Reasons Not To Have A Cell Phone

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

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15 Responses to Reasons Not To Have A Cell Phone

  1. Andrea says:

    It is nice to know I am not alone. I find that when others try to convince me to get a cell phone it is for their convenience not mine. Great article, thanks!

  2. Sheree says:

    The main focus is ‘wants and needs’ which can be difficult for those who don’t want to consider or think through their reasons thus justifying. We live in a capitalistic country which does generate materialism. Everything in moderation.

  3. scfr says:

    With your goal of traveling half the year, have you thought about ditching your land line (assuming you have one of course) and switching to just a cell phone? Why pay for telephone service that you can’t use since you won’t be there?

    It might not only be less expensive, but more convenient since you could take a cell with you on your journeys.

  4. Jeffrey says:


    Not only do I not have a land line, I am homeless (purposefully) so there is no way I could have a land line — I will get to the reasoning of why I have chosen to be homeless soon 😉

  5. Good for you! I save money buy having a cheap cell phone (cost me $20) that only allows me to send messages and make calls. Friends can easily get in touch with me, but I’m not distracted by internet and apps.

    I also use pre-paid minutes instead of a plan. I spend maybe $10 to $20 a month on prepaid minutes, since I usually only use it to make plans on weekends or see what time my husband will get home from work.

    One thing everyone tells us we “need” is a car. Like you and the cell phone, there are maybe 1 or 2 times a month when I feel like it would be convenient to have one at the moment. Still, since I carpool to work, taxis where I live are cheap, the bus system is great, and my job gives me free bus passes, my husband and I only spend maybe $20 a week on transportation… probably what most would spend on gas, and without actually paying to own and maintain a car.

  6. b4freedom says:

    I strongly disagree with you.

    1) A cell phone is cheaper then a land line. I had the most basic service allowed by law (NJ) on my landline. It was $14.85/month. However, after taxes, fees, etc., it rockets up to about $25+/month. That’s $10+ a month in taxes/fees. Compare that to a prepaid cell phone: I paid $10 for my phone and pay about $32.10 (including taxes) every 90 days for a tracfone. That’s about 1/2 the price of a land line. Alternatively, I could pay $25/month for a Virgin Mobile phone plan and get many more services (unlimited data/text as well as 400minutes voice). And, believe it or not, I find prepaid plans to be cheaper then contract plans over the term of the contract.

    2) A cell phone is insurance. When your car breaks down and your not near a phone, what do you do? Walk? Flag down another car? I recall a time when the tire tread from a tractor trailer in front of us hit our car and punctured the oil pan. Within the 20 or so seconds to move to the side of the road, the engine was frozen. Nobody stopped to help us. I had to walk 10 miles in the rain to the next exit. It then took me awhile to find a phone and get a tow truck. I had to leave the family in the car. I returned nearly 5 hours after leaving my family. They didn’t know where I was that entire time. It was dark, it was miserable, and it was scary. I would have given any amount of money for a cell phone at that time (cell phones were still rather expensive at the time). Some people argue that they can just leave an unactivated phone in the car for emergencies. While this is true you must consider that you must charge the phone periodically, which means you have to remember it. If the car battery dies then you can’t rely on it. Furthermore, believe it or not, 911 services won’t necessarily call you a tow truck. It’s up to their discretion to decide if your situation is an emergency and how they are going to respond. What about another emergency? I go mountain biking a lot. I always take my cell phone. I’ve crashed many times. I’ve never been hurt enough where I couldn’t walk out. But, if I am hurt badly, I want a cell phone on me.

    3) A prepaid cell phone gives you more control and freedom. A home line typically requires a contract. So does a regular cell phone plan. Accidentally dial a wrong number? Kid pushing buttons and called Kenya? Someone call you collect? Not happy with the service? Do you think you got billed too much? Disagree with the bill? Don’t want to pay it? With a contract you are obligated to pay it. Of course they allow for exceptions. But with the exceptions and times you contest it you must deal with their “customer service”. How much time does that eat up? What happens if your late? Many phone companies now report your payment history to credit agencies. Your home phone and contract cell phone is now a potential liability to your credit score. With a prepaid plan it’s different. Not happy with the service? Dump them and get someone else. There is no liability to your credit score.

    My suggestion is to get a free google voice number and then redirect that number to your ultra cheap cell phone number. With google voice you get lots of control. Check it out. Furthermore, if you get a prepaid phone with android and then get a cheap data plan (virgin mobile $25 plan for example), you can use the google voice app to make unlimited long distance calls for free.

    If you still don’t care about having a cell phone then get a VoIP phone.

  7. Jeffrey says:


    The point of the article is that everyone is different. I have no need for a cell phone and don’t want one. Those are my reasons why. You may want one or need one and you will have your reasons. That is why it is important to analyze your particular situation.

  8. Gail says:

    We don’t have one either and even when the land line rings, neither one of us want to answer it. I have no reason for a cell phone at this point in time either. I had one for only about 3 years. It was expensive and when I didn’t need it any more, breaking the contract was expensive but not as expensive as continuing to pay a monthly bill till the contract ran out. People have lived their lives for thousands of centuries. Why within the last 20 or so years have people all insisted life can’t be lived without a cell phone?

  9. Jaqouia3 says:

    I retired my cell phone in early Dec. which only saved us $20 a month on the family plan. But $20 is $20, and after going 2 months with no ingoing/outgoing calls, it didn’t make sense to waste that money any more.

  10. joan says:

    wow, impressed. me, i never want to be without a cellphone ever again, so happy, especially now that i am prepaid. i save a lot of money, i pay less than half of what i used to spend, and in addition i agree with scfr, if i was you i would rather consider giving up my landline. if anything i actually do consider giving up my landline. even more savings, and the possibility to call and be available at all times. to me very important.

  11. kennygee says:

    Yes i believe its a matter of choice. No doubt, cell phones is really eating deep into our pockets

  12. Carlos says:

    We seem to share a common point, especially when you wrote:

    “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.”

    That quote is exactly what I defend every single day.

    Thanks for writing.

  13. Robert says:

    I agree, so much non sense is broadcast
    with mobiles/twitter etc etc

    I guess I am adding a bit here, but
    there are so few like minded people it
    is nice to support the cause !

  14. heidiflies says:

    I agree with you 100%. But there is another way, to save money and STILL have a cell phone. You need a smart phone buy a used one and then download an app called PINGER which will generate a phone number and you can have free text messages whenever you have internet access. This is super convenient for me because I really do not like to be at anyones disposal at whatever time. I enjoy being able to respond back to messages when I decide to go to a coffee shop or just log in wirelessly, I feel like I have some control over my life now that I’ve let go of the need for a cell phone. People do not need the freedom to be able to reach my at their convenience. IF the message they are trying to send me is so very important then they can meet with me personally. I feel like texting has made people lazy now they can just remember you at 9am while laying on their beds and say “hey how you been, I havent seen you in ages” how are the kids? Send me a video and pics of the kids that way we dont have to meet personally and we can pretend to have an actual connection. My thoughts. Thanks for posting!

  15. Jack says:

    I do not own a cell phone I am 78 most friends do not have them at our age you need one of those “I need Help, or I am injured deals not another cell phone. I have gotten buy owning and selling two business and own one now without a cell phone. I would like to use Yahoo their information is top notch but will noot buy a phone just to get Yahoo. You are good people can you not fit me in with the one phone only?
    Thank You

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