5 Years Living Without Cell Phones: Why We Love It

Getting rid of our cell phones was one of the first alternative lifestyle choices Mat and I made together. Our goal was to save money and to have fewer bills & responsibilities; and we were also pretty confident we could live without them.

For us, it seemed like a low risk lifestyle experiment because we could easily buy new phones if we started to panic without them so we bravely cancelled our monthly plans, sold the two phones, and one crisp morning in November 2011, we stepped outside of our house empty handed.

It seems funny to think back on how scared we were that day.  We had gotten used to living with unlimited access to any information we wanted via those small black screens and we didn’t know what to do without them.  We had to work a little harder to find alternative sources of information and ways to communicate without the phones but we figured things out pretty quickly.

For example, we used to take the bus to and from work and we used to check the schedule online.  Without cell phones, we just had to pick up the bus schedule booklet on the bus and carry that with us instead.

If we wanted to make plans to meet up with each other, or with friends, we’d pick very specific locations and times so that we were sure not to miss each other.

5 Years Living Without a Cell Phone – Minimalist Living

In the 5 years since then, we’ve travelled around the world, worked online jobs, and started our own business — all without phones.  Instead, we use our laptops and iPod touch to access free WiFi hotspots so that we can send emails & Facebook messages, and use Skype & Facetime.

Living without phones can be annoying if we need to make a phone call and the voice mail menu doesn’t recognize Skype’s keypad entries, or when we have a bad internet connection, but overall it’s not that bad at all.

Actually, we love the freedom of being disconnected and not having to answer the phone all the time. Getting rid of our phones also gave us the confidence to make other changes in our lives that have kind of snowballed into our current minimalist, nomadic lifestyle that gives us an incredible amount of freedom and for now, we’re happy to continue living cell phone-free.

We don’t expect anyone to get rid of their cell phone after reading this because we admit they can be incredible tools, and we definitely loved ours at the time.  We just wanted to share this story as an example of how we are constantly testing ourselves and trying new things to see to what extent we can simplify our lives.

Happy Exploring :)


10 thoughts on “5 Years Living Without Cell Phones: Why We Love It

    1. Dennis D Morel

      I’ve been using a pay as you go phone for the pass six years, and would second Jimmie’s recommendation as the best of both worlds. Costs can be absolutely minimal, for me a phone runs probably less that $7-10 a month. My wife’s data package is currently over $120 a month in comparison.

  1. Tina

    I’m considering the same thing but starting a business will have to take on a new shape. I think you could help a lot of people conceptualize the option if you opened up to a more broad audience. I love your program I love what you do. Your mission is heartfelt and sincere and very intimate.

    There needs to be whole networks of media outreach addressing alternatives. Thanks so much for your dedication.

  2. Tina

    I am looking forward to attending a law school conference at University of Texas February 14,2017 about: Making the Sharing Economy Work. The speaker is Janelle Orsi co founder of The Sustainable Economic Law Center. The focus will address alternative local currencies, barter, trade, gift and sharing exchanges, writing and advocacy for policy change. Following the US inauguration I’m seeking solutions. Come join us!

  3. cee

    There is the option of a 4g alternative which allows you all the benefits of a cell phone on your tablet or laptop, including but not limited to phone calls and streaming Netflix. It’s much cheaper and it can be used anywhere. The phone company’s cringe when they hear that term 4g unlimited and have to dig to find some way to discourage it. Because the phone and Internet bandwidths are basically the same, and they don’t want you to know that it is very simple to turn a tablet into a phone.

      1. Danielle Chabassol Post author

        Good point, Charles. I guess the alternative for us is saving money, and using Skype for most things. There are definitely times when it would be easier to have a phone, but for now it’s more important to avoid having another bill to pay :) Take care and thanks for reading the post! Danielle

  4. TK

    I would love to do that! My only issue would be not being able to contact my partner if there was an emergency. Part of that is probably psychological. Back in the 90s there was no feeling of panic that you couldn’t get instant access to someone, just annoyance at leaving a message on their machine!

  5. Laura

    I just got a new phone due to my ld one breaking, yesterday. I hate it. I hate everything about it (except photos and videos of my pets)…
    I don’t have internet (I use hotspot on phone for free or go to library). Im thinking of getting a home phone but want to keep my number for work. any ideas?

    1. Jason Jones

      Laura, I had a similar concern, about wanting to go cell free, but not wanting to lose my number that everyone knows. So, my thought is (haven’t done anything yet) I can get a Magic Jack VOIP device for home, and I checked, I can port my cell number to it. So, I would be able to get rid of my cell and keep my same number as a home number for about $3 a month for the Magic Jack service. Just an idea I had, thought it might help you.

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