Ask the Readers: Could You Survive Without a Cell Phone?

By Ashley Jacobs on 20 September 2011 (Updated 27 September 2011) 134 comments
Photo: Riaz Kanani

Editor's Note: Congratulations to Michael, Guest, and Ernest S. for winning this week's contest!

For those of us with cell phones, it is almost impossible to imagine what our lives were like before cell phones. Between the ability to make phone calls, text message friends, and check emails, most of us would have a very tough time functioning without our phone. However, there are people who manage to get by without having a cell phone.

Could you survive without a cell phone?  Would you be able to use email, Skype, or instant messenger services for all your communication needs? Why or why not? 

Tell us if you could live without a cell phone and we'll enter you in a drawing to win a $20 Amazon Gift Card!

Win 1 of 3 $20 Amazon Gift Cards

We're doing three giveaways — one for random comments, one for random Facebook "Likes", and another one for random tweets.

Mandatory Entry: 

  • Post your answer in the comments below 

For extra entries (1 per action):

  • Go to our Facebook page, "Like" us, and leave a comment telling us you did, or
  • Tweet your answer. You have to be a follower of our @wisebread account. Include both "@wisebread" and "#WBAsk" in your tweet so we'll see it and count it. Leave a link to your tweet (click the timestamp for the individual URL) in a separate comment.

If you're inspired to write a whole blog post OR you have a photo on flickr to share, please link to it in the comments or tweet it.

Giveaway Rules:

  • Contest ends Monday, September 26th at 11:59 pm Pacific. Winners will be announced after September 26th on the original post. Winners will also be contacted via email.
  • You can enter all three drawings — once by leaving a comment, once by liking our Facebook update, and once by tweeting.
  • This promotion is in no way sponsored, endorsed or administered, or associated with Facebook.
  • You must be 18 and US resident to enter. Void where prohibited.

Note: Due to recent changes in Facebook's promotions guidelines, we have restructured the entry format of our giveaways.

Good Luck!

0
No votes yet
Your rating: None
ShareThis

comments

134 discussions

Add New Comment

CAPTCHA
This test helps prevent automated spam submissions.
Guest's picture
Guest

My home phone and recorder work just fine. I'd have no problem getting by without a cell phone if I needed to. It would be good to have a phone card in case I needed to call long distance.

Guest's picture
Kelly

I already do live without a cell phone--ten years this summer. There are moments when I'd like to have one, but I like not being constantly available.

Guest's picture
Julie

As it turns out, cell phones are items we've convinced ourselves we need. I moved to an area that has no cell towers for 30 miles. I felt so liberated when I didn't have to have my cell phone with me anymore. All the things that are on cell phones are also on my wired desktop. I already live 95% of my life without a cell phone. (I do have one for when I travel, but I don't use it that much.)

Guest's picture
Perry

Yes, I don't have one now :)

Guest's picture
Selene

Yes, I could get by without my cell phone. Would I want to, no.

Guest's picture
Selene

I Like Wise Bread on Facebook as Selene Montgomery

Guest's picture
Dan Wieme

I'll be the first to admit I couldn't live without my cell phone. I'll begin by saying I have an iPhone so it being a smart phone carries weight. I have my entire to-do list on there, track my finances, use Facebook, Twitter, jot down my thoughts in Evernote, etc. The possibilities are endless. In fact, I have a terrible habit of checking it every 5 minutes. And on top of that, I'm pretty sure I'd be lost in Boston if I didn't have the GPS...

Guest's picture
Dan Wieme

I 'liked' Wisebread on Facebook. :)

Guest's picture
Dan Wieme

And I tweeted as well! https://twitter.com/#!/dwieme/status/116128300644040704

Guest's picture
windkey

As a person who has learned to incorporate cell phones as a more immediate replacement for the other means of communication you mentioned (email, instant messenger, land lines in fixed locations, or God forbid snail mail) I think I could "fallback" on these older, slower means. I suppose I have forgotten some of the little "tricks" of using them but it would come back to me. So many have no experience with these older technologies.

