Author Topic: Help convince me not to replace my cell phone  (Read 5226 times)

scottydog

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Help convince me not to replace my cell phone
« on: April 28, 2014, 09:27:56 AM »
I lost my cell phone in a snow bank about 2 months ago, and am tempted to simply not replace it.  It was on a Virgin mobile prepaid plan and despite paying $0.30/minute and $0.20/text I almost never actually used up more than the $100/year minimum required to maintain my account.  At this point, I have a $280 credit that will expire soon unless I top it up again; another $100 will reset the clock and maintain my balance for another 365 days.

The phone was originally just for emergencies because we often travel long distances to visit family, and as the credit built up we started using it more and more for convenience.  Finding work-arounds for the conveniences is easy though, so now I'm back to considering it as an emergency phone.  I'm a work at home Dad with 3 kids and my only hangup is, "what if I need a cell phone because there's an emergency with one of my kids?"  Intellectually, I understand that "fear is just a chemical" (http://www.mrmoneymustache.com/2013/08/23/fear-is-just-a-chemical/) and this "emergency" almost certainly won't happen, but there's still a part of me that would feel worse than an idiot if one of my kids needed help that I couldn't provide because I didn't have a cell phone. 

Practically speaking, the most probable emergencies aren't that bad.  For example, my middle child has a food allergy but his reaction is fairly slow and involves vomiting - not anaphylaxis - so we have children's benadryl but not an epi-pen.  I often take the kids out on the bike, but I ride defensively and have promised my wife to wear a safety vest whenever I have the kids in the bike; in her eyes, the safety vest is far more visible than the super-bright rear lights that I was so naively proud to buy :-).  Since the kids were born, the only "emergency" I've encountered was when my eldest child's school bus was 20 minutes late coming home.  That was shortly before I lost my phone, and it turned out that the cell phone had no impact whatsoever because neither my wife nor I could even get in touch with the school and then the bus just showed up, late, all on its own.

I do have an iPod touch, and have been toying with the textfree app, figuring that I can use that to keep in touch during any solo-parent road trips, for example sending an update from a rest stop with free wi-fi.  My wife's employer provides her with a cell phone that we use when we're traveling together.

From one perspective, the annual cost of $100/year isn't very high.  However, when I add taxes and consider phone replacement, I figure the cost is closer to $200/year.  I lost a $149 blackberry but would consider replacing it with a $99 android phone that would then replace my ipod.  Plus that's yet another phone that ties up the planet's resources.

From another perspective, it would be a shame to "lose" the $280 credit.  I've come to accept that the $280 is a sunk cost that I have no way to recover, and I'm comfortable with not wanting to throw good money (a new phone and another year's worth of minutes) after bad.  It reminds me of a joke about a guy who threw a $20 bill down the hole in an outhouse because he'd accidentally dropped $1 in and it wasn't worth going down there for only $1.

Do you think I'm on the right track?  Writing it out like this has already helped convince me, but any other observations or suggestions to beat the fear of an emergency would be welcome.

nereo

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Re: Help convince me not to replace my cell phone
« Reply #1 on: April 28, 2014, 10:40:07 AM »
I don't think that you (or the majority of people) *need* a cell phone.  I think there's a great convenience, and as you already pointed out that could be as little as $100-200 per year for you.  I gave up my cell phone in 2012 - my fiancée and I share one and lately we don't even use it that much.  People can leave me a message on google-talk or skype (or email) and we don't seem to miss anything.

as for your son and emergencies, my opinion is that during a true emergency, being able to reach you instantly isn't necessary.  In a true emergency the call will be to 911 or the police or the hospital, and emergency services will handle it. They do not need your consent to act in a life-threatening situation. They will act under "complied consent."  It might take an hour or two for you to be located, but it will not change the outcome one bit if you were instantly available.

The $280 is a sunk cost, so ignore it.  Just decide whether $100/year is ok for the sake of convenience. 



Daley

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Re: Help convince me not to replace my cell phone
« Reply #2 on: April 28, 2014, 10:52:10 AM »
Although the information was included in the original Superguide here on the forums, it was dropped in the Son of for space... but it is still available on the unabridged guide.

Read over the "Unique Alternatives" section that's about 4/5ths of the way down that last linked page. It's not a terrible idea to want to carry around a means to call emergency services as a parent in an era where there are no payphones, and people have grown so self-involved that they ignore people in need just mere feet away in some parts of the country. Fortunately, there are ways to do that without spending monthly on cell phone access. That stated, for the sake of giving at least some lip service to ethics and supporting the often underfunded 911 services, do have at least one phone in the house (be it POTS, VoIP or mobile) set up where you're paying 911 taxes, but it sounds like that's already being done.

Obviously, don't live in fear... but prudent planning and appropriate tool acquisition for the regular circumstances presented in life is not living in fear. Get certified and keep current through the Red Cross for CPR, AED and First Aid just as a general rule, and don't feel like you're being paranoid carrying a zero cost 911 only cellphone if you feel it necessary.

GuitarStv

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Re: Help convince me not to replace my cell phone
« Reply #3 on: April 28, 2014, 11:26:23 AM »
You don't need a cellphone for an emergency.  The reason is, everyone around you has a cellphone.  I have never been truly in need and had people around (who I don't know at all) fail to offer assistance.  In a real emergency someone will call 911 for you, or lend you their phone.  Having a cell phone isn't going to stop anything bad from happening to your kid . . .

Somehow, people were able to manage their lives without 24/7 access to cell phones right up until the 90s.  I have never had a cell phone though, so maybe I'm just weird.

Thegoblinchief

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Re: Help convince me not to replace my cell phone
« Reply #4 on: April 28, 2014, 11:31:53 AM »
I went a month without a phone while getting it replaced under warranty. *I* loved it, but everyone else in my life hated "not being able to reach me". Which is weird, because I use under 50 minutes a month.

