Has the Frugal Girl gotten a smart phone yet???

by Kristen on March 6, 2013 · 137 comments

in Simplicity

A little over two years ago, I wrote about how I manage without a smart phone, so I thought it might be time for an update.

Here it is:

I still don’t have a smart phone.


I’m plugging along in the land of Phones That Fold In Half And Have No Camera, and though I feel like more and more of an oddity as the months go by, I’m still quite happy without a fancy phone.

pay as you go cell phone

I’m continuing to use pay-as-you-go minutes, which I renew every once in a blue moon. And I still have sent only two text messages in my whole life.

(Though it’s not like my years in the ’80s and ’90s count, since people weren’t exactly text messaging then!)

When I flew to the Aldi Test Kitchens in October, as soon as the plane landed, everyone immediately pulled out their phones, and my seatmate was surprised that I didn’t. I explained my minimalist cell phone plan, and he sighed and told me he was jealous.

Which is kind of funny, actually.

I’m sure he wasn’t jealous of my actual phone (that would be crazy!), but rather of the fact that I am fairly free from my phone. Unless I’m home, at my desktop computer, I can’t get to the internet and the internet can’t get to me.

I like that.

The internet is a scary-addictive thing, and I am delighted to be free from its grasp when I am not at my desk.

When I am at church or at the park or in the kitchen or at the dinner table or at a family gathering or in the car or in bed, I am free.

No one can email me and I can’t email anyone.

I can’t catch up on tweets.

I cannot be sucked into viewing people’s photo archives on Facebook.

The endless supply of blogs on the web can’t pull me in.

And all of that makes for a more present me.

Sometimes I think, “Oh, I’d be able to build a better relationship with person X or Y if I could text.” But you know what?

I somehow have managed to maintain relationships without texting for the last 34 years of my life, and I’m pretty sure I can do so going forward.

T Mobile pay as you go phone

I manage to successfully blog without a smartphone.

I listen to music without a smartphone (Pandora at home, and an MP3 player in the car).

I take pictures without a smartphone.

I even tweet without a smartphone (Frugal Girl tweets are always coming to you from a stationary desktop, people!)

So, I really don’t feel like a smart phone could offer me enough benefits to outweigh the loss of freedom it would bring. (Not to mention the bill it would carry!)

I know smartphones are very important and even necessary for some people. But I also know that a smartphone is still not for me.


Joshua’s 365 post: Oh, yeah!

Leave a Comment

{ 137 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Victoria March 6, 2013 at 7:15 am

I have what my smart phone friends like to call a “two piece smart phone” that is I have a pay as you go cell phone like yours, except mine has a keyboard because I do text, and I also carry a 4th generation i-touch that picks up wi-fi in free wi-fi areas. I can get almost all the apps. that smart phones get yet I am still paying just $10 a month for my cell phone service. I am very satisfied with this low cost 2 piece system as a I find that free wi-fi is available all over the place.


2 Rebecca March 6, 2013 at 6:52 pm

This is what I am doing also. We are an unapologetic Mac family. My husb is a web and graphic designer and works only with Macs. My autistic sons have IPads and iPods to help with reading, schedules, regulation etc. I hate having a paper calendar on the fridge, another in my purse for scheduling on the go and another on the computer that links with my husbands schedule at work so he stays up to date with all the goings on with our 3 kids. The iPod has made life so much easier as when I put something on mine, it links up with the home WIFI and everything goes to everyone’s devices. Not to mention that I carry all of my son’s programs, schedules, AAC apps and games so when we go out if they need them they are there. and so much cheaper than an iPhone. I think I paid less than what it would have cost for 2 months of data plan for my iPod. And my phone is ancient, but still works great.


3 Barb_in_GA March 14, 2013 at 11:30 am

I’m using a similar system, as is my teen daughter. The thing she pointed out to me (clever, frugal user of technology that she is) is that our carrier charges less per text than it does per minute of talk-time. So, it’s texting for things like “come pick me up” and talk for things that need a conversation.


4 Deborah C. Williams March 6, 2013 at 7:25 am

Yes Kristen I am one of the fortunate people like yourself who own a prepaid “dumb phone” and am proud of it. People seem to be disconnected from the world everywhere you go because there phone is dictating their life. They are too busy to interact with others because they are glued to their phone. I see young mothers all the time who are on a smart phone instead of enjoying the moment at hand with their children. I love technology I have a Kindle and a desk top computer but I think the smart phone is okay for business people but not for me!!


5 Kristi April 10, 2013 at 4:07 pm

I can’t agree with you more! I am very scared for people who are so dependent on their phones, etc that they can’t be bothered to interact with other humans. I can honestly tell you that I am one of the only people at my daughters’ swimming/sports lessons and games that does not have a phone in my hand texting or checking email or Facebook while “watching” my kids play. I think it’s shameful! What message are we sending to our children if we are too engrossed in our devices to be able to pay attention to them? Ugh! I do have a cell phone and an iPod, but I know when it is appropriate to use them. And it’s not in the company of others or at the dinner table and it’s certainly not when I am spending time with my children.


6 C-Joy March 6, 2013 at 7:35 am

I have a basic pay-as-you-go phone too! I do use mine for texting -once a week on Fridays when I usually hang out with my sister. Slowly, but surely my friends & family are realizing that if they want to make sure to talk to me, call my land line or be prepared to wait a LONG time for my response :)


7 Economies of Kale March 6, 2013 at 7:42 am

I’m going to go against the grain here and say I love my iPhone :) I held off getting a phone at all until I started uni and had a job, even though many of my friends had them in high school.

I was on prepaid for about 8 years, with the most basic, non-colour screen Nokia (those phones were basically indestructable). Then a few years ago I got an iPod touch and loved it. When it started to die, I decided I wanted an iPhone, because we don’t get free wifi anywhere here.

I do find it stressful sometimes to always be connected to the internet, but it means I have to be purposeful about switching off (something that I’m working on). On the other hand I like getting notifications when someone comments on my blog (although I can understand you wouldn’t want that Kristen with the number of comments you get!), and I definitely like having google maps to stop me from getting lost!


8 Janet March 6, 2013 at 7:44 am

I’m not sure why you wrote this post, and for the record I think you’re a lovely person and I’ve enjoyed reading your blog for years. But why feel the need to write a post about why you don’t have a smart phone?

I also have a cheap pre-paid cell phone that I use only for emergencies, but I think people like us have to be careful when we talk about our phone/internet philsophy that we don’t come across as smug or annoying. I know I get annoyed with people who don’t have a TV (I have one that I use for Netflix) and feel they need to let me know ALL about it.


9 Kristen March 6, 2013 at 7:58 am

I’m sorry my tone seemed smug or annoying. I acknowledge that for others, smart phones are good and/or necessary…I just think they’re not for me, for right now.

Why did I write the post? Well, I usually blog about the frugal stuff that’s going on in my life that will hopefully interest other people, and one of the frugal things that happens in my life is the no-smart-phone thing.

Whether or not I should get a smart phone is something I debate in my head every now and then, and this post is sort of a written-out version of what happens in my head! :)


10 Kathy M March 6, 2013 at 8:04 am

I appreciate you writing about this. It articulated some of the reasons I do not switch. My 31 yo daughter recently told me I MUST get a smart phone. I do think I may enjoy a smart phone but I really do not need anymore internet time, like an old fashion map for directions and for me, see no need to spend the extra money. Thanks, Kristen!


11 Janet March 6, 2013 at 8:16 am

Kristen, I don’t find you smug or annoying at all, but I just felt that no one who thinks they *need* a smart phone is going to be convinced otherwise by us prepaid cheapskates. Now if I could only convince my daughter that she doesn’t need a phone that texts.


12 Kristen March 6, 2013 at 8:18 am

That’s true, and I don’t think anyone is going to turn in their iphone after reading my post. But sharing my thought process could help clarify things for people who are on the fence about whether they should upgrade to a smartphone.


13 Susan March 6, 2013 at 6:04 pm

You are right, I’m not turning in my iphone but I did want to tell you that I really like the profile picture you are using. Very cute!

14 Kristen March 6, 2013 at 7:19 pm

Thank you! Joshua took that one for me.

