How to Ditch Your Cell Phone (And Still Communicate)
Ever see those people so enthralled with their phones they don't pay attention to where they're walking?:
You probably think that something like that could never happen to you, but since I ditched my mobile phone, I've noticed most cell phone users' lack of attention. So yeah, it could probably happen to you.
Aside from embarrassment and soaked clothing, texting and otherwise interacting with one's phone while doing anything else has been linked to serious accidents and even death. Specifically, distracted driving caused 18% of car accidents in 2010. Here are more sobering statistics:
- In 2010, 3,092 people were killed and 416,000 injured in crashes caused by a distracted driver
- Nearly 50% of teen drivers admit to texting while driving, and 40% say they've been in a car driven by a distracted driver
- Texting while driving makes an automobile accident 23 times more likely to occur
I Don't Drive, So I'm Keeping My Phone!
Don't drive, eh? Well, if you're like most people, I'm sure you could use some extra cash, no? Unless you're in the service industry or work in a profession where your pay fluctuates, you're on a fixed income like the rest of us. In order to have more money, you'll have to reduce your expenses. Most carriers offer basic plans starting at $30/month, but how many of you actually have these 200 minute, $0.20/text message plans? Thought so. Many people opt for the more pricey $60/month plans with unlimited calling and texting, which amounts to $720/year before surcharges, government fees, and taxes. And if you're one of the 90 million iPhone users, your monthly bill is likely closer to $100, leaving you $1,200 poorer each year.
I Have A Trust Fund, So Money Is No Object!
Ah, so shelling out $1,200 a year for that diamond-encrusted iPhone doesn't bother you? Tell me, what color are my eyes? Don't know? Didn't think so. While I'm trying to help you save your life and your coins, you're probably furiously texting about that party last weekend or how annoying that person talking on their cell phone is. If you're texting or editing your contacts or playing Words With Friends (I'm looking at you, Alec Baldwin), you're not engaged with the people around you and your life is passing you by. How refreshing is it to spend time with someone who is 100% focused on being with you and not interrupting your conversation to check their phone? You can be that person!
Here's How To Get Rid Of Your Cell Phone For Good
- Cancel Your Contract: First things first, get rid of your phone. If you're with any of the major service providers, chances are, you're on a two-year contract. When you break the contract, you'll have to pay anywhere from $50 to $180 in Early Termination Fees. Yikes. That might sound expensive now, but you'll make that back after two to three months of not having a phone. You can also sell your phone to absorb some of the cost.
- Sell Your Phone: A phone is one of the easiest things to sell on sites like Craigslist. I managed to get rid of my iPhone 3GS a few years ago for about $230, and no, it wasn't in perfect condition. While I can't guarantee you'll get anywhere near $200 for your phone, I'm positive you'll get something that'll help cushion the blow of that Early Termination Fee. Just make sure your ad is as detailed as possible and includes close-up shots of your device. Some carriers even have buyback programs and will apply the money they're paying for your phone to your final bill. Once you're phone free, you'll need to communicate somehow, right?
- Get a Skype Account, Use Line2, or Try Google Voice: You can make free calls from your computer with Skype. Their plans range from free to about $4.99/month for Skype Premium, which includes unlimited international calling. You can Skype anywhere there's an internet connection, from your neighborhood Starbucks to the city library. Line2 by Toktumi is another option, but it's limited to Apple products like iPads and iPhones (which you just sold, right?). For $0 month, you can receive calls and texts, but you can only initiate them to other Line2 users. For $14.99/month, you can text and chat to your heart's content. The newest version even allows you to send and receive photos via text. Like Skype, Google Voice can be used from your computer and lets users make unlimited domestic calls and texts. And for just $0.02/minute, you can ring that Australian mate of yours. If you absolutely, positively, cannot live without a cell phone, try a prepaid phone.
- AT&T GoPhone, Boost Mobile, and Virgin Mobile Offer PrePaid Plans: AT&T GoPhones start at $20/phone and grant users several non-contractual plans. You can pay by the minute, day, or month - how's that for options? Boost and Virgin offer similar options and each has an attractive set of phones for you to choose from.
Ready to free yourself from the electronic shackles of your cell phone contract and rejoin the living? No? Your loss. I'll be the one smugly smelling the roses over here while you text your buddy "LOL" for the hundredth time.