My husband and I own a cell phone, but we rarely use it Like we may send/receive 20 texts a week and on rare occasion actually use it to call someone. And most of the time the cell phone just sits at home or in my purse. We rarely check it. We really only have it for emergency purposes (like for times when your husband may get into a car accident…). And we only have one cell phone between the two of us.
And I love it that way.
Our primary phone is a land-line home phone, complete with unlimited local and long-distant calling, for only $35 a month.
Do you know how much cell phone companies charge for basic individual cell phone plans? Let’s take a look:
$59.99/month unlimited talk/text
$29.99/month for 200 minutes
$39.99/month for 450 minutes
$59.99/month for 900 minutes
$49.99/month for 450 minutes and unlimited texting
$69.99/month for 900 minutes and unlimited texting
$39.99/month for 450 minutes (with 5000 night and weekend minutes)
$59.99/month for 900 minutes and unlimited night and weekend minutes
$69.99/month for unlimited talk
$39.99/month for 450 minutes
$59.99/month for 900 minutes
$69.99/month for unlimited minutes
Some of these companies offer free night and weekend minutes, but rarely do Josh and I make a phone call past 9PM (or even 7PM). Most (like 90%) of our phone calls are done during the day.
Did you know 200 minutes = 3 hours and 20 minutes? 450 minutes = 7.5 hours? 900 minutes = 15 hours? Some months we spend a lot of time on the phone calling various companies where we get placed on hold for a very long time. Repeatedly. And sometimes we like having long conversations with our parents or siblings or old college friends, talking for well over 7.5 (and maybe even 15) hours each month on our phone.
With no worrying about going over minutes, we never have to worry about being on hold for 30 minutes, or what time we make a call, or for how long we can chat it up. We will only be charged $35 each month for unlimited calling. It’s awesome. Plus, we have two phones, one upstairs and one down, so we can always easily reach the phone and know where it is (unless we misplace it of course, but then we can just use the “FIND” button on the base). We can even use the phones as intercoms and talk to each on the different levels of our house (okay, we’ve only done that like once, but still a cool option).
The cell phone we have, we don’t actually pay for since we utilize some government programs. And it’s the perfect for us because otherwise we wouldn’t have a cell phone at all; in fact, we went an entire year without a single cell phone a year ago. We’ve tried the pay-as-you-go phone route, but haven’t really enjoyed that since you have to keep buying cards to keep your phone active, which we would forget to do, causing us to have to buy another phone to start new service. It was more expensive than it was worth to us.
Advantages of having a land-line phone as your primary phone:
1. You never have to remember to charge it or to bring a charger with you.
2. Home phones don’t (often) get dropped in toilets, fall out of your pocket, left in the rain, or otherwise broken and destroyed like cell phones are.
3. You don’t have to worry about butt dialing anyone (though maybe kid dialing).
4. You don’t worry about if the other person can hear you (though our phone provider isn’t awesome).
5. One less thing to remember as you walk out the door.
6. You can ignore phone calls easier since you may not even be around to hear the phone ring.
7. The speakerphone option is loud enough to actually hear the other person and be heard back, because you can actually put your phone upright.
8. The “find” button on the base makes it so you can always find your phone.
9. Multiple phones in one house means you can (almost) always reach the phone in time.
10. Companies can’t send you annoying advertising texts.
11. No surprises on my phone bill.
12. Can’t be reached every second of every day.
13. No fear of car accidents because of texting (or calling) while driving, the cause of my husband’s accident last November.
The real advantage of not using a cell phone very often
The real advantage of not using a cell phone very often is the time I save not checking my phone every ten minutes, half hour, or hour. It’s the amount of time I actually spend engaged with my children rather than texting a friend, or playing a game on my phone. It’s the freedom I feel not being chained to a gadget that’s always with me, begging me to look at, to text someone, or (if a smart phone) check my email or social networking sites.
I already use my computer and internet perhaps more than I should, but my computer is a desktop that is upstairs, in a small, hot room. It doesn’t travel with me as I do other things during the day. I have to go up the stairs. And that’s a good thing. I should be spending time engaging my twin two-year olds. I should be playing and teaching them, not worrying about what my friends in other states think about the latest movies or trends or news articles.
Sure, technology is an awesome tool. Absolutely. I love the internet! I love social network sites, blogging, reading news articles, getting directions, shopping online, finding out information, doing genealogy research, and so so much more. It’s awesome. But, when we become more concerned about what is going on outside of our sphere of influence, outside of our family, outside of our home than in, we have a problem. We have lost sight of the big picture, of what really matters in life.
And I want to keep the big picture foremost in my life. I want to be a great wife and mother, a great homemaker, a great person, a great Christian. I want to make sure my children and husband and my God feel my love for them more than they feel my love for technology. And the amount of time we spend doing different things sure does speak volumes about what we value in our lives.
I write this because I am all too often guilty of spending my evenings in front of the computer doing various things, sometimes even good things, like Family History research, or meal planning, or paying bills. But, even good things need to moderated. And it feels good to unplug sometimes; to disconnect from the world and revel in the ordinary happenings all around us in our small home and community.
I think it’s sad that when I go to a waiting room of some kind, everyone ignores each other and stares at a small screen. That when I go to a park, adults sit on the bench and stare at a small screen instead of at their small child. That when I go to the grocery store young kids sit in the cart staring at a small screen. That when friends go out to eat together they spend their time staring at small screens instead of talking to each other.
I survived high school without a cell phone even though involved in different activities and driving a car. And when I got my first cell phone (my freshman year of college) I paid for it completely myself.
Yes, I am extremely frugal, and yes, we don’t have a lot of money, so yes, perhaps if cell phones and their plans were cheaper, or if we had more income, I wouldn’t be writing a post like this. But, the idea is not so much that cell phones are lame, but that it is lame that people feel they need their cell phones, that they wouldn’t survive without it, that they wouldn’t know what to do without it near them at all times. It is lame that we get distracted by little things that don’t matter in the long-run.
And that is why I write this post, as a reminder to myself and my friends, that it’s good to unplug, not every once in a while, but often, or to at least come up with a good self-moderating system to keep your true needs and goals in their proper place in your life.