15 Laura September 23, 2013 at 4:52 pm

Hi! Actually, this has inspired me to turn in my smart phone. I’m about 3 months pregnant, and I don’t want to be one of those moms on Facebook while my child is playing. I also feel like the phones cause a huge distraction in my relationship with my fiance. We spend entire nights on Facebook or games, when we should be spending qt together before baby! I’m so used to laying in bed all day (morning sickness) on my phone, I wonder what productive things I could be doing besides Facebook stalking! Thanks for the inspiration! :)

16 Brandi B March 6, 2013 at 12:35 pm

I didn’t find her tone smug or annoying. In fact, I think it’s a refreshing post in a world where everyone around me is so distracted by the little gadget in their hands that they can’t be bothered to look me in the eye. This is just another part of her life, the life that we all freely choose to read about. While the post may not be useful to you it could be helpful to someone else. Kudos, Kristen, for another great post! I don’t have kids and I’m not married so many things you talk about here don’t apply directly to me but I still enjoy reading!


17 Kristen March 6, 2013 at 7:20 pm

I’m so glad to hear that! It makes me happy to know that my blog appeals to a variety of people in a variety of life situations. :)


18 Brandi B March 8, 2013 at 10:51 am

I read every day and miss you when there’s no post! lol. I enjoy your family stories but the things I like best about your blog are the underlying values of living a simple but fulfilling life. And I live for your Aldi posts! Thanks to you I have all but abandoned my local Kroger (except when they send me coupons for free products) and am a full time Aldi shopper. Have a great day!


19 Ann S. March 6, 2013 at 5:36 pm

Hahaha, I am so laughing at Janet’s “feel they need to let me know ALL about it”… FYI, Janet, you came to Kristen’s blog! Don’t harp on her choices just because you wouldn’t make the same ones.

p.s. Kristen – I was reading through the comments (did not make it far down enough) to find out what you thought of a tablet? I am with you on the phones (hubs and I still have standard flip phones, although we do text), but I was gifted a Kindle (one with wi-fi, so it can do way more than just books) this past Christmas and have really enjoyed it! No extra cost to me as we already had the wi-fi, I don’t pay for any apps and typically rent books through my local library system. Would you ever consider getting one of those? I really have found it handy around the house.


20 Kristen March 6, 2013 at 7:17 pm

Oh, I think Janet has a phone like mine! She was just saying that people who don’t have TVs are hard on her for having one, at least from what I understood.


21 Janet March 6, 2013 at 8:05 pm

You understood completely. Yes, I have a dinky prepaid phone and I get very grouchy when people without TVs want to tell me why they don’t have one–as if I’m judging. Don’t they know I have more important things to do, like watch cat videos and stalk Pinterest? :)


22 Ann S. March 6, 2013 at 8:40 pm

Ahh over-clarifying, but I meant choices regarding what to write about. I don’t know why, but I always hate it when readers complain about blog material. It’s not like anyone is forcing you to read the blog or do what it says…

23 Ann S. March 6, 2013 at 8:42 pm

And Janet, haha, I stalk Pinterest too :)

24 Susan March 6, 2013 at 7:45 am

Kristen — thank you so much for this post! I’ve been on the fence about getting a smart phone for the past few weeks — I currently have the bottom-of-the-line Tracfone — and after reading your post have decided that that is all I need and want! Peer pressure can be very powerful, but I’m glad now that I am going to stick to my Luddite Life phone, and be more present in my own life, too!


25 Mary H March 7, 2013 at 10:48 am

Susan – I also have a basic Tracfone and occasionally wonder if I should upgrade. But what it boils down to for me is that I don’t need a smart phone and when/if I do, then I’ll get one.


26 peppergrass March 6, 2013 at 7:49 am

Thanks for this post. I was just thinking about this last night. I have a prepaid phone ($100/yr for something like 800 minutes). It does have a camera but it’s so crappy I never use it, and it will text but it’s fiddly and I’m just now learning how to do that. Dh’s employer gave him an iPhone for work, and I’ve been kind of envious – until I remember the monthly service fee. I used to have an old iPod (gave it to ds for Christmas) to check email, use apps, listen to podcasts and music, etc., but even that I noticed I used less and less (which is why it was ultimately given to ds). Now I notice myself having iPad envy….lol! It never ends, I guess.


27 Mama J March 6, 2013 at 8:00 am

Wait, you mean, I’m not alone?? I finally had to break down and get a new phone. I found it on sale for $4.99. Still pay as you go and I love it for all the reasons you stated above. Great post!


28 NMPatricia March 6, 2013 at 8:02 am

Thank you, thank you, thank you for the post. I have a phone that does nothing but act like a phone. No camera, no texting, no nothing. It is for emergencies – as in the car breaks down. My kids get frustrated I don’t have it “on” more. I would love to have a smart iphone. But I also know I don’t want the monthly fees. I also don’t want the opening to get sucked into the Internet, FB, email, etc. I waste enough time at home. I also don’t want the constant connectivity. I need alone time. One might argue, this is all about me, not the phone. And they are right. But it is the same reasons I don’t buy chips for at home.

Thank you for writing a post that helps me remember why I really don’t need a smart phone. And that lovely, important people as yourself :) function just fine without it. And your kids survive too.


29 Melissa March 6, 2013 at 8:03 am

I’m right there with you, with a big, clunky, ugly flip phone. Someday I’d like a smart phone, but not now.


30 Maureen March 6, 2013 at 8:06 am

Kristen, your post is interesting timing – Kerry who writes Squakfox (don’t know if you know of her – likely you do!) just wrote about her flip phone dying after 7 years and getting a smartphone. I wish I didn’t have one – it is handy to check train schedules on the way to the office (do I need to run to make the train?) and to keep me occupied if I’m stuck somewhere, and I “need” it for my job, but it does feel and act like a tether, and I dislike that in a major way. I envy your position! Anyway, Kerry’s post: http://www.squawkfox.com/2013/03/02/unlocked/


31 Tammy March 6, 2013 at 8:33 am

We have a pay-as-you-go phone as well (just one, which my husband and I share as needed). We got it for traveling/emergencies. We have it to use when we’re out, and we end up using minutes here and there to let one or the other know we’re on our way home, or ask a quick question, but we only load 1,000 minutes on it a YEAR so we obviously don’t spend that much time using it! I like that we can have a phone but that we don’t have to pay that much for it. We budget for buying the minutes once a year, so we know to expect that.

I feel like people in general are so attached to their phones, that they fail to live in the present when they are around other people. Recently I’ve seen phone conversations cut into: a wedding rehearsal (the call was very imortant, or so those that had to wait were told), at the library (a very loud conversation, at that), and at a homeschool co-op I went to (one mom kept ducking out to take phone calls, which disrupted the assembly/class time and left her kids to misbehave).

I’m sure I would use a smart phone and enjoy the various aps, but I do enjoy not being tied to technology everywhere I go!


32 JJL March 6, 2013 at 10:41 am

Where do you find pay-as-you-go phones that you can load only once a year or for only $9/mo? We have considered getting a phone for when we travel (usually camping in state parks) and for emergencies. My husband’s work flip phone is on the Sprint network and his employer allows us to take it on our trips but, everytime we have tried to use it, there is not service. It also rarely has service at our home.


33 Mrs. Abella March 6, 2013 at 11:02 am

We buy ours when needed at Walmart, Dollar General, Radio Shack. Mine cost all of $9 at Dollar General, and we got with my husband’s a life long double minutes package that came with his. When ever he loads a card, he gets double the minutes. Mine has tons of service time–right now I’m sitting on 2 years of time, never have yet run out of minutes, buying them every other month or less, maybe 30 mintues max.


34 AFS March 6, 2013 at 11:18 am

I have a Tracfone, I load minutes about once a year. and it averages less than $10/mo. If you travel or live out of range of cell service you will have the same problem as your husband’s work phone that would be true even with a smart phone.


35 Dawn March 6, 2013 at 11:53 am

Ditto–mine’s a Tracfone, too. And you can roll over whatever minutes you don’t use to the next year when you renew. Sweet.


36 Starla March 6, 2013 at 12:38 pm

We have a Tmobile pay as you go phone. Typically the minutes expire every 30 days, but if you pay $100 for 1000 minutes they will last for a year. That ends up being <$10 a month and I don't have to remember to buy new minutes every month.

