pre-paid doesn't work out. I never had any problems with the tracfone (although it wasn't pretty!). I recently got a contract with a free phone because my circumstances changed. I would say give the pre-paid a try at least. Hey, if you lived in my area I would give you mine... I don't know if you can text, though.
post #9 of 43
Neither of us have cell phones. I had a virgin mobile for a while, but never used it, so I got rid of it.

We've never felt the need for them, nor have I missed them in my life. Some people say they have them for emergencies, but I've never needed one in such situations. Even with flat tires, and my car running out of gas. I managed fine. Plus, those virgin mobile phones are $20.00 every 3 months. So, that's good for emergencies.

Otherwise, yea, no cell phones here, and have never noticed the lack.
post #10 of 43
Look into the pay as you go plans.

I had a tracfone and was very happy with it. I rarely used it but did have it for emergencies. I am out and about a lot and like to know the school can find me or if I am riding my horse I want a phone attached just in case. Over the course of the couple of years I had it I saved quite a bit over a regular cell phone with monthly fees. I have no need to text or anything else.

My DH has to have a cell phone for work. Presently it is cheaper for me to have a phone on his plan then for me to do my own thing. Otherwise I would go back to a pay as you go plan.
post #11 of 43

More Customers Give Up the Cellphone Contract

http://www.nytimes.com/2009/02/21/te...er=rss&emc=rss

Read this.
post #12 of 43
Just chiming in as another person who has never had a cell phone. It's kind of funny how things that didn't exist 20 or so years ago are now seen as a necessity. Although I guess a century ago people were saying that about electricity in houses.

I do think that it would be convenient to be able to make a phone call from absolutely anywhere (and do you know how rare pay phones are these days?), but I've never felt like I had to have a cell phone. And I'm much happier with the money that would have gone to the monthly bill in my bank account.
post #13 of 43
Quote:
Originally Posted by beansmama View Post
So does double minutes for life mean anytime you buy minutes you really get double? Haha, i guess i'm a skeptic. I'm checking out walmart.com right now...i see one that says unlimited double minutes - how does it work? If i buy a 400 min/1 year phone card do i really get 800 minutes? How do they know when i activate it?

Can you text? How many minutes does it use up or how does it work?

TIA!
Yep, whenever I buy minutes, when it shows up on my phone it pops up as double the amount of the airtime card. I guess somehow it's programmed into the phones serial number or something. When you buy airtime online, the first thing you do is enter the phone's serial number, then you pick your minutes, and pay, and when it adds on it's doubled...so it's got to be something that is programmed into those specific serial numbers (which is easily accessible from your phone menu). I was skeptical the first time too and had my container/paperwork/receipt for the phone purchase, and their customer service number in hand and was prepared to be very firm with someone about getting all the minutes I was entitled to in case it didn't show up correctly . But they did. DH has had a couple times where he bought minutes and they didn't show up at all, but he just had to call customer service and have them give him a series of numbers to program in (they walked him through the whole thins) and then the numbers and new expiration date showed up - took about 5 min to get corrected...just have to be sure to save your confirmation numbers and receipts, which we do anyway. Oh, and the minutes roll over, too.

You can text, I forget how many minutes each message takes, but each text takes up more than 1 minute (unit), I do remember that. We're not texters, so it doesn't figure in for us. But I know I can send and receive them if I wanted to, with the model phone I have. The phone info on the package would probably tell you if it's text ready....yeah, like this one is: http://www.walmart.com/catalog/produ...ct_id=10714717
That's a double minutes for life, and is text capable. I'd probably call their customer service and ask how much texting uses up before I bought one, if you guys text a lot.

I think they have a feature on the website where you can enter in zip codes to be sure you have coverage in your area, but we've had coverage everywhere we've gone in state and actually had better coverage than we did when we were with Verizon or Cingular.

I swear I don't work for tracfone... It's just exactly what we were looking for, and that doesn't happen often as such a great deal, KWIM?
post #14 of 43
We gave up our cell phones several months ago. I figured we had lots of other places I'd rather spend that $80!! We now do a pay-as-you-go, when we feel like we can/want to afford it. I think it's like $25 for 3 months. The only reason we still have a cell at all is to keep in the car in case of emergencies.
post #15 of 43
Never had one. My husband has one through his work that he has to carry, but it is free to him. He hates it.

