Does your mobile phone control your life?

mobile phone motorollaAddicted to text, social media… technology

 

Should your life be filled with all the technological advances such as a mobile phone? Too often we see people who are roaming alone with their mobile phone and forget the life around them.

It almost seems as if the mobile phone is in control and you might even know someone who can’t live without one. For some people they connect emotionally to their mobile phone like Linus did with his security blanket.

It’s a way to be social without being social in real life… it’s more anti-social especially for those who don’t know how to turn it off when around other people, in job interviews or when they should be enjoying life.

There was a time when the home phone was all we had and that was the way we communicated so having a mobile phone has only become a convenience that many believe they need otherwise their world may collapse around them.

Sure, I own a television, computer and laptop but I use it when I need to or have the time to fit entertainment into my life. I haven’t paid for a mobile phone of my own since moving to Canada from the UK.

I must admit that I did own a UK mobile but for the most part it was mainly because it was cheaper than a home phone. My mobile was pay as you go for emergencies near the end of my stay in the UK as I was selling and moving house.

If I put 10 quid on the phone that would last me ages. My mobile was nothing special either and I still own that mobile phone today but it’s sitting beside my bed being used as an alarm clock. (yes that’s my mobile phone in the photo above, swanky ain’t it?)

The philosophy behind it was that if someone needed to get a hold of me they could ring the house phone. If I wasn’t there they could leave a message or phone again. If it was important enough to get a hold of me it was still possible even without a mobile phone.

I didn’t let the phone control what I did where and when, I just enjoyed talking to co-workers on my break and listened to music in the car etc. The hands free law came into effect in the UK long before it did in Canada and Spain had a similar law for even longer than that. I was not surprised to see the distracted driving laws come into effect because it was long overdue.

I might not look cool or be cool without the latest mobile phone, but I really don’t care. Trying to be cool ended when I left school in my teens. These days I have larger things to think about than how cool my phone is.

My life has been on such a roller coaster since moving to Canada with trying to establish myself and securing a career that I could grow in that I don’t get too much time for technology.

I can say that walking into a mobile store to get hooked up into the mobile world has not entertained my mind only because I’ve had no need for one.

 

Mobile upgrade

 

My wife has a Roger’s mobile and has owned her mobile since 1999 paying month to month. She has never upgraded her mobile phone in all that time, if you can believe that.

I’m sure if you are a mobile junkie you are likely shaking your head but she’s really had no need to graduate to a smartphone. She’s not the only one and that’s why you see brand new mobile phones for sale because people take the upgrade and sell the mobile to make a profit. They continue to use their older phone or buy a second-hand upgraded mobile for less. Money maker, for many yes.

A few years ago she was given a free mobile from a friend of hers who had an extra one that she didn’t need. She’s been using that for many years now. Rogers is always offering to upgrade her mobile and there have been some instances where she tells me she might just want to upgrade.

 

Mobile money saving apps

 

These days owning a smartphone means you can load a smartphone app that will allow you to get more perks as a consumer such as with the new money saving apps Checkout 51, Zweet, Snapsaves etc. It seems everywhere we go these days it’s not just friends, family and employers who assume we own a smartphone even businesses do.

I wonder how long we can survive without owning a mobile phone that does more than text and take photos. A data plan is not something we really need but is it important to keep up with not only technology but everything and everyone around us? Personal choice, I guess.

Gone are the days where the home phone was an important life-line because no one has a need for one these days as just about everyone has a mobile phone. Likely why mobile companies invest so much more into mobile phones than home phone deals.

Some people especially single people get rid of the home phone and use the mobile phone exclusively but they don’t get a basic plan similar in price to a home phone. They go and get all the bells and whistles which ends up making the phone companies richer than you think.

 

Emergency situations

 

There used to be a time when my wife would say you need to get a mobile phone while travelling on the road. Why? She thought just in case something happens I have a way to get in touch with someone for help.

Mind you my employer provides me with a work phone while on the job now back in the early days of my employment I never had a phone, but I survived.

The way I see now compared to the way I thought of mobile phones when I lived in the UK is that if I pulled over 100 cars on the highway I’m betting the percentage of drivers with a mobile phone would be pretty high.

I told my wife not to worry because if anything should happen there are more phones on the road these days than there was years ago, I’ll be fine. Besides, I have the work phone if needed and travel time to and from work is not that far for me. It’s more in the winter months she gets concerned.

So, I continued to ask myself why else do I need a mobile then?

People rely on the fact that everyone must own a mobile so they can easily change appointments on the fly, email or call someone and they’ll be available if you need to change plans.