37 Pseudo March 6, 2013 at 8:35 am

When we went to Europe I was very pleasantly surprised at how many people on the streets were still with basic flip phones around there! I would chalk this up to the American mindset of instant gratification.


38 Valerie March 6, 2013 at 8:47 am

I also have a pay-as-you-go phone. I didn’t even realize that I could text on it until my daughter told me, but I still don’t use that feature. I basically have it for emergencies and don’t have it on most of the time.


39 Shannon March 6, 2013 at 8:48 am

Have you thought about what you’re going to say once your kids ask you to buy them smartphones :)


40 Kristen March 6, 2013 at 8:58 am

Yep! It’ll be no. ;)

Once they’re old enough to drive, I’m sure we’ll provide them with a basic phone to use for, you know, talking, but I don’t think we’ll be financing anything beyond that.

For right now, a cell phone of any sort is completely unnecessary for any of them, especially since they’re homeschooled. And I don’t think asking for one has really occurred to any of them.


41 Meredith Phillips March 6, 2013 at 8:51 am

Your phone is pretty much like mine! Folds in half, pay as I go, no texting, no “smartness,” haha! I love it. Smartphones look very fun and I’m sure I would LOVE it if I had one, but we’re trying to hold out as long as possible. I know me and I would totally get sucked into all the cool apps, photo abilities, etc. Good to know there’s others out there like me, too :)


42 Glory Lennon March 6, 2013 at 8:56 am

Here I thought I was the only one without a smart phone–sidebar: why are they called smart when they are so complicated? end sidebar– You are so right that they are necessary for some people, but only some. My husband’s business has boomed so much and he’s away from the computer so much that he actually needs to read his emails while on the road, but more often than not he calls me up to reply to those emails. He just dictates to me what to write! LOL he can’t stand his smart phone! but he needs– gosh-darn-it! Me? I don’t see myself ever getting one for very same reasons you’ve stated…I got my laptop for that! Power to us with our “dumb” phones! :D


43 Jacqueline March 6, 2013 at 9:09 am

I think the world would be a nicer place if more people thought the way you do about smartphones!


44 Elizabeth March 6, 2013 at 9:15 am

I too still have a flip phone. The one thing I have been trying to figure out is why the thing has a camera, but dosen’t have a calculator! (Or am I the only one who calculates taxes in the store?)


45 AFS March 6, 2013 at 11:23 am

Are you sure it doesn’t have a calculator? Check in the “office Tools”.


46 Felicia March 6, 2013 at 9:16 am

I don’t have a smart phone either but I do text a lot. My kids are in their 20′s and that is their main mode of communication with me. I get along just fine without being connected 24/7.


47 Fereshteh March 6, 2013 at 9:39 am

And I don’t even have a flip phone! I’m often tempted to get a phone and it’s neat to play with my children’s smart phones occasionally, but I spend most of my work day in front of the computer so it’s important for me to get away from technology when I can. There have been two times in the past 10 years that I’ve desperately wished I had a phone, but that’s about it. In exchange I’ve had years of “peace” without the constant urge to call someone or check email or surf the web. I highly recommend the book “Hamlet’s Blackberry” for anyone interested in reading more about the topic of technology in our lives.


48 Starr @ The Kiefer Cottage March 6, 2013 at 9:21 am

We have very cheap smart phone plans through republic wireless (19/month unlimited).

However, I’m still a major under-user of this technology. I have no desire to be tethered to my phone at all hours, and you know, I actually enjoy my meal out when we dine at restaurants. I see people all around munching food and staring at their screens. Sometimes, the whole family has a separate device! Great for them, but not for me.


49 Susan March 6, 2013 at 9:23 am

I have NO cell phone. Neither does my husband.
I used to have one back in 1996-98. My mom bought it for me when I moved to LA and she was worried about me in the “big city”. But I ditched it when I realized I wasn’t really using it.
My husband is a teacher, so he has no time to be talking on the phone during the day. If I’m not at home, then I’m usually somewhere where I don’t want to be interrupted. (I hate it when I am at a store/park/public place and I have to hear someone else talking on the phone. Sometimes I want to say “Put that thing down and pay attention to the store clerk/your kids/the exhibit/the road please!”)
There’s probably one time a month where I think having a cell phone might be handy to call someone, but that still doesn’t justify spending at least $10 a month to have one.
I think it annoys my friends sometimes that they can’t just send me a text, but most people usually say that they wish they could be cell-phone-less as well. I do enjoy watching the expression on people’s faces when they ask for my mobile number and I have none to give them.
Also related: I also don’t have caller ID. It’s funny how people just assume you can see their name when you answer the phone and know who they are. They just start talking and I’m like “Um, Hi. Who is this?”


50 Kris March 6, 2013 at 2:42 pm

You are so right about not having caller ID! I have the same experience! And apparently I’m old-fashioned because I have an answering machine instead of a phonemail box. We do have indoor plumbing. ;)


51 Susan March 6, 2013 at 4:53 pm

Yes, I still use an answering machine, too.
I actually have an old corded phone that I keep around “just in case” the power goes out and I need to make a phone call. The kids love to play with it.
While convenient in some respects, I find cordless phones frustrating because of the built-in “planned obsolescence”. They design them so that in a couple years the batteries are toast, and you either can’t find replacements, are they are so expensive it’s cheaper to buy new phones.
It’s just wasteful.


52 Kris March 7, 2013 at 12:03 pm

My corded phone HAS come in handy during power outages although typically I use my cordless. I prefer calling from my landline because the connection is so much better than with my Tracfone, but you are right about the “planned obsolescence” with cordless phones. I find it to be true of so many appliances. But that’s another topic!


53 Lisa March 6, 2013 at 9:42 pm

I was beginning to feel very alone thinking I was the only one without a cell phone! I used to have one for traveling with work, but now that I am on a career break I just don’t see the need. I really do not want to be that connected (although, sometimes looking at products in the store I think it would be handy to have the ‘GoodGuide’ app in order to research a product then and there). And yes, I do annoy some friends and family with my lack of phone :) Just today, I was asked for a second telephone number, and when I said I didn’t have one to give, the lady gasped and said, what no cell phone? Nope!


54 Kristin March 6, 2013 at 9:25 am

I envy your choice of phone. As a small business owner and college professor, I am always connected to my clients and students. I do find that the phone helps me be more productive as I can respond to inquiries while waiting for an appointment to begin or between classes. I do often wish I could go back to the days when I was less reachable.


55 Rachel March 6, 2013 at 9:27 am

When I went to get a new phone….Nokia finally died…the salesperson said he’d never seen a phone like mine! It was that old! That said, there were very few options in the non smart phone department. The times they are a changing! As a mom of a 20 something son…we do keep in touch via texts…quick and easy way to stay connected…not so sure we’d talk every day. Right now my husband and I are working opposite shifts. Nice to be able to leave each other a quick note and an I love you.You may find as your kids get older your needs will change too.


56 Kristie March 6, 2013 at 9:30 am

Thanks for the post! I had a smartphone a couple of years ago, but found myself TOTALLY addicted to it. When my contract was up, I downgraded to just talk and text. I do sometimes miss having everything at my fingertips, but I can live just fine without it and I don’t plan on going back. I sometimes feel that I am the weird one without a smartphone, so thanks again for the great post!


57 Lili@creativesavv March 6, 2013 at 9:32 am

I haven’t found a need for a cell phone of any sort as of yet. I don’t do long drives solo, or need to be urgently reached when I’m at the store. And our landline is part of a package that includes our internet, and is paid for by my grown son, as he needs fast internet for his job (he sees it as a work-related expense, and until he moves out, we all get great internet access). My family knows how to reach me and what my schedule is throughout the week.

Now with my kids, when my son went to university, we bought a prepaid phone (which he still uses), and my two daughters will also be starting university and we’ll buy them prepaids as well. For the kids, I felt it was a security thing for them to have a phone with them at all times, but certainly not a smart phone (at least not on my dime).

I see the benefit of cell phones for many people, but for me, it would be consumer overkill. I prefer to make my phone calls in the privacy of my home, which I can do on our landline.