Guest's picture
Zach

I must have a cellphone for work, I have the cheapest phone and the cheapest plan available and I can call who I need to when I need to I figure I save at least 50 bucks a month over other people

Guest's picture
Renita Hegner

Yes, and I am already doing this and have been for years since I am 53 we did not
have cell phones for pretty much most of my life. You make sure you check in with
your loved ones more often on a land line and always leave notes on the fridge about
where you are going and when you will be back. If you have an emergency (car breaks down), you get out of your car and go to the nearest store and ask to use their phone. I haven't had any real problems, my husband always makes sure our cars
are in good running order.

Guest's picture
Christie

I didn't get a cell phone until my kids were small and we had to drive about 20 minutes to get to town. My hubby didn't have one until his office gave him one, but we could probably both live without one. I have to say, the ability to text and contact my best friend who lives 1400 miles away on a daily basis is a lovely feature. I would miss my phone, but I could live without it.

Guest's picture
Guest

Unfortunately, I am not sure that I could do without a cell phone. I don't use it for myself but my son has special needs and I need to be reached instantly from school if a problem arises. However, you did make me think about what other ways I could be reached like the instant messaging. I will explore thanks to your post.

Guest's picture
Tim

I could survive without a phone, but I'd have to adjust my lifestyle a bit.

Guest's picture
lostAnnfound

I got rid of my cell phone over a year ago after having one for about 8 years or so. We were cutting back on expenses and I could not justify having both a cell phone and a land line. Since I work from home, having the land line for me was the best choice. I either use the land line phone or email to keep in touch with people and it has been working out fine.

Guest's picture
Carson M.

I remember very well the days of having no cell phone. That was back when you should have always had a few dimes and nickels just in case you had to use a pay phone. Reflecting on that, I can honestly say that I could survive without a cell phone, but I wouldn't want to. Modern cell phones have become difficult to live without as they've managed to practically evolve into some of the most efficient and useful tools of society by offering things like built in cameras, calendars, calculators, etc. Couple that with internet capabilities that allow instant access to important activities like banking, mapping, etc. Phones aren't just for communication anymore. They help us to avoid getting lost, help us to keep up with the lives of our friends and loved ones, help us to remember things that might usually slip our minds without digital reminders, bells, and whistles. Personally, I wouldn't want to live without it. But it does somewhat trouble me that we depend on them so much.

Guest's picture
Tara

I think I could...programs like Skype and GoogleTalk make it a little easier to talk to people these days....

Guest's picture
Barb in CT

Actually, NO. My cell is my only phone. At the time when I had a land line, I was paying $$ for long distance. Plus I had an answering machine and multiple phones around the house. The cell has free long distance, voice mail and I can carry it into every room if need be (it tends to live in my office when I'm home).

So I cancelled the land line, transferred that # to my cell, sold the house phones and answering machine and it's all so UNcomplicated now! Plus, I can turn turn the cell OFF, something you couldn't really do with a land line!

Guest's picture
Chase Saunders

I voluntarily gave up my cell phone 3 months ago. It has been pretty great. I use Google Voice to stay in touch with txt, etc. But I'm a bit worried about not having one for the winter months.

Guest's picture
Linda Spr

Yes I could, but then I come from the generation that started life when only the rich had home phones. and living in the west there are areas out here where there is no service, so one still has to be prepared for any eventuality.

Guest's picture
Rachel

Technically speaking, I could survive... but I wouldn't like it very much.

Guest's picture
Monica

I have (recently) survived without a cell phone I could do it again but only with a better internet connection, so that I could use my Google Talk phone number.

Guest's picture
Monica

I like you on facebook!

Guest's picture
Danesha

It would be really hard. I haven't had a land line since I moved out of my parents house 8 years ago. I would contemplate giving up the cell if I really needed some extra cash.

Guest's picture
Sheryl

Easy Peacy! I am not attached in anyway to my cell phone. It is not my security blanket... I have no need to stay in constant touch with friends, family or work. I don't need a phone to check out a library book, surf the net... Yes, it is great for emergencies but I'm 58 years old and I managed for years to live full life without an electronic gadget attached to my body.

Guest's picture
Keith

I have no land line so my cellphone is pretty important. I could probably survive using google voice or skype.

Liked on facebook!

Guest's picture

I could not live with out my iPhone anymore. No ifs, ands, or buts about it.