So I have a phone again. I was sick of being harassed about it.

If your family is fine, I'd either carry the iPod with Google Voice, or a 911 only phone.

nereo

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Re: Help convince me not to replace my cell phone
« Reply #5 on: April 28, 2014, 01:03:39 PM »
I went a month without a phone while getting it replaced under warranty. *I* loved it, but everyone else in my life hated "not being able to reach me". Which is weird, because I use under 50 minutes a month.
Lol - yes, this happened to me too.  The people who never called me (or called maybe 1-2 month) made a big deal about "not being able to reach me". 

mxt0133

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Re: Help convince me not to replace my cell phone
« Reply #6 on: April 28, 2014, 01:34:28 PM »
Back in the late 90's when cell phones where becoming popular, I refused to get one simply because of the access that it would give people to me.  For some reason I hated the fact that someone could reach me at anytime anywhere and I would be obliged to answer them.  Eventually my parents got me one, I was out of college and worked full-time, so it's not like I couldn't afford it.  I just never really needed it, even today with my pre-paid Airvoice service , I never use up all my credits and just become lazy and burn through it because it's a sunk cost.

Now that I have kids I do feel that I need to be accessible not because of paranoia of emergency situations, just purely out of convenience.   

scottydog

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Re: Help convince me not to replace my cell phone
« Reply #7 on: April 29, 2014, 01:12:30 PM »
Thanks everyone for the tips!

I was also using my old cell phone just to burn up the sunk cost, and now that you mention it, I've noticed that I enjoy running errands a bit more without a phone because I like having some uninterrupted time on the bike.  I don't mind missing the "oh yeah, since you're there..." phone calls because those items become another excuse to get out on my bike again later.

I.P. Daley, those are good points about First Aid, AED and CPR.  I've been perusing your superguide, because I'm also planning to overhaul our home internet/phone setup -- and yes, we're keeping a home phone - most likely VOIP with Teksavvy, although I'm still absorbing some of the finer points of your superguide -- and I really liked the following quotation: "emergency response time of a person on site who knows how to hold their own in a crisis is immediate."  I have been certified in First Aid and CPR three times in the past 20 years and I've let it slip out of inconvenience.  It makes sense to be more self-sufficient in that regard.  When our kids are a bit older, we'll be doing some wilderness camping and I would definitely want First Aid and CPR for that.

So I'll try the iPod-only route for a while and see how it goes.  Thanks again for piping in!

MicroRN

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Re: Help convince me not to replace my cell phone
« Reply #8 on: April 29, 2014, 10:46:35 PM »
I wouldn't want to be without a cell phone, but it's also my primary phone and my GPS.  I've adjusted to using it, but for everything it does, there are other options.  It is nice to be able to do things like phone AAA for a tow, rather than walk 2 miles and knock on a stranger's door (done both in the past), especially since I generally have 2 toddlers in the car.  Sure, you may have someone stop and let you use their cell phone, but maybe not.     

Since you mentioned wilderness camping, something to consider later is an emergency beacon.  I was on a backcountry horse riding trip once when we had a gentleman suffer a stroke.  Everyone had cell phones but there was no signal in the area, so treatment was delayed while we rode 15 miles to reach a signal.  If I ever get back into that kind of thing, I plan to pick up a beacon.  Oh, and you can take specific wilderness first aid courses.   

CarDude

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Re: Help convince me not to replace my cell phone
« Reply #9 on: April 30, 2014, 05:57:12 AM »
Keep in mind that if the issue is in any way related to obtaining a cheap phone (the device itself), you can pick up used and working phones for any carrier for quite cheap on eBay. Just buy from a trusted seller and activate it yourself.

Neustache

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Re: Help convince me not to replace my cell phone
« Reply #10 on: June 19, 2014, 12:30:25 PM »
I don't have a cell, but I'm also at home most of the time.  I'd need convincing to GET a cell phone!

Jamesqf

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Re: Help convince me not to replace my cell phone
« Reply #11 on: June 19, 2014, 12:53:13 PM »
I needed convincing too.  $30/month for a land line vs $7/month for a pay-as-you-go cell phone did the trick.

arebelspy

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Re: Help convince me not to replace my cell phone
« Reply #12 on: June 19, 2014, 01:58:10 PM »
I'd personally only get rid of a cell if I were moving overseas/switching to full time travel.

If I was still living in the U.S. and trying to cut down on my cell bill, I'd be doing something like this $4/month plan: http://www.richmondsavers.com/how-we-each-only-spend-4-a-month-on-cell-phones/
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Neustache

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Re: Help convince me not to replace my cell phone
« Reply #13 on: June 20, 2014, 05:50:37 AM »
I needed convincing too.  $30/month for a land line vs $7/month for a pay-as-you-go cell phone did the trick.


We dumped our landline years ago.  Pay $20 a year for our MagicJack.  Not great service, but you get what you pay for and I'm rarely on the phone.

MayDay

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Re: Help convince me not to replace my cell phone
« Reply #14 on: June 20, 2014, 06:16:54 AM »
Since we drive older cars, and usually have little kids in the car, I feel better having a phone on me.  We have actually never broken down with a kid in the car, though, thank goodness! 

Yes, people around me could stop and check and offer to call for me.  The two breakdowns I remember, though, both happened on busy roads during rush hour, and no one stopped- they went around me and kept on going.  I guess I could have gotten out and tried to flag someone down.  Sounds safer to just have a cell phone with me, though. 


frugaliknowit

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Re: Help convince me not to replace my cell phone
« Reply #15 on: June 20, 2014, 06:28:29 AM »
Maybe you are looking at this the wrong way?  Why don't you get rid of your landline?