58 lisa March 6, 2013 at 11:09 am

Just left a similar message about being cell phone free. I am so glad there is another luddite out there. I am glad that I am still smarter than my phone! :-)


59 Lili@creativesavv March 6, 2013 at 12:40 pm

Hi Lisa,
I just read your other comment. I feel the same way about not wanting to be reached at all hours, everywhere I go. I should post a picture of our kitchen phone. It IS a rotary dial phone! We plucked it out of a garbage pile when our church was redoing the kitchen there. We get more comments on that phone than anything else in our house!

While on vacation a couple of years ago, my brother wanted to be able to reach us regularly, so we could get together. He loaned us one of their cell phones, and I thought it was such a nuisance to have to interrupt whatever I was doing to answer his calls, several times a day. Maybe if I had figured out how to use features on the phone, like turning the ringer off, and how to check for messages, it would have been a bit less interrupting to our family vacation.

I still have one of those prepaid phone cards. So, if I’m traveling and need to make a long-distance call home, I can call on the hotel phone or from a pay phone, with the card. So far, this has worked fine for us. Afterall, most of us never did have cell phones until a decade or two ago, and we managed okay.


60 kris March 6, 2013 at 9:32 am

Dumb phone along with a pay-as-you-go plan for me! I’ve had my phone almost 3 years and I think it’ll survive a nuclear attack! I’ve dropped that phone I don’t know how many times & it still looks great (I don’t even have a case on it) It does have a camera, however for some reason (for about the last month or so), whenever I try to send a picture, it won’t let me & tells me my memory is full & I have to delete the attachement. But no biggie, I always have my digital camera with me, so if I need a shot, I use that. My husband just got a smart phone and sits over on the couch trying to figure it out and is frustrated with it. Who needs that? Not me!


61 JB March 6, 2013 at 9:36 am

Yeah!!! It is so nice to hear from some one else that isn’t trapped in the constant “phone/internet connection”. My children insist I’m a dinosaur since I refuse to be “connected” 24/7. I do have a monthly cell phone plan as my home phone is not very reliable and I do live in the country.


62 Debbie March 6, 2013 at 9:44 am

I was just talking to my husband about this very same thing this morning. No matter where you go, meetting at work, public places, wherever, people are never “in the present”, they are staring at their phones. It’s crazy. People don’t even talk to other people on their phones anymore, they just stare at them. I don’t want to be connected to the world 24/7, I want to connect with the people I am with at the moment. I don’t care that the world doesn’t know or care about my every move and I sure don’t need a smartphone to keep me entertained with silly games.


63 Amy @ Fun With Family and Fitness March 6, 2013 at 9:46 am

Wow, Kristen, I am happy to know that I my husband and I are not the only ones on earth without Smartphones! As a matter of fact, we don’t text, either! That may change when in a year or so when our daughter goes to middle school, but for now, we just don’t need to. Believe me, I get some shocked looks when I tell people I don’t text! Call me old fashioned, but when I need to talk to my husband or friends, I’d rather just TALK to them! Plus, those data plans can be pretty pricey for familes on a tight budget!


64 Kelly Wright March 6, 2013 at 9:47 am

I like that you don’t have a smartphone, and I don’t think they are for everyone. I went through 4 years of med school and 3 years of residency before I finally switched for work. I saw the other residents with their smart phones being more efficient … instead of getting to the hospital super early to log on to computers and print off patient lists, labs, and notes, they could pull everything up on their phones and iPads right on the spot. They were also saving paper. So the smartphone has become the key to efficiency in the hospital.

However, outside of work, everything goes away (the result of being tied to a pager for so long means that I do not want to be contacted when I am not working). I hate it when I’m out to dinner and see people just going to town on their smartphones and not talking to each other.


65 Meredith March 6, 2013 at 9:48 am

I found your blog a couple of months ago. I like you even better now…and I had a fantastic first impression. I still have a pay as you go phone too. I don’t want to be connected when I go out. My camera works fine. My life functions properly without it. It seems frustrating though how I get comments all of the time about me (and my husband) needing a smart phone. I bought it for 20 bucks and last year I put 20 bucks on it. It has the capability to check email but it’s a pain to do it. I guess if I had to I could. So refreshing too to see so many people here who don’t have smart phones!!!


66 Candice March 6, 2013 at 10:08 am

My husband and I share a cell phone plan with my mom. All three of us have smart phones, but we don’t have any landlines. For one year, my mom pays the bill. Then for two years, we pay the bill. It’s super handy to divy it up like and we think it’s cheaper than paying for cell phones plus landlines.

We all text quite a bit, at least in our opinions. In fact, my husband and I commute to work together and when I’m leaving work, I text him so he knows I’m on my way. The time varies so it is important to let him know when I’m leaving.

So anyway I said all that to say that for us this works and we think it’s either cheaper or worth the extra to have these services. I will say I respect your commitment to keeping the “budget creep” out!


67 Katy Wolk-Stanley March 6, 2013 at 10:15 am

I think the reason why you and I are happily plugging along with our non-smart phones is that we’re mostly at home. They are hugely helpful for full time workers and those who are out and about a lot.

I really wished I had one when I spent a week in NYC by myself last year.

Then again, my husband switched over to an iPhone last fall and I can barely get his attention at home these days. Hate that.


68 Susanne March 6, 2013 at 10:24 am

I am the worst-of-the-worst…..I have smart phone b/c my husband upgraded my phone for me (I could never get calls on the old one!) and he got a great deal on this one. However, I NEVER use its internet capability, so I pay for the monthly charge “in-case” I ever need to use something like the GPS component! How silly!


69 Battra92 March 6, 2013 at 10:26 am

One day my wife will pull me kicking and screaming into the land of smartphones but I highly doubt it will be any time soon. I think she’d be satisfied if I decided to actually add be able to text from my phone (I did break down and ponied up the $10 a month for unlimited texting although the idea of paying for something that literally costs the phone company nothing is ludicrous at best.

Much of my wife’s family is well off financially and they all (including one cousin who is all of 12 years old) have the latest and greatest smartphones. I’m the curiosity because I don’t communicate in short texts back and forth. I actually call my family and talk fairly regularly. I send emails back and forth with my brother daily.

I carry a notebook with me to jot down notes on with my fountain pen because I’m cool like that. My iPod died recently but I have a CD player in my car and one in my work computer and at home I have my main system including Vinyl. I don’t need to access the web 24/7 and after working IT for for almost 13 years (5.5 of them full time as a career) I’m sick of computers.

Smartphones also have the bad side effect of being the showoff equipment. Just like some like to show off their stereo or their gigantor sized TV or their super expensive and loud car, some have taken the humble telephone and have turned it into the latest thing to shove in everyone else’s face. Seriously, no one cares about your phone, tablet, computer or anything else you bought.


70 Mrs. Abella March 6, 2013 at 10:56 am

Where do you find fountain pens?? I’d love to sit down with one and write my blog posts and bible journalling with somethign like that… :)


71 SarahD March 6, 2013 at 10:34 am

Ha ha!! I’ve ventured into flip phone world as well, but am still a proud “dumb phone” user. I miss my little “brick” phone. It was the same one you had, Kristen. I jumped into a pool with it in my pocket (involves “rescuing” one of my children who was perfectly fine) and had to replace it with a poor substitute since they didn’t make that one anymore. I have poor reception in my area with T-Mobile, especially with the new phone, and I got fed up with having no reception 50% of the places I went. So when my minutes expired, I got a Verizon prepaid phone, which was twice the price per minute, but still less than getting a monthly plan. The reception is hugely better, which is great during power outages as my backup communication, and when I’m out an about in our rather moutainous terrain. We, unfortunately, have too many outages, sometimes for days at a time. So I feel more secure with this plan. It’s still only about 15 dollars per month.


72 My Life March 6, 2013 at 10:43 am

I just upped my phone. I was like you these past 3 years. I just have a phone for security/safety reasons BUT I like to send ‘I Love You’ texts to my daughters & husband during the day.
For only ninety nine CENTS (you read that correctly) I got a new, iPhone 4, in white, and for only $14 a month more, I share my husband’s mobile plan via AT&T.
I still will only use my phone for emergencies & texting, BUT it’s nice to be part of the 21st century. Not keeping up with technology (even though I’m still slightly behind) to me, would be like having Alexander Graham Bell hand me his new invention (the telephone) and declining, thus missing out on the greatest American innovations of all time.
We are living in great times, we should experience them and be appreciative. Nobody is forcing you to waste your time on the web or in front of a boob tube BUT we should experience all of what this century has to offer. (within reason, of course)
Just my two cents.