Guest's picture
Guest

I do live without a cell phone - quite happily, I might add. And the more I see of people whose attention is always and only focused on their cell phones while they pass up interactions with "real" people around them, and miss out on the experiences of the moment happening around them, the gladder I am that I've never had one and the more determined I am to continue as a modern-day Luddite.

Guest's picture
Elena

Yes, I could live without it. It make things a little difficult but I didnt always have a phone.

Guest's picture
Elena

I follow wisebread on Facebook.

Guest's picture
Christy

Yes, I could live without a cell phone. I don't even like to talk on the phone. But I love my iPhone!! Just leave me all the Apps, okay? I don't care if makes calls or not. :)

Guest's picture
Nicholas

Could I survive... yes. Would I want to willingly... not all the time.
I have no land line so going with no cell phone will result in no connection at all via phone, plus I need my phone for work.

Guest's picture
debra

Can I survive without my cell phone?? I wouldn't mind trying and it might be a blessing in disguise not to have a cell phone and survive!

Guest's picture
Jess G.

No way could I live without a cell phone. I don't have a landline anymore, and I'm constantly on the go. My iPhone is perfect for when I'm away, when I have to answer work calls or texts, when I'm chatting with friends, or just standing in line (so I can catch up on Google Reader!).

Guest's picture
Jess G.

Also, I like Wise Bread on Facebook!

Guest's picture
Alex

No. I feel I need to be able to communicate for my work and for my safety.

Guest's picture
Megan

Could I live without my cell? Absolutely...not. I upgraded from a fairly basic model to an iPhone this Spring. Besides calling/texting I use the Notes function for everything from shopping lists and to-do lists to "try this someday," the photo album has pics from trips and a 90 second clip of my new nephew laughing that I watch whenever I need a giggle. I use the Mint.com app to manage my money and read newspapers and various news blogs on it as well. Used the Amazon app to sell stuff without needing to dig out the old camera. It's not just a phone, it's a tool I use to help make my crazy life simpler and easier to manage.

Guest's picture
Elyse Stein Zois

I have a 14 year old car and more than one, I've had to call for roadside assistance. I only use my cell phone for making and receiving phone calls when I'm not home, but I'd don't know what I'd do without it for emergencies. So I guess my answer is no.

Guest's picture
Amanda

I need one for updates on the fly for my business and also because we don't have landline. Technically, *could* I drop it? Probably, but it would be darned uncomfortable and would limit my flexibility at work.

Guest's picture
Amanda

I like WiseBread on Fb.

Guest's picture
Nancy B from Many LA

Most definitely I could do without! Although we tell ourselves that we're safer when we carry a cell phone (which we are!), that's not the real reason we carry them. We get addicted to the constant interaction with others, the "essential" text messages, etc., the instant gratification from instant contact, but seldom think about the stress we gain from this. Life was a lot simpler "back then", and I miss it! For those that don't remember the ancient time before cell phones, you've missed out!

Guest's picture
Betty D.

I could survive. I like it for safety reasons. Texting also seems like the only way to communicate with my daughter! I never use the phone to talk.

Guest's picture
Nancy B from Many LA

Already "Like" you on FB

Guest's picture

I could live without a cell phone if I had to. We already only have the basic phones -- no smartphones for us, so there would be less to give up. I would miss being able to get in-contact with people right away, though. I hope there doesn't come a time when we have to give them up completely, but it's good to know that we could still function if we had to.

Guest's picture
Nancy B from Many LA

Tweeted!
http://twitter.com/#!/goonyburd/status/116200437048287232

Guest's picture
Julie

I DO survive without a cell phone. Fact is, my home internet access is more valuable and requires a separate land line in the home. So, I cannot afford to have both cell and land line (even with the most basic services) and internet. My 17 yr old son is on aunt & uncle's plan (really nice of them) and 14 yr old daughter doesn't need one (really!). My husband has a Blackberry for work. Who knows if I'll ever get one-the convenience would be nice at times.

Guest's picture
Julie

I like WB on FB and liked this post on FB.