That doesn’t quite happen with me and although I might feel a bit out of the loop without owning a mobile I haven’t suffered any consequences of not owning a mobile. Sure, some people make fun of me because I don’t own one but I don’t really care what anyone thinks.

 

Look up

 

I’m quite happy looking up when I walk and smiling at the people who do actually still choose not to be buried in their mobile phone. Don’t believe me? Next time you go out put your phone away and look around you. You might be shocked to see just how many people live in their mobile phone and create a new world for themselves.

If you are on social media you might have watched a video called “Look Up” written and performed by fellow British countryman Gary Turk about putting away your mobile phone. The mobile phone is taking over our lives and we are missing opportunities all around us because we fail to look up and pay attention.

‘Look Up’ is a lesson taught to us through a love story, in a world where we continue to find ways to make it easier for us to connect with one another, but always results in us spending more time alone.

 

Tonya at Budget and the Beach blogged more about the video the other day and although her she has no home phone only the mobile phone she has given herself a 21 day challenge by grounding her IPhone for use only in certain situations.

It is believed that it takes 21 days to form a habit but apparently Tonya explains that it’s not that scientific, she just likes the sounds of it.

Many people are addicted to text, addicted to social media, addicted to email… addicted to the world of mobile technology. I hope to follow along Tonya to see how she makes out and I credit her for being brave enough to say, enough is enough.

Just the other day I watched a girl cross a busy road at a crosswalk with her face buried in her mobile and not paying attention to where she was walking.

I pointed this out to my wife and said what if a driver wasn’t paying attention, or didn’t see her and instead of potentially being able to jump out of the way and save her life she chose social media or whatever she was doing with her mobile phone instead.

It’s no different than those who continue to text and talk while driving. It’s not until something happens people say sorry, that is if they are around to do so. Sometimes, it’s just too late.

Tell me what is more important than your life? How many people are killed every day because they worry more about what’s happening on Facebook or whether that girl or guy will be upset because you don’t text them back right away?

That’s right, love yourself and turn off the mobile phone when you don’t need it or even better if you don’t need one get rid of it and bank the money you save.

 

Mobile use at work

 

I know many of you are guilty of turning on your mobile phone while on the clock at work to check your Facebook, Twitter, check-in or just to surf the web which many employers deem non- acceptable.

Employers are battling the mobile usage by employees at work by making sure their employees are leaving their cell phones in lockers or out of sight. Distractions at work because of mobile phone use costs a company money.

If you don’t believe me, invest your money in a business and let your employees hang out on their mobile phone all shift and see if you are a happy business owner at the end of the day. Likely not, so why is it ok for you to do it to your employer?

I think the distracted driving is only the beginning with mobile phone use because soon enough places like schools, hospitals, place of employment and other places where a cell phone is not needed will not be permitted at all, if it’s not already. Some places already say, no turn it off.

Do you remember the smoking hut at work, casinos, restaurants, bars etc? Get ready for the mobile phone hut. It’s a place where all mobile users can go to turn on and do what they need to do.

I know I’m just having a laugh but that’s how bad mobile technology has taken over the world. I know people may think I’m old school but until the day comes that I’m forced for whatever reason, I’ll live without paying for a mobile phone again and invest those savings into my retirement fund.

 

Mobile savings

 

How much can you save if you drop your mobile phone for real life? Let’s see… my friend who has a Samsung Galaxy 4 mobile pays $83 a month with his mobile provider.

That’s not a fixed payment because if he goes over his data plan that price goes up. Let’s do the math on his mobile phone $83 x 12 months is just shy of $1000 a year. Best of it is we use the fact that we don’t own a home phone as to why we need a smart phone which for the most part is at least twice as much of a payment of owning a basic home phone like I mentioned above.

There is nothing wrong with owning a mobile phone to get rid of the home phone but are you willing to pay for the perks?

Unless you are willing to pay as you go or get a non-data plan mobile like my wife you are paying more than you likely need. No, I’m not one of those totally against mobile phones but I do respect the people who can turn off their phones once in a while and enjoy life while out and about.

The phone is not what is used to be, a means to communicate verbally with another human being. These days we pay to play games, surf the internet, listen to tunes and Skype our way around the world.

I don’t even think my wife really needs her Rogers’s mobile but that’s her choice. Just because I don’t want to be hooked up I don’t expect others to want to live the mobile free life I lead. It’s your choice.

I have to admit that we both haggle a good mobile deal from Rogers every year but she’s been with them so long that they give her the best basic mobile phone deal they’ve got.