73 Dawn March 6, 2013 at 10:51 am

I know that smartphones are just a tool, and that they can do a lot of things– but I know my weaknesses, and the constant availability of all of those tools and toys would be a huge distraction to me in life. We don’t even have high speed internet at home yet–(the joys of living in the “boonies”). Supposedly it will become available to us in the next year or so. In anticipation, I’ve been thinking a lot about the changes it will mean in our internet usage, and I have to say, I’m preparing myself ahead of time to purposefully limit things. When you have to wait for dial-up, you think through whether what you want to do online is worth it or not; but when everything is instantly at your finger tips, there is so much you CAN do that it can be all-consuming. My 17-year-old and I just had a conversation yesterday about how addicting it can all be. She’s young, and all the toys and gadgets are appealing to her, but I want her to see the dangers as well. I love that because of my simple cell phone, I could reach someone in an emergency, and that people can reach me when they need to….sometimes! I like that I can send a short “love you, honey” to my husband during the day by text, but I don’t want to be addicted to the technology available and miss out on too many of the real things going on about me right now. And–the extra money we have each month because we keep it simple truly makes a difference.


74 Rachel W. March 6, 2013 at 9:37 pm

My sister is 40 and all the gadgets appeal to her. I really think it is more an individual thing than an age thing. There was a point in time where I couldn’t have a conversation with her without her whipping out her iPhone or iPad on some pretext or another. Yup. People like to pick on the teenagers but I’ve seen it just as bad in older people.


75 Dawn March 7, 2013 at 10:23 am

Yes, I think you are right–a lot depends on the person and not necessarily their age. My mother is hooked to her iphone, and my sister as well. Sometimes it’s almost kind of scary! Still, I think that kids are exposed to so much technology–gaming, ipods, ipads, computers, texting, facebook, etc., etc–at an age when they are being molded and shaped that it can easily become an unhealthy part of their life.


76 Mrs. Abella March 6, 2013 at 10:53 am

AMEN! At times it feels like everyone on earth has one of those smart phones.

Like you, hubby and I use a little pay as you go type, seldom put minutes on them, and seldom really use them. Mine doesn’t even flip, it’s as basic as they get, can’t even change the ringer, no cameras, no frills. I use mine mainly for my bus/van route for church, and while travelling beyond the city limits of our town in case something should happen. Hubby uses his even less. We use a landline phone for everything, our package includes unlimited long distance bundled with internet, we use an old dinosaur desktop computer and have a lap top that is our “backup” that doesn’t leave the house, seldom goes beyond the living room. If it weren’t for doing Etsy and selling handmade clothing online, I wouldn’t even bother with the laptop, but it holds the Adobe programs and more storage than the desktop.

I love the simplicity of not being tied to a phone, not having to see what’s online alllll the time, seeing the little things in life instead of the little keys on a phone. I LOVE being “disconnected” from the net and phones when away from home and out and about. It’s almost like watching zombies walking with heads down and looking at phones, instead of seeing the world around them and missing out on the things God offers. I grew up in the 80′s and 90′s and totally appreciate the technology out now, but still at times miss the days of the far and few between things that now suck the life out of folks and chain them to little pieces of plastic.

You go girl!


77 lisa March 6, 2013 at 11:05 am

Well Kristen I will one up you. I am free of any type of cell phone… although I do use a cordless at home (I am not such a luddite that I still use a rotary phone! Haha) I just found with my job, if someone wants me after hours they can call my house phone, and leave a message…yes on an answering machine! At the same time, while traveling, I prepare for all circumstances along with faith in my God and hopefully the kindness of neighbors. Definitely don’t want to be ‘plugged’ in all the time.


78 Kim C March 6, 2013 at 11:21 am

This post made me laugh! I don’t have a smartphone either! And…I have no desire at all to have one. We have a family plan with our cellphones and have 4 phones on it. My husband, myself, our 16 year old daughter and my mother-in-law(for safety reasons). My husband has to have a smartphone with his job and we have the cheapest plan we can get. The 3 additional phones cost just $10 each per month. However, we no longer have a landline so cellphones is the only type of phone we have. I homeschool, but teens still like to stay in touch with friends and I like to be able to reach her when we is away from us, so that’s why she has one, but she can only use it after her work is done and at certain times of the day unless she asks permission. Guess what else? We have texting blocked on all of our phones! I hate seeing people sit and text constantly instead of giving the people sitting with them their full attention. Our 16 year old is currently taking driver’s education at the local public school and the first class includes the parents. One of the state troopers talking to the crowd told us that texting was the number one cause of fatal accidents for girls and speed for boys. He then asked who had over 1,000 text messages in a month. Almost all the kids raised their hands. Finally, after some digging one girl admitted to having over 31,000 text messages last month alone!!! I have to say that I think the whole texting thing is way out of hand and I think more parents should ban it altogether. What person, especially a teen, needs to be available to their friends every minute of every day? A person working in the office of the school told my daughter yesterday that the kids have permission to use their cellphones anywhere on school grounds and anytime expect in the classroom during class! Isn’t that crazy! I was so suprised. I think something should be done, I really do. I even have friends that can’t even watch a movie in a theater without texting during the movie. Crazy, just crazy as it can be. Give me my old flip phone any day. Thanks for posting!


79 Deb March 6, 2013 at 1:01 pm

I have my parents on our plan too, had to buy them the phone (course it was free, when Verizon used to do totally free phones), but it was the only way they were going to get one, if I got it and showed them how to use it……..


80 Wendy March 6, 2013 at 11:30 am

without internet (a computer at all, actually) at home, i do have a smart phone. I am careful not to spend “all day” online though. I don’t have facebook or twitter. No pintrest or instagram. There are 5 blogs i read each morning (you being one!) and i check my email in the morning and at night. And of course, when i need to research something in regards to the homeschooling of my kids (3 boys, 9, 6, & 7 months), i use my phone to do that. That’s it. Oh, but i do use a prepaid phone. Since we also don’t have a landline, it’s my phone too (imagine that! Lol!), so it costs $25 a month for all the minutes (more actually but i’m on the smallest plan) i use plus unlimited web, data, and texts. So i feel like i’m still getting a good deal :).


81 Susan March 6, 2013 at 11:51 am

I’m proud of you. You have probably saved $1500 extra over the last two years. I wish I could say the same thing about myself. Are your kids in any sports or scouting activities? I get emails from other families on our sport’s teams where they expect an answer within a few minutes? How do you handle that without a smart phone?


82 The Norwegian Girl March 6, 2013 at 12:00 pm

I first got a smart phone in September, after my old one was slowly dying (it was over 4 years old). But I was quite reasonable, and bought a cheap smart phone, and just this march I got a really cheap cell phone plan, so yes, I have modern smart phone, but my money spending on it is on the low.


83 Tara March 6, 2013 at 12:00 pm

It’s not for us either. We do have pre-paid text capable phones because my husband needs one for work and on occasion it’s easier to reach each other this way. But we are not phone addicted people. More often than not I forget where mine even is. I am always saddened and sometimes appalled by how many people I see walking down the street looking at a phone rather than where they are going. I’ve seen people walk into things. During my son’s swim lessons I have often been the only parent actually WATCHING my child’s swim lessons and we can talk about it after. At homeschool groups-same thing. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve walked into a restaurant with whole families sitting at a table and most if not all members are staring at a phone. No one is talking to each other. I’ve been nearly run off the road or smashed into by texters. In fact, my husband knows someone whose twenty-something year old son is facing prison time because he was texting while driving and caused a fatal accident. There are some instances that they can indeed be helpful and moments where it would be nice to have them in that ONE moment. But I don’t want to be one of those people sucked into that small screen and missing life or worse-causing havoc for it.

I get it Kristen. They are not for me for now either. Might be someday but there are a long list of reasons NOT to have one.


84 CJ March 6, 2013 at 12:17 pm

I love this post. I was completely against owning a smartphone for quite a while. I too didn’t want to be constantly connected online. I really envy your ability to stay strong. :)

My work as a blogger and VA has really picked up though and I enjoy the fact that I can leave home without stressing that I will miss out on a time sensitive email or opportunity, even if it means answering an email while grocery shopping. lol (I know… I am one of those people that used to drive me crazy!)


