Forget Verizon vs. AT&T: Why I Won't Get a Smartphone

Syndicated

Over the 2.5 year course of my blogging career, a lot of people have asked about about how I handle cell phone costs, so I'm here to deliver an answer!

This is my cell phone.

I think it cost $20 (it might have even been free after a rebate), and the only service it has is pre-paid minutes from T-Mobile.

My phone doesn't text or have Internet. It doesn't take pictures (I have a few other devices that take care of that pretty well!) or video. It doesn't have a touch screen. I don't even think it has any games on it.

Know what else my phone doesn't have?

A contract.

A monthly bill.

But you know what it does have?

The ability to take and receive calls.

Which is, after all, what a phone is supposed to do.

I know this sort of cell phone plan wouldn't work for a lot of people, but for me, it does. I hardly ever use my cell phone, so my pre-paid minutes last me forever. I keep mine turned off most of the time and only turn it on when I need to use it (like when I am out and Mr. FG is at home with the kids and I need to ask him a question).

I'm home most of the time, so my home phone is available to me, and if I'm out and about, I figure that it is not the end of the world if someone has to wait a few hours to get a hold of me. People used to manage with nothing but a home phone (and before that, with no phone!), so I figure that I do not need to be available at the touch of a button all the time.

My cell phone costs me less than $100/year in prepaid minutes, so I'm paying about $8/month for my cell phone. This is definitely cheaper than any cell phone contract I could ever hope to have.

But frugality is not the only reason I have resisted the upgrade to a smartphone.

No, the main reason I don't want a smartphone is that I don't think I could handle the temptation. I have enough trouble resisting the call of the computer and the laptop, and if I had the Internet available to me at all times, I think I would use it way too much.

I don't want to become one of those people who is attached at the hip to their phone.

I don't want to be walking down the sidewalk, texting away.

I don't want to be sitting at the dinner table, checking my email.

I don't want to be at the park with my kids, reading my Facebook feed.

I don't want to be one of those people who is busy texting while you're trying to talk to me in person (I hate that so much!).

I don't want to be one of those people who is always answering the phone or glancing at the phone in the midst of a real-life conversation.

I don't want to be insanely engaged with people through my phone, but disengaged with people in real life.

When I am not doing a computer-related task, I want to be present, not just in body, but in mind too. And I don't think I'd have the self-control to do that if I had a SmartPhone.

Because of that, even if I could get rid of my home phone and save money by just having a cell phone (that's not the case at this point in time), I don't think I would. I'm pretty sure that my quality of life would suffer instead of being improved, and I'm very certain that my mothering and wifing would take a hit.

So.

That's how I do (and don't do) cell phones. I know that cell phones and SmartPhones are helpful or even necessary for some people, and I know that some people do use them responsibly, but I know myself well enough to know that a fancy-schmancy cell phone is not a wise choice for me.

What about you? Can you handle a SmartPhone responsibly, without letting it take over your life?

Kristen writes about cheerfully living on less at The Frugal Girl. She's a photography and baking nut, and a happy wife (of one) and mom (of four).

Comments

In order to comment on BlogHer.com, you'll need to be logged in. You'll be given the option to log in or create an account when you publish your comment. If you do not log in or create an account, your comment will not be displayed.