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.