85 Inga March 6, 2013 at 12:21 pm

After our last flip-phone died my husband was determined to get an i-phone. Ironically, neither one of us texts or uses the internet, so we have a very basic plan where we’re not paying for that stuff (although, it is annoying to pay monthly). Generally, we only use our phone for long distance (since that’s not part of our home plan) and emergencies (we have a son with potentially life threatening food allergies and asthma, so the phone goes with whoever has him). My husband and I share the one phone, which completely baffles most people! I would have been fine with a basic flip-phone, but I’ve found a major benefit of my iphone is the video camera. I personally love that my family can go places together and just enjoy the moment without be distracted by texts and e-mails.


86 Jackie March 6, 2013 at 12:29 pm

I don’t have a cell phone at all. I had one when I was in my early twenties, but got rid of it almost eight years ago. Some people in my family are always on me to get one for safety, but I love the freedom of not having one. I am home or at work the majority of the time. I absolutely love not having to be bothered with a ringing phone when I am out getting groceries or running errands. Although many may disagree, I think that it is important as a society to look at people and give our full attention to them. To me, there is nothing more disrespectful than seeing someone chatting away on the phone while a cashier is ringing up their groceries. America is desperately in need of unhooking and unplugging from technology. We need to start paying attention to the people around us. I don’t plan on getting a cell phone of any type anytime soon. I want to instill the importance of face-to-face interactions with my daughter as she’s growing up!


87 Renee W March 6, 2013 at 12:30 pm

I almost wish I would have never went over to the dark side, because you are right it really is a time suck…


88 Jen March 6, 2013 at 12:30 pm

No smart phone for me either. But I do text on my prepaid phone, which began as a way to keep in touch with my 20-something employees and caregivers for my mom. They don’t answer their cell phones, listen to voice messages or read e-mail. I don’t mind texting but use it for necessary things like schedule changes or medication updates, not chatting.
I did get a mini Ipad for my birthday so that I can check e-mail while traveling. My prepaid phone is not the best in some locations. I look forward to the day when I can be out of contact again when out of town, but as the caregiver for my 90 year old mom it is not happening right now. It has come in handy for looking up museum hours and addresses or places to stay, but free wi-fi gives me plenty of access to that without the cost I’d pay for a smart phone.
The smart phone has become an addiction for a lot of people–they ALL have an off button.


89 Sarah March 6, 2013 at 12:35 pm

Well. I don’t even have a cell phone. I had one when I was single. Then another when I was newly married and commuting to work in a different town. But now, being a stay at home mom to two girls and really only driving around town, I don’t own a phone. I suspect at some point, I will feel the need for one. But for now, I cannot justify the cost. And from this discussion, it reminds me that it cuts out a lot of other distractions too.


90 Deb March 6, 2013 at 12:57 pm

I have a dumb phone but I do have unlimited texting, but I have three teens, and one is at college, so it is how we keep in touch and it is great for the quick things that I need to tell him as his schedule is CRAZY! They can also text me when they need picked up from work, etc. etc., but no internet…….


91 Natalie March 6, 2013 at 1:25 pm

Im 23 years old, never owned a smartphone and not planning to in the near future. I do text, but only when it’s necessary. And I forget my phone at home more often than not. Like you I love the freedom from the internet. My husbands smartphone is my worst enemy, it’s with him everywhere 24/7 literally. I feel like he spends more time with his phone than with me and our baby. One day that thing will get smashed into little pieces against some concrete. Ok maybe not, but things need to change in our house and this article will be the subject of conversation tonight.


92 Jeannette March 6, 2013 at 1:31 pm

You’re lucky that you have the option to NOT have a smart phone. I don’t travel beyond errands in my neighborhood and occasional US trip but for work, I need to be able to send and receive texts, sometimes more than any calls I make or take. (I try to limit texting with friends and families but the teens and 20-and 30-somethings prefer to communicate via text. If I want to connect, I text.)

The few apps I downloaded have proved incredibly helpful and the ability to go online to check a variety of things while running errands is very valuable and time-saving. I don’t use the phone for games, viewing videos and only take a few pix (quality and a problem with being able to email them have limited this option).

A lot of people only have smart phones so they can be like everyone else and to play, as it were. But many folks have because of their work requirements and/or to maintain contact with people.

If I could afford the very expensive monthly plans, I’d have a better quality smart phone and better/faster (4G) service. It takes me quite a bit longer to do anything than when a friend, in the same place with me, uses their upscale smart phone and/or iPhone to do the same thing. But then, they are paying four or five (if not more) times for their monthly service. I can’t afford it.


93 Rachel W. March 6, 2013 at 2:03 pm

I love text messages because I hate talking on the phone. Have ever since I was a young child. Texts allow me to stay in touch with people on a more regular basis than they (or I) would get if I could only call them. Thankfully, the people who matter to me understand (and put up with my anti-talking-on-phones feels).


94 Kristen March 6, 2013 at 2:57 pm

I’m not a talk on the phone kind of person either! I tend to email instead.


95 Jill March 6, 2013 at 2:12 pm

I second Economies of Kale! I thought I was just fine with my phone until….. I broke down and purchased the iPhone when my “old” phone broke. My world has changed. I found myself looking up a diaper deal when I was at Target yesterday. It saved me $5 on Huggies! I also cannot live without the app Xspense that Economies blogged about. Love!


96 Joy Clark March 6, 2013 at 2:18 pm

All I have is a bogstandard mobile. It does text but I don’t use that much. It does take photos but I don’t use that because they’re not very good. I only have it really for when I’m on journeys in case the car breaks down! So it doesn’t cost me very much either.
J x


97 Linda M March 6, 2013 at 2:16 pm

Lovely post! I, too, have a pay-as-you-go phone. For my husband and myself, it is an economical choice that works quite well for us and meets our needs well. I am often in amazement in how little some people actually “talk” rather they text. Seems we are losing some of the closeness we should have with conversations, body language, and facial expressions…never mind the being together. With that said, I truly understand the convenience they are for staying in touch, peace of mind and keeping track of our children. I think it has to be an individual choice. But, it is an added expense that needs to be looked at by everyone….just like our bills….do we need it….or do we just want it?


98 Deanna March 6, 2013 at 2:58 pm

Isn’t it nice to be places and no one can bother you or those you are with!!??!! We only have a basic – non closeable cell in the car for emergencies.
It to me is the height of rudness when we are out to a restaurant to eat with friends and they answer and talk on their phone and leave us to talk with each other. Dee


99 Crystal R March 6, 2013 at 3:30 pm

Sometimes I feel like a bit of an oddity as well. I mean we only have 1 car for our family of 4 (hubby drives to work and comes home at lunch so if I need the car that’s when I get it), we have 1 cell phone for our whole family (it does have a camera – but that’s because it the least expensive phone that our local phone/internet/etc provider carried.) We have a desktop computer, no tablets, no laptops, no e-readers (though that is the one I want to change), one mp3 player (an old i-pod shuffle) and actually don’t currently have a television (best way to get rid of cable/dish salesmen – just tell them you don’t have a tv… they’re gone in less than a minute!). I like the simplicity of living this way, but sometimes feel that I am a weird person for it! (And sometimes feel that I need to get with the times, but those are fleeting ;). It’s great to know that I’m not alone in the old-school cell phone thing (and texting)!


100 cheri March 6, 2013 at 3:53 pm

I’m with you! Although I do text, it saves a lot of time for me. People do laugh when I pull out my antiquated flip phone, but I laugh right along with them:)


101 EcoCatLady March 6, 2013 at 4:10 pm

I am TOTALLY with you! I have the el cheapo phone much like yours – no camera, no internet, and I couldn’t send a text message if my life depended on it! Seriously, I have no clue. It’s really nice to still live in a world where phones are dumb and people are smart!

I just can’t see putting myself in a position to be “on call” like that 24/7. My life belongs to me, not to whomever decides they want my attention at the moment!

I have a pre-paid plan that I have to fund with $10 every 3 months to keep it active, but the only times I’ve ever used it up is if there’s been some sort of emergency or if the land line goes down.