Guest's picture
Joye

Def I could live with out a cell phone, mine barely comes in anywhere anyways way up here in the middle of no where. My kids do not have phones I htink my daughter is the only one in HS who does not - so uncool

Guest's picture
Aaron

I would have a hard time- but would manage in time.

Guest's picture
NJJ

I use a cell phone for emergencies so yes, I can definitely survive without one LOL! :)

Guest's picture
Edward

Are people actually reading what they're writing? They couldn't "live" without a cell phone? As in, you'd die or want to commit suicide without it? Give me a break! That's just plain sad.

I've never had one, have a professional job, travel lots, and don't need it. Maybe twice in the last 15 years could I have used one. Does that justify a monthly cost? Nope.

Guest's picture
Julie Flanagan

Definitely could NOT live without a cell phone!

Guest's picture
Tonya Rader

Not at all. I constantly have my phone by my side and couldn't imagine it not being there.

Guest's picture
Tonya Rader

I like you on FB. @Tonya Rader

Guest's picture
Tonya Rader

Tweeted. http://twitter.com/#!/Tifflonn/status/116212926188232704

Guest's picture
Kristy OT

I barely use my phone as is, so... sure. The biggest issue (and the only reason I keep one!) is emergency situations, or being outside of our normal routine (out of town, etc).

Guest's picture
mere

I could definitely live without my cell phone. When I misplace it (oops?) or when we go on vacation (I never take it with me) it is so liberating! I'm 28 and have had a cell phone for at least 12 years...and I hate it. Hate it, hate it, hate it! I'd get rid of it, but my husband, who can't live without his, insists it's for my safety (as do my parents). Oh well.

Guest's picture
mere

I like you guys on fb!

Guest's picture
Carmen

I rarely use my cell phone. Most of our calls are "honey, I'm at the store, what else do we need?" That's why we went prepaid, and mostly for travel emergencies.

Guest's picture
Therese

I could get by without my cell phone, except for the fact that we no longer have a land line.

Guest's picture
GuestVicDavis

If not for needing it for work, I would be fine with a home phone, as I did for years.

Guest's picture
Kristin

I could survive without a cell phone, but having a cell phone in an emergency does increase the likeliehood of surviving. That's part of the reason that I keep a prepaid Tracfone in my purse (at the cost of about $6 per month).

Guest's picture
amy saves

no way! my cell phone is my life. GPS, texting, calling and social media.

Guest's picture
amy saves

http://twitter.com/#!/BlogandSave/status/116231123629129728

Guest's picture
Guest

I don't use a cell phone. I use google voice which fits all my needs. If I need to use a cell phone, I can generally borrow one from someone and I share one with my husband.

Guest's picture
NL

I have no landline and could survive without a cell phone, but I wouldn't be able to speak with my computer-illiterate family members.

Guest's picture
NL

Facebook Liked

Guest's picture
Lisa

I finally bowed to pressure about a year ago and got a cell phone. While it's handy to have for emergencies and while I'm out and about, I could easily return to not having one again.

Guest's picture
Emily

Sometimes, in my dreams, I am free from my cell phone. I still don't know if that's a sweet dream or a nightmare. Alas, I don't think I could live without my Blackberry, though.

Guest's picture
Emily

Like WB on FB!

Guest's picture
Dave

Except for work, I tend not to carry my cell phone around. If need be I could get by without it.

Guest's picture
aaa

I had no interest in cell phones until I was in NYC on 9/11. The next day my unhusband and I both got cell phones. During recent weather emergencies, it was usable when my electricity (and landline and computer) was out. Think I'll keep it!

Guest's picture
Brandon P

I cannot live without my cell phone. I have an iPhone and it not only acts as a cellphone but also as a camera, alarm clock, calendar, email center, and GPS. I honestly felt like my quality of life has improved since I'm able to have so many tools in the palm of my hand. Furthermore, I'm able to get updates for numerous websites such as Wisebread. I cannot and will not live without my iPhone... haha okay that's a little exaggerated but you get the point. =)

Guest's picture
Garon

Are you kidding? I'm not as bad as some people, but I feel like I've been tossed back into the stone age without it.

Guest's picture
BRB

I definitely could, but my husband won't let me dump it in case I have some sort of emergency. I hate them.