If you remember last year she had that huge cell phone bill because of the long-distance plan that wasn’t understood. That mistake cost us $114.62 instead of the typical $30 bill we would get.

Now that her plan has been upgraded she has had no more surprise mobile bills but she doesn’t have to worry about going over her long-distance as it’s free.

So, if you own a mobile phone think about taking a break from your phone once in a while, enjoy life and don’t make people think you are on stand-by 24/7. If you aren’t using your mobile plan and paying for it, get rid of it or downsize it. Money in your pocket is better than in someone else’s.

Some questions to ponder….

  • If you own a mobile phone what are some of the reasons you own one?
  • Do you let the mobile phone control your life?
  • Do you wait to check “personal” non-work related social media, texts and emails until you have free time rather than every 5 minutes?
  • Can you turn off your phone and challenge yourself like Tonya will be doing for 21 days?

 

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Mr. CBB
Mr. CBB who was born and raised in the United Kingdom, moved to Canada where he is now a permanent resident. He is also a father to a very active 3 year old boy which keeps him young at heart. He bought his first house at the age of 21 in the UK after graduating University and his second at age 24. Mrs. CBB bought her first house at the age of 30. Both Mr.CBB and his wife are 40-ish year-old finance lovers who accomplished debt freedom before the age of 40. Canadian Budget Binder is a fun, family-friendly place where he shares their financial journey with his readers and hopes to learn about theirs. No silver-spoon just hard work and perseverance. Welcome to Canadian Budget Binder! You've got this!
Mr. CBB
Mr. CBB

Comments

  1. I bought an old blackberry phone for $20 off ebay and use speakout as well. Though I use a prepaid phone in the United States as we are snowbirds I have resisted the idea of having a cell phone here in Canada. However, since my dad has become ill, I find it a godsend. I’m able to get out and not worry I’ve missed an important call. Wifi is irrelevant here, I have excellent Bell sympatico service at home. With their allowed 6 month suspension it becomes very inexpensive. Netflix and OTA tv provides our entertainment. You can see I have a real aversion to monthly payments!

  2. We bought a cheap one with cash ($200), unlocked it with cellunlocker.net, and I rooted it (it’s an Android) so that I could uninstall all the bloatware and control what loads up when my phone loads up. Since it’s cheap, it only has 1 Ghz of RAM so that means it would be sloooowwww if I didn’t root it and clean it up.

    Then I bought a sim card from speakoutwireless.com for $10, and bought a $50 card from them. We’re making it last the whole year. It’s free incoming texts, and outgoing texts cost 10 cents. So if I need to text, I text through wifi using text+. I also am a voip subscriber for our home phone (which costs under $4 a month), and so I have an app on my phone that allows me to make wifi calls as well. This is great especially when we’re travelling through the States and don’t want to pay for roaming!!! So, averaged out, we pay about $4.79 a month taxes in for our phone.

    We don’t have data on it either. We just rely on wifi. 🙂

  3. To be honest, I absolutely hate cell phones! I don’t even personally have one. My fiance does and we’re always together, so we share. I can tell you one thing though, I am not at all addicted to text messages…maybe a little to social media, when I’m home, my computer is always open.

  4. With the advent of smartphones we have lost all down time. A commercial comes…we look at our phone. Waiting for food at a restaurant…we look at our phone. At our kid’s sports practices…we look at our phone. It really has filled in those small gaps of time and I’m not sure that’s a good thing.

  5. Great article! My mobile phone doesn’t control my life because I haven’t owned one since 2005 and I don’t miss it at all!

    I see people every day who are attached to their phone as though it were their lifeline; drives me crazy! It is almost impossible to have a conversation with anyone without them being distracted by their phone. I watch parents in the park who appear to be more interested in their phones than in their children. Everywhere you look people are staring at their phones.
    My daughters actually sleep with their phones under their pillow, I’m serious! That can’t be good and really do you really want your sleep disturbed by someone texting you at 3am. I sure don’t.

    A few months ago my partner and I went to a coffee shop in town that has a nice fireplace and a comfy armchairs next to it, I thought it would be a nice treat to go and have a coffee next to the fireplace. Well we arrived, ordered our coffee and headed for our favorite spot only to find a couple already seated at our favorite table. No problem except…they were each glued to their phones and not taking any notice of the fireplace or each other. Does that count as couple time? Is it really spending the evening together if you are absorbed in your phone and don’t actually speak to each other.

