One of the most insidious things about technology is that it's constantly updated, urging users to purchase new devices when usually, there's not much wrong with their old ones. This vicious cycle of consumerism can be all too temping, but we've managed to do so over the last few years. While we're not above reproach, we've certainly scaled down our tech-related buys...
Each and every year, cell phones are updated. Sometimes they get refreshed more than once a year. A typical example of this is Apple's iPhone. Every year, they update it and almost every year, most people will get rid of their year-old phones to buy a new smartphone. Since we do a lot of work online, we've come to consider cell phones as a type of electronic leash. We don't want to be reached all of the time, and we don't need to check our email immediately when we get a new one since we adhere to the Inbox Zero ethic.
Since 2006, I've basically been able to cut down my monthly cell phone bill, which was between $100 to $150, to about $5. I got a phone in 2006 and I'm still using it. I use my cell phone sparsely for text messaging and for work-related matters. I rarely use it at all and almost never talk on it. However I like having it around in case of emergencies. It wouldn't be that hard to simply no longer have one.
If you want to opt out of this, then you need to do this in steps.
1. Cut down your cell phone bill: Once you've been able to cut down your cell phone bill significantly, it won't make much sense for your to spend a lot of money on phones.
2. See if you can live with it: You'll need to see if you can actually live without a phone. Some people, because of their work, absolutely need to have a cell phone. If your employer pays for your cell phone, then this problem can be solved. If you tend to talk a lot on your phone, switch to texting to cut down on the minutes used.
3. Pay as you go: Most companies offer a "pay-as-you-go" plan, which allows you to recharge your phone's minutes when you use them up. This is a simple yet effective way of never spending too much on your bill.
4. Try switching it off for a week: Once you've made the leap, try switching off your phone for days at a time. Then try weeks. When you get used to it, you'll appreciate not getting disturbed by the vibration of your phone.
5. Sell it: When you've stopped using your phone, it's time to sell it so that you can recoup some of the loss.
Tablets are a fast growing market and almost everyone has used one. They can be quite convenient, but some tablets, like the iPad, will force you to purchase apps in order to get things done, unless you decide to jailbreak it. Tablets are very useful when it comes to ebooks, but that being said, it's hard to justify spending so much money on a device that will be replaced next year.
1. Ebook Reader: Instead of buying a tablet, try buying an ebook reader. The most recent crop of machines are quite affordable, and if you wanted to use your tablet to read books, then an ebook reader will work just as fine.
2. Non-iOS Tablets: While it's true that the iPad is one of the best tablets around, the closed nature of the device makes it somewhat problematic for some users. Instead of using an iPad, which you'll most probably want to update the following year, try a non-iOS device.
3. Laptops Almost everyone has got a laptop, and while they're not as portable as a tablet, they will still get the job done. We use our laptop to read ebooks for the last few months, and haven't had any issues with it. Granted, it's not as convenient as a tablet, but it won't need to be replaced any time soon.
(Images: Flickr member Shiftstigma licensed for use under Creative Commons, Flickr member Roger Schultz licensed for use under Creative Commons and Flickr member Exacq licensed for use under Creative Commons)