In Career, Discussions, Discussions, Life, Technology

How I went 33 years without a cellphone

OK I’m being a bit facetious, who has a cellphone when they’re a baby? LOL!

But to be clear — I got my first cellphone in 2017 when I was 33 in 2017.

When I tell people this, they’re shocked.


Well, I’ve gone without lots of life upgrades or expectations of what you should have at certain ages. Here’s another example:

Got my first driver’s license and car at 25


I didn’t need it for most of my life.

I took the bus or the subway train, and it wasn’t until I got a contract where I had to travel to for a 4-hour commute by train, was when I started thinking seriously about it, and got my license ASAP.

Then I bought a car for $1500 and drove it until I left to live in the U.S., and then I donated it to the Cancer Society.

But back to the cellphone…

I just never needed it. I had a home phone, and email.

I did all my business via email… or this phone. If people wanted to get in touch with me, they used either option.

I owned an iPod Touch and just got wifi wherever I tried to get it to answer emails, etc.

I know it sounds crazy to people to not have a cellphone in this day and age, but plenty of people live without it.

In fact, I would tell people – I don’t have a phone number, email me.

For me, an email address is more permanent and a stronger link to me than a telephone number.

It’s a luxury. Period.

It is a LUXURY that I upgraded to a smartphone, and I avoided it for years because I didn’t want to be tied to a device nor pay for it.

I consciously CHOSE to upgrade my lifestyle to get a smartphone in 2017 at the age of 33 because I decided I wanted to, and was okay with the added expense of it.

I used a real watch for the time, I asked people around me for information or directions… I honestly didn’t need that smartphone to run my business or my life.

Now, obviously, it is hard to undo what I am used to these days but not impossible.

The only thing I think I’d really miss is being able to use Instagram and a few other apps, but other than that, I use my phone mostly to make notes to myself and listen to music or videos.

The rest of it? I can do it online at home with a desktop, or if I catch wifi.

My partner, to this day, who is 15 years older than me, still doesn’t own his own cellphone either. He uses the home phone, and email.

He also admittedly isn’t into social media, blogging, or anything that I participate in, so that helps him stay away from it, but it really isn’t that crazy to NOT own a cellphone in my eyes.

Some benefits of not having a cellphone

  • You’re organized AF – Going somewhere? Better make detailed maps and notes to yourself before you leave the home, along with saving images of a bus schedule on my iPod so I could take the bus
  • No one can interrupt your life – No calls, messages… you decide when you want to allow them into your life by switching onto a wifi network, or staying off it
  • You are off the grid – Lots of free time to read or do other things if you don’t have a wifi network connected
  • No one can call you – Call my home phone, leave a message and I’ll decide if I call you back or not
  • No extra added cost – I pay $65/month for 9GB with Virgin Mobile and unlimited domestic calling, plus having paid $2000+ for the phone itself, these are not small costs, and over time, they do add up

New benefits of having a cellphone

  • Hotspot freedom – I can now hotspot my laptop in the car and work remotely anytime, anywhere while I am running errands
  • Easy access to information – Google it, Find a number, look up a place to eat..
  • Can actually call people – Like make calls in the car while you’re waiting or stuck in traffic… it is kind of efficient
  • Personal – My own number makes it easier for people to contact me privately and not the home phone
  • Safer – More secure than public wifi networks


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Sherry of Save. Spend. Splurge.

Am my own Sugar Daddy. Am a millionaire at 36 after getting out of $60K of student debt in 18 months, a little over a decade earlier, using I have worked 50% of my career (taking 1-2 year breaks), and quadrupled my income within 2 years of graduating, going from $65K to $260K with an average lifetime savings rate of 50%. I have 11 side incomes that are on track in 2020 to make me $50K - $75K. I could retire today if I wanted, but love my work-life balance as a freelancing consultant in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Math). I am all about balance - between time and money, and also enjoying my money. I also post daily on Instagram @saverspender.

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  1. Angelique

    I hate that I love my smart phone. I miss the days of spending hours of reading, watching PBS, using my desktop then turning it off and not having an internet identity. And I’m sick of paying for cellphone service. I’ve already decided when this phone dies (soon I think), I want the least expensive non-smart phone option and I plan to reclaim my time.

    1. Sherry of Save. Spend. Splurge.

      That’s a good idea. Why not a pay-as-you-go plan? Maybe that would help cut down on usage.

      You could actually cut back as much as possible, and then just actively shut off by time blocking out some time JUST for the phone (on a timer), and the rest, you have to do something else.

  2. Christine

    This post reminds me of a friend who recently mentioned that she has never once ordered anything from Amazon. My first thought was, “How is that even possible?” We end up paying dearly for these conveniences that we make into necessities.

    1. Sherry of Save. Spend. Splurge.

      It is true – we choose what we decide are conveniences, and sometimes we just don’t need it.

  3. B.

    I agree – with the caveat that a smartphone is a lifesaver once you have children, if only to occupy them with apps/YouTube while you’re out and about.

    1. Sherry of Save. Spend. Splurge.

      I throw my phone at my son when he is being whiny. I know exactly which game will keep him quiet…


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