    My mom worries about me traveling on the highway especially in the winter, but she forgets that I travelled on the highway on my own for years before we ever had cell phones and I’m still here. 🙂

    I work long hours for about 9 months out of the year, often putting in a lot of overtime, I definitely don’t want to be any more connected to work than I already am.

    Recently I found myself spending too much time on Facebook and Pinterest and have been working hard to scale back the amount of time I spend on the computer outside of work. It is addicting and can be a huge time waster if you allow it to be.

    I’m happy to hear that I’m not the only one who doesn’t feel the need to be connected every minute of the day.

    • Thanks for commenting Pam. You bring up some good points. I don’t know if they were a couple at the fireplace or even knew each other but most people are so busy with their heads down even in the company of others it’s a pity on what they might be missing out on. I agree before cell phones we just drove and we turned out ok. It’s the convenience or that security blanket that we get used to and feel we can’t live without that scares most people especially those who grew up with cell phones being the norm in the family.

  6. Christine Weadick says:

    Our older boy had one when he was in the military to call home. It was that or buy phone cards and use the pay phone in the hallway of the Shacks. He’s home now so no more cell. Our daughter has one and is planning to get rid of her landline once she moves in a couple of months. She uses it a lot and texts with it. The cell number is the one she gives out as there is no way for someone to track her address on the cell, it has an answering machine with it, and she can see who is calling before/if she picks up.
    The younger boy has a pay as you go simple cell phone that I use more than he does. This is because of his father’s health issues as I take the phone with me to any appointments I go to with his father. His Dad has landed in the hospital a time or three unexpectedly so it is handy that way. He bought it a few years back when his father was in hospital and our landline went down. It was not a good time to be without a phone to put it mildly…..It is an emergency use phone.
    We tend to feel the same as you about the phone…..if it’s important enough they will call back again until they get hold of you….

  7. Sometimes, I think that we create all these important reasons that we can live without a phone….which of course, isn’t true. If life went on before the mobile phone, it will still go on today without one….

  8. Since I dont have internet access basicall all day I use my phone to connect/email etc. Im trying to be very aware of my phone usage when koddo is around and never use it at dinner etc. I use my phone a lot during commute/work breaks and not as mucj at home.

    • Our nephew sees his mom on the cell all the time and he loves it… I’m afraid we are teaching kids very young about technology. Is that a good thing? Maybe, as it’s not likely that technology will turn back time.

  9. Isabelle says:

    Obviously, I mean ‘money’ (!), not mother!

  10. Isabelle says:

    I’m still resisting! I don’t own a cell phone. I figure I’m either at work or at home, so pretty easy to reach. My home phone doesn’t ring much so who would call me on my cell? If I’m at the grocery store, I wouldn’t answer a cell phone anyway. I also have 3 emails so it’s easy to get in touch with me. I’m the only at work who doesn’t own one and people think it’s funny but really, I don’t need one! It’d be fun to have one but I prefer to spend my mother on something else…

    • Good for you. I’m actually shocked at the amount of people who say they don’t own one but it’s always a personal decision. 🙂

  11. Great post. You’re so right about people being so absorbed in them. I once saw a YouTube video of someone walking and texting in a mall, and she fell in a fountain because she wasn’t watching where she was walking! It was hilarious, but it does really say something about society. I finally managed to turn off all sound on my phone so I can’t hear it when someone Tweets me or texts me. I’m trying to not let myself get so addicted to it, because I see that everywhere and I agree it’s sorta sad.

    • Exactly.. and that habit will only get worse. It may have looked funny that she fell in the fountain but had she of died or been seriously injured that’s not so funny. We take the life for granted sometimes until something happens and then maybe, just maybe we wake up.

  12. While I was pregnant and emotional (at least, that’s the excuse I’m using) I went phone-free for 5 months. It was unbelievably amazing! Now, I’m married to my phone because of work, but I look back on those times I was able to be unreachable and I miss them! I did, however, refuse to do the expensive contract thing again. We have Republic Wireless now, and our total bill is only about $25 a month……I can’t believe I used to pay $200!

    • WOW, $200 a month for a cell phone. Did you tally up how much you spent during that time period. I bet you did and likely why you won’t be doing that again. Good for you.

  13. I’m a weirdo! At age 24, I have never owned a smartphone. Only about twice a week do I feel the urge to own one. Not enough to justify the cost.

    • I don’t think you’re a weirdo at all. It just boils down to what you want. It’s like any addiction, the more you try it the more you want it. If you don’t have something you don’t know what you are missing. Sometimes, it’s better that way.

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