Hanging Up for a Year

This might seem a little drastic, but for one year my husband and I have ditched our cell phones and land line. Before moving to Montreal in August '08, we terminated both of our cell phone plans and land line service. Our main reason: to save a little money during my husband's three-semester return to grad school...

The total monthly bill for our phones was nearly $200. We cancelled it all and planned to set up a land line only upon arrival in Montreal. Well, we arrived, did a little research, and decided to take the plunge and forego the land line, too. Crazy, right?

Instead, we bought a Skype phone number. We have a normal 7-digit number (in the area code of our choosing) and we can call/ receive calls from land lines, cell phones, and other Skype users anywhere for about $35 PER YEAR. So, for this 12-month period, our "phone bill" is $35 instead of ($200 x 12)= $2400. With a good headset, the quality of calls doesn't suffer (much). And we have actually enjoyed life "unleashed" from our cell phones.

There are a few drawbacks, of course. You can't call emergency numbers from a Skype number. We live in a busy, 24-hour neighborhood and have a safety plan in place in the unlikely case of an emergency. This is my number one concern in a whole host of "what if" scenarios. Secondly, the computer must be on to receive phonecalls, so we keep a small laptop on most of the day. We do, however, unplug everything at night, so we can't receive phonecalls in the middle of the night, which could be a major drawback if there were a family emergency at an odd hour. Lastly, we make our plans more carefully than we did when we had cell phones. Cell phones allow for a certain degree of sloppiness in arranging meeting times and places.

Otherwise, we have fully embraced ditching our phones (and phone bills) for one year. I doubt we would do this indefinitely, but it has definitely raised a red flag on the need for two cell phones upon our return to the States. Luddite as I may sound, we simply don't need them.

Have you, AT readers, ever ditched a home utility? Cell phones or landline? Cable? Internet? Do you think we're crazy for ditching our phones for the year? Let us know by commenting below.

More discussions on Skype over at Unplggd. Photo: ATSF's Classic Kitchen Phone from Urban Outfitters

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Regina is an architect who lives with her husband and son in Lawrence, KS. As a LEED Accredited Professional and longtime contributor to Apartment Therapy and The Kitchn, her focus is on healthy, sustainable living through design.

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