I have Qwest, you can get a landline, unlimited long distance AND DSL internet service for $85. That is what I have and that is what it costs. I get bundle savings that way.

I never want a cell phone. The evidence coming out about brain and other cancers is compelling, even rather mainstream Dr. Oz (from Oprah) says the risk is probably real and he says he likes to switch his phone from one side to the other to get even exposure just in case. Seems like it'd be much safer to just kiss the phone goodbye.

I'm concerned about the environmental impact of these toxic little gadgets- toxic to our systems and the materials they use to produce them, plus people upgrade their phones constantly- where do the old ones go? It's not like they're going to compost into the ground or something.

I encourage you to disconnect form your cell phones, and then in time if you think you need one get a tracphone or something.

Good luck.
post #16 of 43
I didn't have a cell phone before December 2008 (yes, 3 months ago). And I still forget about it - I'm not used to one, nor do I really, really, really need one.
So mine's a pay-as-you-go phone.
AT&T I believe.
I don't even remember the number, only 3-4 people even have the number.
Hubby went and got it and the minutes/whatever (it had the cheapest phone) just before I did a 400 mile cross-state trip just me and the three kidlets during winter (crossing a scary mountain pass) since he had to stay home and work.
I rarely use it - I think the phone was $15, and in the last 3 months I've used something like $15 of calls/activations. I think I could supposedly send text messages, but I've already jumped off the tech bandwagon.

Anyway, it's on the same wavelength as our long-distance calling card - we basically pre-pay and go about our business and only need to "refill" once in a very blue moon. But I'm also not much of a phone person - email's easier with screaming children in the background, or I'll find people face-to-face or something.
post #17 of 43
I also have a tracfone. Its cheap pay as u go and i only use mine for emergencys or very important calls. I pay $100.00 or less a year for this phone with minimal use. In the last 4 months i have only paid $20.00 and still have quite alot of mins left.
post #18 of 43
We don't have them either. I had one for awhile while I was commuting long-distance, and I seriously never ever used it, so we got rid of it. Then recently my MIL got all worked up about her grandchildren not being safe, and bought one for me and paid the bill for us. Anyway, it sat around unused, and ultimately DH lost it, and MIL cancelled the plan, and we haven't missed it. Now, if somebody calls me, and I don't feel like talking, I can just not answer, and nobody gets bent out of shape because they just figure I'm not home. When I had a cell phone, everybody seemed to think I should be available all the time. I LIKE being unreachable.

I dunno. I agree how it's strange that things that didn't exist when my mom raised me have all of a sudden become essential. We live without a lot of the gadgets other people seem to have, and we do fine.
post #19 of 43
I'm so glad I ditched my cell. I had one for years and was convinced I needed it, but I decided to try life without one to save some money...that was 5 years ago and I've never missed it a bit.
Sure there's a couple times a year where it would be convenient to have one, but that, to me, doesn't justify the cost of owning one.

Besides the cost, I love not having to look for the damn thing! One less thing to keep track of
post #20 of 43
Quote:
Originally Posted by beansmama View Post
Is there anyone on this board that DOESN'T have a cell phone?
Me me! :

I don't have a cell phone - never have. I don't really see much need for one personally. It's a convenience thing in my mind - not a necessity.

Now my husband does have one that is paid for by work but he never uses it for personal calls and I can probably count on one hand the number of times I have called him on it in the past 3 years. I do like having the safety factor for long drives - but I often do long drives with the kids without the cell. Can you get a very cheap one and buy prepaid minutes to have just for safety reasons?

ETA $85 a month for 2 years is $2040 (assuming no taxes, extra fees, increases etc). IMO That's a big chunk of change for convenience.

And if you haven't tried already, I would also suggest calling your utilities. I got 15% knocked off our cable/internet and 10% off our home phone as well just by asking.

hth
Karen
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