Guest's picture
Rusty

I remember life without cell phones and email. You had to plan for things more. And I tried to know where the nearest payphone was. Now there are hardly any payphones.

So I guess I could live without my cell phone, but the internet- that's another story!

Guest's picture
Rusty

I like you on facebook.

Guest's picture
Andrea

I sure could! I lived 36 YEARS without that pain in my back end(cell phone), and if it were up to me, I'd live the rest of my life on earth without one!!!! Guess what cell phones are? A cowards way to talk to one another! Texting B.S.! Cell phones are distractions, and an appendage of this generation- whom are very "me" oriented and LAZY! How do I know this? I have a 16 yr old son! I have a cell I was "ordered" to have from my boss. I also have to have it because I'm still driving my son here and there, and pay phones are now obsolete. Guess what I'd LIKE to do with this slippery,irritating,money draining piece of sht? Skip it like a smooth stone across the big lake and watch it disappear!!!!

Guest's picture
Jan B

Yes, I could live without a cell phone. Although, I do love the convenience of my phone. It is not a necessity.

Guest's picture
Michael

Easily. I use Google Voice and my computer for about 1/2 of my calls already, and I have a home phone (well, a VoIP setup that rings cordless home phones).

Guest's picture
Steve

I could do it as I don't use my phone much. It'd be difficult but I could manage

Guest's picture
Sarah

I think I could live without a cellphone... as long as I had access to a computer! As a college student in an apartment, I don't have access to a home phone, so my only means of communication, other than chance encounters, are through the Internet and a cellphone. Without one, I can do with the other, but heaven forbid I go without both!

Guest's picture
Will

I have never had a cell phone and do not plan to get one. I reject all intrusive technology. I am 63.

Guest's picture
Angie W

I so could not survive... I use my phone for business constantly, and absolutely have to have it

Guest's picture
Angie W

I like you on Facebook

Guest's picture
Jason Evans

Could I survive?? Sure. Would it be hard as all get out?!! You bet your bottom dollar. I use my phone as my bible, magazine, newspaper, laptop away from home on top of texting when I'm at work.

Guest's picture
Evert

It would be rather inconvenient but then again with WiFi readily available in more and more places I can see substituting it with Google Voice.

Guest's picture
Guest

Sure, I could live without a cellphone. It's just less convenient, but certainly it can be done.

Guest's picture
Jenni

I only got a tracfone recently, to carry and use when I am out and about, where there are no public phones. I still use my landline to make calls and talk a long time without thinking about it. I have caller ID which lists the calls I missed. I use the computer to keep in touch with friends, email.

Guest's picture
kristina wittchen

Not anymore.

Guest's picture
peg

Yes, I think so. Right now I'm already on the most basic of basic pay as you go phone plans. I am a bit paranoid about car problem emergencies but it has only happened once during my 10 years of driving, and even as I was calling, I had several cars stop to ask if they could help or call the police for me.

Cell phones became prominent in the 1990s which means that 20 years ago, people were doing just fine without them. We are becoming too used to luxuries and conveniences.

Guest's picture
SJ

Yes, because I don't travel a lot and wherever I am (work, home, friends) there is a landline. I don't talk or text when I drive so .... come to think of it, I don't really use my cell phone a lot. I sometimes call my husband to pick up something at the grocery store.

Guest's picture
Guest

I currently have a cell phone but I could probably live without as I have a home phone. My cell phone is just a basic flip phone that can't even take pictures, the horror! I'm such a luddite.

Guest's picture
Bryan

Cellphones are mostly a conveinence. We lived without them in the past, so I don't see why I counldn't now. I really don't use mine much. And people who have to be on them all the time are annoying.

Guest's picture
Susan D.

Sure, I could get along without a cell phone; I did it for years. I have one only because my prepaid cell is cheaper than a land line.

Guest's picture
Norman

I cannot survive without a cell phone just like I can't survive without food and water. There's just some things ya gotta have.

Guest's picture
Rebekah

If I had to, I could go without my cell phone. I only use it to make calls. But it would feel very inconvient at first.

Guest's picture
Danielle

I could do without a cell.

Guest's picture
Stacie M

I could live without a cell phone. Not sure if my family and friends could take me not having one.