Speaking of which… my only concern about my system is that land line service in my neighborhood is getting less and less reliable. The problem is that the lines are really old and they just don’t want to make the investment to replace them. My brother ended up being forced into the world of the smartphone because his land line service went down and it was such a low priority for the company that they told him it would take 6-9 MONTHS (not kidding) to get it restored!

At the moment I’m seriously considering switching away from the phone company with their unreliable phone service and ridiculously slow DSL, and going with Comcast internet and digital phone service. I’m not wild about some of their company policies though… I’m concerned about usage caps…

Does anybody have any experience with them for phone and internet?


102 Sara March 6, 2013 at 5:21 pm

Sadly, my family is completely swallowed up in the technology of today. There have been times where all 5 us of (me, husband, 3 kids) are in the same room and no one is actually present. It’s either phones, ipods, computers…something. Sometimes I actually force everyone to put everything away and spend time together. I believe life was much simpler before there was smart everything. Technology is a beautiful thing, but it can also be pretty tough on family interaction. Thanks for this.


103 Diane March 6, 2013 at 5:49 pm

My son told me that many young people today have only iPhones or iPads…no computers whatsoever. I think the iPhone is terrific and would love one, except data plan cost per month.

And as for the people on the plane with you, here’s something: “I heard internet addiction is now an official mental disorder and you can go to rehab for it….I’m only going if they have wifi!”


104 Kelly March 6, 2013 at 5:56 pm

We are smart-er for not having a smart phone. I, like you, and others on this blog, do not have a one. I am quite proud that I don’t have to be like everyone else ( including my husband and my kids)! I am happy with my military-quality, trusty “flip” phone. Cheers to all of us misfits!!!!:)


105 Karen March 6, 2013 at 6:09 pm

Ha! My husband has a phone like that because he is self employed in construction so uses it for business, says he will throw it in the lake (figuratively) when he retires. The other three of us, including two in their late teens, share one that is an add on to his business account. The phone company sent it to us “free”, probably hoping we would have to bump up the minutes on his account. So far it has been charged twice in three years, spends most of its time in a drawer in the front hall, and I use it so infrequently that I was positive it was red. It is grey. The case is red. I think we have maybe used ten minutes on it. It just soooo doesn’t interest me.


106 Holly March 6, 2013 at 6:41 pm

I have a smartphone, but I recognize that it is what works for me and that it may not be what other people want or need. We all need to make decisions about where our money and time are best spent. I use a prepaid smart phone, do not have a landline, nor do I have a Kindle or tablet or anything like that because I don’t deem it necessary. Frugality doesn’t mean always having the cheapest or least stuff, it means making smart decisions about what is right for you and I think it’s good that you are having this discussion with yourself in your head!


107 Patti March 6, 2013 at 6:57 pm

Hi Kristen,

I feel the same. I have a phone with low minutes. 200 anytime. I never go over. The phone has no texting or internet ability. It’s off unless I make a call. I was thinking of going to a pre-paid but decided to keep this one because it is very reasonable. Being retired from the phone company I get a discount so it behooves me to keep it. People hate that it’s always off. They ask what would happen in an emergency? I say, the same thing prior to cells. Contact me at home.



108 Sarah March 6, 2013 at 8:00 pm

My hubby and I are still in the land of pay-as-you-go minutes and non-smartphones, as well. I don’t have the fold in half type, but he does. We’re fine with it. I have the internet at home and that’s all I need. I cancelled my big money plan and am sooooo happy I did!! We save so much $$!


109 Carla March 6, 2013 at 8:36 pm

I am a 25 year-old computer programmer, and I have a basic cell phone with texting, but no internet. I’m on a family plan with my immediate family, which means it is much cheaper ($27 per month) than most of my contemporaries’ phone plans and minutes used to call my family don’t count! I also have a “dumb” work cell phone, as I do not have a desk phone at work, and I am often on call. I could get a work BlackBerry if I wanted, but I have chosen not to. The argument that I have made to my coworkers is that if it is something that truly requires my attention outside of work hours, I’m going to need to boot up my work laptop anyway. I already work long hours and quite a bit of overtime; I don’t need excuses to check in to work when I am at home. Plus I’m saving the company money!

My husband and I did buy a pay-as-you-go phone for each of us when we were in Sweden last year. I was not comfortable wandering around a different country where I didn’t speak the language with no way to contact him (he spent most of the first few days at a conference). It worked out great!


110 In The Minority March 6, 2013 at 11:15 pm

You are not alone. :) I have a prepaid phone that has a basic camera in it and takes video, but I don’t even use that. Have no plans of getting a fancy-schmancy-new-fangled phone. I find it highly irritating when people are checking their phones every minute of the day. Sometimes people need to learn to unplug and just be, you know? Also, if a person cannot sit and have a decent conversation without checking their phone – what are their priorities? It generally means that what they are doing is more important than you.

Also deleted my FB account. I’m probably in the minority here, but I see all of these things as time wasters, not things that enrich my life all that much. I find it much more enjoyable and enriching to spend time with people one-on-one, and have time to just read a book, have peace without media stimulation sometimes. Maybe I’m old-school, but I like it that way, and sometimes I miss the old days as well.


111 Anjana March 7, 2013 at 2:18 am

I just now got a smart phone. I had a basic phone before that. And for a blissful year after my son was born and I started staying home, I had NO cell phone. I actually miss those days…kinda!


112 Kate W March 7, 2013 at 9:44 am

I really appreciate how you present this (and so many of your posts) with no judgement; a very grace-filled ability. Personally, I have chosen the smartphone, but go without all that it replaces: home internet, landline, tv, cable etc. We all try to do the best we can with the tools we have. Lately, there has been an “open letter” circulating fb, addressing the mom with the iphone at the playground, admonishing her for ignoring her children in favor of the glowing screen of her phone. I recognized myself in both sides of the letter, distracted mother and disapproving observer, and felt a double-whammy of shame. Then, I read this: http://friedokra4me.blogspot.com/2013/03/dear-mom-on-iphone-i-get-it.html?m=1 which I think is a touching and powerful response. Thank God we have been given teachings of compassion and forgiveness to follow, we all could use a little more grace.


113 Elizabeth March 7, 2013 at 9:59 am

I first got a smart phone “by accident.” I spent the first two weeks downloading apps, watching videos, going crazy. I had tried to resist its siren song for so long and there I was, playing with my phone for hours.

Two years later, I RARELY use any of my “apps” or my camera phone. However, with the nature of my work, I must have constant access to my e-mail account. I also travel quite often and prefer to use the e-Ticket system for Amtrak, and it’s handy to have bus schedules to access for my other daily travels. Et cetera et cetera.

So I cannot quite get rid of the phone, as much as I’d like to. But I do try not to use it when spending time with loved ones and I put it on vibrate starting 7 PM. Good on you for not falling into temptation, Kristen! ;)


114 Ada March 7, 2013 at 3:03 pm

I just got my first smartphone after having a flip phone for the past 15 years. My flip phone was able to access the internet, facebook and my emails but it was small with no pictures. My husband got the smartphone for me for Xmas (it cost $0 with the rebate). When I went to activiate it, the girl at the store told me “oh, you don’t want this phone, this is the phone we recommend for teenagers who don’t need their phones to do a lot” (I’m 36.) I told her the phone was fine for my needs.

I live in Silicon Valley and so many people have very high tech phones, and pay the very high prices for them as well. I just can’t justify spending upwards of $300 every year and a half for the newest iphone.


115 Nancy March 7, 2013 at 4:56 pm

I too love the freedom of a dumb phone.


116 EngineerMom March 7, 2013 at 5:26 pm

Glad to hear I’m not the only tech-savvy person to live with a cell phone that can’t even take a picture!

Though I do send text messages relatively frequently (1xday), and DH and I have been talking about getting a smart phone just so when I need to catch a bus I don’t end up standing in the rain with the kids for 30 minutes because the bus is running off schedule. Right now, the idea of adding to our monthly financial commitments is the barrier. That and knowing I’d be very tempted to be online way more than I really need to be!


117 Arleen March 7, 2013 at 8:03 pm

I am still the only person I know who does not have a cell phone, and I don’t want one.


