My $8.34 Cell Phone

In our quest to live below our means and be Happy With What We Have, we have given up several things that society says we need. You don’t have that? How do you get along with out that? Doesn’t everyone have that?!?

And in our frugal journey, one thing that we easily and often observe is how proud adults are of their toys. Especially their technical, digital toys.

We get a big kick out of commercials and their “my cell phone can do more than your cell phone” sales pitch. But what really makes us laugh is that it works! The more buttons the better… sign me up and take my money with you!

Our cell phone costs us $8.34 per month. We only have one cell phone, because we only need one cell phone. We prepay $100 once a year, and then we don’t have to think about it until the next year. We never run out of minutes – in fact, the last time I loaded our minutes we still had a whole year’s worth on there that roll over.

Obviously, we do not use our cell as our home phone. That wouldn’t work for us because…

  • I want a land line for when the electricity goes out. (Our power was out for the majority of 5 days last winter during an ice storm.)
  • We don’t get great cell reception where we live.
  • I want to know where the phone is if ever there is an emergency. (And I don’t want to deal with dead batteries.)
  • I want my children to always have access to the home phone and know where it is if they ever have to call 911.

Here’s the thing. What do you really need your cell phone to do? Actually, let’s talk about what I need my cell phone to do…

  • I need a sense of security when I’m driving alone (or we are driving) with the kids.

Hmmm. That list was shorter than even I thought it would be! I just can’t justify putting the following wants in the needs list… (although I do accomplish all of this with my cell phone)

  • I want my husband to call me if he’s going to be late from a hunting excursion so that I don’t worry.
  • I want to let him know my schedule, if I’m driving home from somewhere.
  • I want to check in with my family once in a while if I’m gone for some reason.
  • I want to call Lance with an addition to the list I’ve given him for an occasional late-night grocery trip. 😉
  • I want our family to be able to contact us if they need to while we’re away from home.
  • I like the convenience of “call me on my cell” when I’m out running errands and want to meet up with my sister somewhere.
  • On the rare occasion that we have a babysitter, I like that I can give her our cell number.

Some things I definitely don’t need or want from my cell phone…

  • I don’t want to be distracted while I’m driving.
  • I don’t need 423 ways for people to contact me. My life is busy enough, thank you very much.
  • I don’t need games, e-mail and whatever else they can add now.

If you’re striving to simplify your life, or live more frugally, or you just can’t justify spending oodles of money on something you don’t need, consider purchasing a prepaid cellphone plan.

For more frugal ideas, visit Biblical Womanhood.

10 Responses

  1. I love my prepaid cell phone! I switched a few years ago and I am the most unpopular one in our family. My brother just bought two fancy smanchy cell phones with internet and all that extra stuff for $200 EACH!!! Crazy! I can spend that money on better things then my cell phone!

  2. I had trouble getting your site today. We’ve thought about doing this also. The plan we currently have is $24 a month. I’ve been waiting for a clearance on cell phones to give it a whirl!

  3. my fiance has TWO cell phones – how crazy is that?

  4. We plan to switch to go phone method when our contract is up–we have about 5 months to go and I can’t wait! We too plan to buy the $100 cards for a year. Our oldest son uses a go phone too. We feel he needs it when he is off riding his bike far from the house or on a trip with boyscouts. He is really good about not gabbing on it. I just can’t wait for the contract to be up–right now we pay close to $70 a month and we have a zillion rollover minutes we never use.

    I never thought to calculate it like you just did by breaking 100 up over 12 months.

  5. So true! I am awaiting our plan to be up so we can just buy minutes. We have 3 cell phones which includes our home phone and spend a little over $100 a month for time we don’t use. Ugh!

  6. We don’t have any cell phones in our house.

    We had one for a while, when Dh needed it for work, but we found we almost never used it after he had another job. We were paying $35 a month for no reason. So we canceled it.

    We haven’t missed it at all. However…if we do move to a smaller town close to our city, we would probably get one again, so we would feel that sense of security on the road going back and forth to visit family and friends.

    I am amazed at how shocked people are when they find out we don’t have a cell phone. In fact, sometimes they are actually annoyed that they can’t reach us any time they want.

  7. I love you intentional you are about dividing your lists into wants and needs. It really puts a great perspective on everything.

  8. Which phone/plan do people recommend? We are shopping for one now (switching from uber-expensive Verizon plan) along with using vonage for home.

  9. My husband also has a pre-paid cell phone which he has to have for his business. He originally had one with a plan but realized that he was wasting a lot of his busnesses money with that and went to pre-paid. I don’t even have a cell phone and it has worked fine for me. Once and a while it would be nice but it is not neccasary.

  10. I’ve had a prepaid AT&T go phone for 2 years and I’m really happy with it. Do check coverage area before you buy one. Some don’t have very much coverage. The best thing about it was when mine was stolen I was able to suspend it and then transfer my number onto a new phone. It cost me $15 to do it and pay for the new phone.

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