I am probably one of the last people in the US that doesn’t have a cell phone. I don’t have a cell phone to protest in any way. I actually think there are a lot of interesting aspects to them. I have friends that keep telling me that I really need to get one so that it is easier for them to get hold of me. There isn’t an issue with money as I could easily afford one and it would fit into my budget of spending less than I earn. There are a few times a year when I think to myself that it certainly would be more convenient if I had one at that specific moment. The fact remains, however, that each time I have considered getting a phone I realize that I really don’t need or want one.
Over the years, I have gotten better and better at determining between wants and needs. I know this because I buy far less than I used to and find it much more difficult to find true needs. This wasn’t always the case. I was pretty efficient at rationalizing my wants as needs for a period of time. I think this is an issue that many people struggle with, but it certainly is much easier to make the determination between wants and needs when you know what makes you happy.
Getting cell phone isn’t simply a want versus need question in my case. While I do save money not having one and that savings allows me to do an extra week or so of traveling each year, I do have the money to get a cell phone if I want one. With this in mind, whether or not to get a cell phone becomes a question of will a cell phone provide the convenience that would make it worthwhile for me to purchase one? As I mentioned, there are always a few times each year that I think a cell phone would be really convenient (usually when I have planned to meet someone at a certain time and they aren’t there). If I only considered these inconveniences, I would almost certainly get a cell phone.
What keeps me from getting a cell phone is that I know myself well enough to know what would happen if I purchased a cell phone. I spend far too many hours already on the computer and a cell phone would mean that I would simply spend more time with a gadget rather than doing the things that make me happy. The fact is that I am much happier that people can’t call me whenever they want and that increased happiness far outweighs any inconvenience that not having a cell phone causes.
With this in mind and understanding how I would use a cell phone if I had one, I know that not having a cell phone is in my best financial interest. My feeling is that most people do not have a need for a cell phone, but society makes it quite easy for people to pretend that a cell phone is a need rather than a want. It would be very easy for me to justify needing a cell phone even if I didn’t have the money for one. I could argue that I own my own business and it is important for people to be able to get in contact with me (true — I just insist that it be done through email) to claim that a cell phone is a necessity. The fact is that just because I can justify it to others doesn’t mean that it is truly a need.
If you are currently in debt, I think that you should really evaluate your need for a cell phone. Once you determine whether or not it is truly a need, you then need to determine how much you really need to use it (my guess is very little) and the most appropriate cell phone plan for this need. If you aren’t in debt and have the money to afford a cell phone, I think it would be worthwhile to evaluate (much like I did) whether it makes you as happy as you assume it does.
Virtually everyone that I have explained the above of why I don’t have a cell phone thinks that I am absolutely nuts. Even after explaining the exact reasons why I don’t have one, they think that I am trying to make some type of protest, that I am being cheap or that I don’t understand all of the things I can do with a phone (again, one of the main reasons I don’t want one because I don’t want to be playing with it all the time). Despite the shakes of the head and the looks of disapproval, I am confident that I have made the correct decision for me. There may be a time in the future where a cell phone does become a need or a want that is worth paying for, but that is not the case as of this moment.
If you were expecting a list of reasons not to have a cell phone, here are five reasons to give up a cell phone