Let’s get this out of the way right off the bat: I do not own a smartphone…yet.***
Sure, I’d love one, but since I’m trying to minimalize to save money and the earth in various ways and since it is my job is to sit at this laptop pecking away all day long, I am also afraid to get one and be plugged in more than I already am. I’ve become a bit addicted to checking my email, but it’s also my work, my income, and the source of various leads and freelance opportunities. It is all an amazing networking web-world out there for me, one of which I see the many advantages.
So while I can’t recommend an exact phone to you, I can recommend something I already do: go prepaid.
During my round the world trip, I didn’t have a cell phone at all. I just didn’t need it nor did I need a monthly $50+ bill dragging my bank account down. I had a laptop, so I had emails and I had Skype if I wanted to make calls (which I rarely do since I hate the phone).
Once I returned, I still didn’t want to pay so much for an annual contract. I’d noticed that prepaid or ‘pay as you go’ seemed to be the norm in Europe and in so many countries. So I figured I’d try it. It was one of the best things I’ve ever done concerning expenses. On average, I now spend less than $150 a year (that is PER YEAR) on my T-mobile phone. I fill it with $100 at a time and this past year that lasted me about 10 months. I love that! I talk on it when necessary (costs me .10/min) and make and receive texts here and there, but nothing excessive. And that’s it.
Now, if I get a smartphone, I am very keen to remain pre-paid so therefore I will seek out an unlocked phone (one that I can put my SIM card in and one that is NOT tied to a company with any kind of contract – ie AT&T, T-mobile, Verizon, etc.). From the research I’ve done, they are a little more expensive, but I think it’s worth it. You can find unlocked phones for sale on big sites like tigerdirect.com, compusa.com & cellhut.com.
This way I can use it just like I do my phone now and when I am in a free wi-fi hotspot (which are thankfully becoming more prevalent…hello Starbucks) I can get online and check email, etc. I can still use my pre-paid (read: cheap) plan and still get online and email when and if I need to.
The beauty of an unlocked/pre-paid GSM phone is you can use it abroad as well. You can just get a new SIM card in the country you are visiting and voila! Then you can use free wi-fi wherever you find it. I found it in most hotels I stayed in from Cambodia to Cairo to Cartagena. You can also use JiWire to find Wi-fi Hotspots where you are going.
Many people I know spend on average $100 each month on their cell phone plan. That is what I spend in nearly a year! I do not like to talk on the phone and don’t give out my number to everyone. I realize some need their mobile phones more than others, but if you don’t and want to cut back, I highly recommend a pre-paid phone.
Disclaimer: This post was not sponsored by any mobile phone company or carrier. But, if after reading this impressive work, you would like to donate an unlocked smart phone to me…I’d be happy to add your name here. 🙂
***Well, this is a first and an absolute amazement to me. I wrote this post about two weeks ago and today a genuine iPhone arrived in my mailbox!!! I am still amazed and shocked and so thankful for this incredible gesture. Crazy and so cool.
A HUGE THANK YOU goes out to a wonderful loyal reader of LLworldtour: Stacey O’Brien of Oak Lawn, Illinois USA.
So…as promised, this post is now brought to you by Stacey and her charity: Autism Speaks. That is the only thing Stacey wanted to promote. She is trying to raise $500 (or more!) for this amazing charity to help children and families dealing with Autism.
On behalf of LLworldtour, I have just donated and I hope you can too.
On a related note:
If you are one of the many people who has old mobile phones doing nothing but getting cozy together in a drawer, please give one to a friend or donate them. That’s the best recycling you can do. Do it today. I’ll be doing it with my old phone (once I get this new iPhone unlocked!).
To make it super easy for you, here is a list of places excited to take your donation of a mobile phone: