Phone Dilemma?

Phone Dilemma? August 31, 2010

I have been unhappy with our phone situation for some time.  We have a cell phone and a land-line, and the cost seems extremely high for how much we actually use our phones.  Since I am primarily at home, the thought of getting rid of our land-line seems illogical, particularly when I find cell phones more difficult for conversation.  Unfortunately getting rid of the cell altogether isn’t really an option either.  I could switch to a no contract cell phone plan (much cheaper) and have very limited use of my cell for emergencies only.  Has anyone gone this route? Any good plans/companies you would recommend?

Or we could eliminate our land-line?  It seems only those still in school or in transition are opting for this route.  Is it acceptable for a settled family of 6 to not have a land-line?  After all the taxes, our basic land-line still adds up to a hefty sum, and I’m tempted to just throw in the towel and go cell phone only.  The social pressure to keep a land-line is high.  Is it ridiculous for us to go cell phones only?

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What Are Your Thoughts?leave a comment
  • Kate

    Red, here's the main reason we keep our landline, and it might sound totally silly but having it happen more then once I think makes it a good reason. We loose our power a lot, weird, but true. And while cell phones still work when the power is out, if your teenage babysitter doesn't have a cell phone (and at least 2 of ours don't) you really really want them to be able to call you and tell you the power is out. Also, I often forget to charge my cell phone, boom the power goes out and well, you get the idea.Besides now I have an old-fashioned plug in phone in our kitchen and I love wandering around on it and wrapping the cord around my finger while I talk, it feels so very retro and teenagery. But then I like to read real books with paper too. So there ya go.Having said that, hunt around for cheaper local phone service. We use KISS long distance and it is super cheap.

  • Erin

    My concern with eliminating a landline is the need to know exactly where a phone is during an emergency situation. I know of a situation where a 5 year old couldn't find mom's cell phone to call 911 (it was in her purse in the car) and she was unconscious. He wisely went next door to get help, but what if they hadn't been home? I'd got to a cheaper cell phone first.

  • readingmama

    Having experienced 9/11 in DC I will tell you that I was absolutely unable to use my cell. Only after a long commute home was I able to contact my husband and family on a landline. I will never give up my land line…it seems worth the expense. I also admit I like having a family number – it is a number connected to our home..our kids can use it and know where to find it in an emergency as opposed to my personal phone which could be in any place I deem appropriate at that time. Also, for things like school events and extracurriculars I prefer to call a family number as opposed to decide if I need to call a child's mother or father. I also want to limit child cell phone usage and although mine are too young for one now I want a land line for when they are older so as to avoid getting a cell at too young an age. Oh and one more reason..have you noticed the high percentage of people who use cell phones only who always lose their phone, misplace it etc….I am all for screening calls if you want but it seems like cells are just more temporary and transient.

  • Kate

    And not being an english major but still someone who should proofread better…that would be “lose” not “loose”. Ugh.

  • Odemkowicz

    We have no land line, and as long as I keep my phone with me at all times, or at least have a special place for it, it works fine. T-mobile has a family plan on a month to month contract that my husband and I switched to and it has been pretty good. We got one of the cheapest phones they have and have been saving tons of money. I am also a stay at home mom but my husband demands that i have a cell phone while I am out in case of emergency and there have been times I havent had it and wish I did. The land line of the other hand doesn't make sense to me anymore. Most cell phone companies have free long distance to anywhere in the U.S. (until you run over your minutes of course) and since husband and I talk to each other, text each other, etc. more than anyone else (and those minutes are free because we have the same plan) we rarely go over our minutes. I use Skype to talk to people overseas and if I go over my minutes I can also talk to people over Skype here in the U.S.

  • Odemkowicz

    Perhaps there is a way to get a land line that does not require you to pay for anything but local calling, maybe 15 bucks a month or something, just for such cases. I know there have been times when I couldn't find my cell phone around the house and in the case of emergency I would have been in trouble. We dont have a land-line, I just have to be super careful about keeping my cell phone in the same place.

  • Kat

    Red, we have the same ongoing conversation in our house – it comes up every time we review our budget! I like the option of getting a cheaper landline that would be used only for local calls – that way it's there for safety purposes, but the cell phone can be used for long distance calls.I also dislike talking on my cell phone, but think I just need to get one that's more comfortable and easy to talk on!

  • Laure

    We use a phone company called Phone Power. It is like Vonage (VOIP, where you must have high speed internet) but cheaper. We did the prepay plan which comes out to around $9 a month. We had problems with echoing at first but it was fixed in one second when I called them.

  • We have cell phones for emergencies only from Boost that are about $80/year (lovingly dubbed “e-phones”). Plus a local-only landline for $25/month and a calling card for long distance that we refill about twice a year. It comes to about $450 for the entire year. It's not too bad dialing the extra calling card numbers for long distance, but when we started it was really hard to be “unreachable”. Now I love it. The only people who have the emergency numbers besides the two of us are our parents.

  • Mary Alice

    I think that the land line is important for a babysitter — both for her to be able to call from your house and for you to be able to call home and check in. Also, a land line keeps you “listed” in your local white pages, which makes it easier for people to find you if you meet them in town. How does your cell phone in your house? Mine is spotty at home, so calls to friends and family really need to be made from a land line for now — or on the computer is a good, free, option, but doesn't work for calling my grandmother!

  • rightsaidred

    Look at my cool profile pic! Precise Woman, your picture inspired me to figure out how to upload a picture. Kate, no worries, I am THE WORST with typos and misspelled words. Seriously, something is really wrong with my brain. It seems to be getting worse.Thanks for all the comments, I'm leaning towards a cheaper cell phone (no contract type). Anyone have any experience with one of these?

  • We have only cell phones now, and I don't know that I'd be able to convince my husband of the necessity of going back to also having a land line. But, as the other commenters have pointed out, there are several good reasons to keep one (as long as you can get it cheap).A related question: has anyone tried Sienna Mobile? It's a Catholic phone company that seems to be fairly competitively priced, and donates to the pro-life charity of your choice. There are fewer phones (which doesn't really matter to us), but it is contract-free. I'm hoping to switch us to it in the next year or so.

  • Catherine

    We have and use landlines as much as possible because of the concern over brain radiation from cell phones, particularly for children (same issue with a cordless phone, so we have old-fashioned phones too). I almost never let my kids talk on the cell phone. We also were without power for almost 2 weeks after Hurricane Ike and only those with car chargers were able to keep using their cell phones after awhile. We have a cheap cell phone plan and just use it for emergencies.

  • mommato6

    we just recently disconnected our land-line due to mounting expenses. We rarely use our land-line and 99% of my family & friends call us on cell phones anyway, it made sense. I understand the concerns re: babysitters & 911 locating your address, although by 2012 this should not be an issue at all given new FCC regulations. (My solution to the babysitter dilemma is that if you & your spouse are both out, leave the babysitter one of your cell phones.) Also, after ALL of the crazy taxes/surcharges mounted on to your phone bill we could no longer justify the monthly expense. We are looking into Ooma & had not heard about Phone Power which sounds like a great deal. I wish you could pay your land line per call because our bill would probably be $2 month, but after taxes, we'd probably wind up with a crazy bill anyway 🙂 Hope you find the solution that works for you.

  • jmb

    We bundle our cable, land line phone, internet & cells through Verizon. The land line portion of the bill is next to nothing each month. We are all on a family plan with the cells (5 in total). I'm pretty old school so I don't see us getting rid of our land line. My brother & sil have no land line and my mom always frets because she doesn't know who to call to make plans with – her son or his wife. If she calls the wife, she gives the phone to my brother or doesn't pick up, if she calls my brother, she feels like she's excluding her daughter in law from plans, etc. Silly, but it bothers her.

  • DG

    We got Ooma, which seems to be the best VoIP option. $200 flat for the unit (one for upstairs, one for downstairs), compatible with our existing cordless phones, and no monthly bill or long distance charges. It's so great that we were able to cut our cell phone minutes way back too, since we now have unlimited free calling at home. Highly recommend it.

  • Sullibe

    We don't have a landline. Instead, my husband got a google voice number which is programmed to ring to his cell phone, his work phone, and my cell phone when I'm not at work. It's the number that we teach the children to memorize. In the event we do have a babysitter that does not have cell phone (not usually the case in our situation, our babysitters are usually in college, but I applaud those teenagers that don't have cell phones). Then my husband or I simply leave one of our phones at home with the sitter so that they can use the phone in the event of an emergency. That being said, when we did have a land line, we often would go through our cable company and do digital voice. It offered more options as well as unlimited local and long distance calling for much cheaper than a traditional phone line. You could look into going this route if you have cable internet already and haven't already done so.

  • Jessica

    We went cell phone free about two and a half years ago and are VERY happy with our decision. We use Vonage for our land line and love that service as well. it’s 25$ for unlimited local and long distance and with taxes and fees we still are about 30/mo. We have a phone (our old cell phone) with a prepaid/reload card that has the same service area as before (Tmobile, I think) We pay $100 for a card and that typically will last us about a year, unless it’s a high travel time for my hubby in which case, it might be a little more frequent. rnrnWe love this change, but people have voiced frustration that I’m not reachable at all times. To be honest, I appreciate not being wired all the time. I don’t sit on the phone ignoring my kids while we’re at the park, or answer a call while having coffee with friends. But, if I NEED a phone, I have it available. Good luck with your decision!

  • B-mama

    This is great! I've never heard of a lot of these providers, but am so glad to have more information on this issue. Thanks!

  • Jacquelyn

    My husband and I have never had a land line and we find it works just fine. I don’t see the need at all. If the babysitter doesn’t have a cell we leave one of ours behind for her to call if she needs us.

  • Tlemieux

    My husband and I share a prepaid cell from Verizon (has the best coverage in our area) and a landline. You can load as little as $15/mo on the cell but have to use that within a specified amount of time, nights and weekends are free. It’s good to have for emergencies on the road or getting lost since pay phones are hard to find (though stores are more accommodating at letting you use their phones, I’ve found). 911 calls made with a cell can’t be traced as quickly as those from a landline, most accidents happen at the home and our sitter’s phone conked out on her while she was here one night – all three are good enough reasons in my mind to keep the landline if it means sacrificing the cell!