118 Dwight E. March 8, 2013 at 10:01 am

Wow, congrats! My job got me and early “Crack Berry” and I still use it. I can only imagine what it would be like, having one of the modern smart phones that Apple makes in this day and age.


119 Denise March 8, 2013 at 10:17 am

Amen! Though not from your generation, I still would rather have personal contact with people! I do caught up on computer sites and waste time, so when i am away from it I am AWAY from it. It is irritating that people HAVE to have their phone at the expense of real relationships!


120 Lisa March 8, 2013 at 12:22 pm

I have not commented on your blog before, but have almost commented several times,lol. I really enjoy your blog, and like some others, my family situation is not identical to yours ( kids grown, out of the house, raised them as a single mom ) and still find a lot of wonderful things to read and learn from your blog.

I also have a smart phone ( fairly recently obtained it) and I really really enjoy it. I don’t “need” it. I like it. I have made an effort to make sure that it does not overtake any part of my life ( financially or w/ time ). I still enjoyed reading why you have made a different choice.

Long story short…I love your blog :)


121 Rachel @ the minimalist mom March 11, 2013 at 9:10 am

I am one of those people that actually got rid of their smart phone.

I think I had mine for just over a year before we moved overseas. I sold mine and got a cheap pay as you go with no camera or date – it’s not even a flip!.

It was a great choice for me. I love not having the temptation to check email or the Internet when I am away from home.

Now… I do have an iPod touch. Which can almost be like an iPhone. I mostly use a few apps on it, like our budgeting app, and use it to read when I am nursing. There isn’t a lot of free wifi where I live so if I bring it with me when I am out of the house it’s usually just to use the calendar or enter spending in the budget app.


122 Allie March 16, 2013 at 9:11 am

I agreed with you all the way. I lost my smartphone for about 4 months a couple of years ago. Having to spend 400 bucks for a new one was not in my budget, so I went without until I had saved up the money. I have to tell you that it was the best decision I’ve ever made. The freedom is amazing. I keep a small prepaid phone with me now, in the event of an emergency but other than that I do not use mobile phones. Nice too see someone else shares my sentiments.


123 Kristen W March 16, 2013 at 12:41 pm

I call my old fashioned cell phone like yours my amish phone! I get laughed at all the time—my 4 kids and btw—I LOVE LOVE your blog! Thank you for your wisdom and encouragement. I kinda like not being like the other moms who are so cool.


124 Kate March 16, 2013 at 12:42 pm

Yes! Glad to here from another smart phone -less person under 60! We do exist! I actually don’t even have any desire for one.



125 Kate April 5, 2013 at 4:07 pm

Thanks so much for your post – my feelings exactly. More and more, it seems people spend their waking hours in what seems to be a state of suspended animation: hunched over, peering at a little screen and totally oblivious to surroundings. This happens EVERYWHERE: during live dance performances, on fitness equipment at the health club (while someone is waiting to use the machine), in the middle of a busy walkway causing folks to trip to get around. It’s bad enough when people are enslaved by their smart phones. It’s even worse when they are tuned out and disturbing, inconveniencing and/or simply being rude to those around them.


126 Elaine May 18, 2013 at 5:28 pm

Thanks for this blog. Comforting to know that I’m not weird or absurd for not subscribing for a smartphone, doesn’t everyone including developing countries have them? My well meaning sister and brother insist on it. I have a regular cell phone, 7inch tablet/wifi at work and dsl/landline at home. My husband does not text either. Thanks for reminding me of the important things. Elaine


127 Bobby May 22, 2013 at 7:39 pm

I talk to my parents everyday (like 2 hours a day), so a regular cell-phone is a must. An iPhone? Nah! Indeed, I refuse using a smartphone to demonstrate that one can carry out daily tasks without a smartphone. In my opinion, a smartphone is a luxury, NOT necessity.

99% of people I know of who own a smartphone mostly use their phone for entertainment purposes. I rarely see anyone using their smartphones to check e-mails, pay their bills or do business works. If you are white-collar people, a smartphone might be suitable for you so that you can keep tracking your work. If one uses smartphones for entertainment purposes, I think it’s more than one needs.

Perhaps I am one of the few people in my friends circle who don’t use a smartphone, but I don’t see any problems if I don’t use WhatsApp or Candy Crush (whatever the game is).

My last comment: just because most people do something does NOT mean it’s correct to follow.


128 Marty May 24, 2013 at 12:18 am

I bow to you, Frugal Girl!

You’re a woman after my own heart!


129 Tess August 1, 2013 at 8:19 am

I agree with everything you said here. Verizon has been hounding me to upgrade my phone, but if having a smartphone means I have to pay for internet access too, then I’ll never have one. Cell phones cost enough as it is and I already have a desktop computer at home for internet. I’m thinking about switching to a pay as you go phone to see if that would be more cost effective for our family. The time to start researching that option is drawing near. Money doesn’t grow on trees. So glad I stumbled across your “smart” blog today. I loved it and just joined! :D


130 Danny September 1, 2013 at 8:49 am

I too, have a dumb phone. Until recently, wasn’t even on facebook nor text plan. My current phone is the Casio Exilim C721…a pretty packed feature phone that not only flips, it twists too, has a 5.1 megapixel camera with 3x optical zoom…and it water resistant. Mostly because I have an aversion to paying more than $40/month for a cell phone. My carrier offered me a plan for $5 less and with a work discount I’m going to be paying ~ $32/month with unlimited text, 500 talk minutes and 100 mb data. This, coupled with wifi tablets which are like big poorman’s smartphones keeps me pretty connected online when I want to be. Sure, I might be a little lost when I’m out and about away from a wifi signal but these days free wifi is so prevalent I could just duck into a coffee shop, get the info I need and be on my way.


131 Danny October 9, 2013 at 1:39 am

Turns out Verizon lied to me…they said my corporate discount did NOT apply, when they originally said it would have. Just to sucker me into a 1-year contract after I had been loyal to them for years, despite being month-to-month. If I’m on month-to-month for years, that tells you that I like your service, that I don’t need a contract to keep me there. I made them switch my plan back to my voice only plan, and then since I was back on month-to-month I switched to Page Plus, an MVNO that uses their infrastructure! I finally got a smartphone, though a 3G one, but only paying $29.95/month, prepaid no contract, 3000 text, 1200 minutes and 500 MB data. More than I know what to do with. Take that, Verizon!


132 Willi October 31, 2013 at 1:19 pm

I’m still rockin’ my LG brand C1500 clamshell phone with , yep, an external stub antennae. Guess what it weighs – only 85 grams ! Takes phone calls, allows outbound calls, it’s a phone that worked in Germany, Canada, Mexico and of course the USA. Damn tough to find replacement in 2013 at 85 grams.


133 Adrian Hastings January 31, 2014 at 5:52 pm

I keep a cell phone so my elderly mother and stepmother can reach me when I’m out and about. Otherwise it stays in the car as an emergency phone. Time is too precious to be wasted.


134 becky March 7, 2014 at 1:32 pm

This was a really inspiring read! After a year of my iPhone, I recently sold it for a basic, easy, lightweight text & call phone and I have never been happier. I find myself appreciating the freedom of my own need to check Facebook or search the internet and I am enjoying my walks home from uni a lot more now I am not glued to my smartphone. Of course the majority of my friends think I am crazy for voluntarily jumping off the smartphone wagon but I can honestly say I feel much better! Hooray for the simple life!


135 puppieskittensandunicornsshittingrainbowsohmy July 3, 2014 at 2:31 am

I’m only 19, and I don’t even have a phone!

Sometimes I feel like I’m the last and only YOUNG person on the planet without a smartphone. It feels lonely.

Even if I have the $$, I wouldn’t buy one anyways. I’d rather save it..


136 Juanita Baker July 25, 2014 at 4:22 pm

I am wanting just a simple phone, no texting, no photos , etc. My husband has dementia and I just want an emergency regular mobile phone! where do I purchase one besides Verizon


137 kate July 25, 2014 at 6:12 pm

Check to see if PureTalk covers your area. You can buy 135 minutes for $10 and add increments as needed. I prefer their even simpler plan – 750 minutes for $17.99. The flip phone is free with whatever plan you buy. Also, it’s really easy to go online and change your plan as needed. No extra fees, taxes, etc.


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