Should we ditch the landline?

26 01 2009

For months, we have kicked around the idea of canceling our landline telephone service. We know plenty of twenty- and thirty-somethings who have never had a landline. But at the ripe old ages of 49 and 51, we have been clinging to our home phone as if tethered by the seemingly endless coils on the glorious slimline of days gone by. Ah, those marvelous 1970s when, in search of a private moment with your sweetie, you stretched the cord around the corner, down the hall and into a closet, if necessary, to escape the din of the TV and the curiosity of parents or siblings.

But I digress.

The time has come, I think?, to cut the cord. My husband and I each have a cell phone. Our two college-age sons have cell phones. My mom, who lives nearby, has a cell phone with the same company. Consequently we have unlimited free calls to the people we call the most. The only one in the family without a cell is our 10-year-old daughter.

The pros of cutting the cord are numerous. First, we will save $30 a month. That’s $360 a year. A close second, no more telemarketers. Third, simplicity. One less bill to pay, one less phone to chase after, one less electronic device to repair or replace, one less place to check messages.

What are the cons? Folks on the internet who have contemplated ditching their landlines have pointed out a few drawbacks.

During a prolonged blackout, your cell will eventually need to be recharged. True, but since we keep no old-fashioned corded phone in the house, we already run that risk. It’s never happened.

Do you really want everyone and their cousin calling your cell phone? Do you have the minutes to deal with that? Good point. Many have solved this issue by keeping a “household” cell at home and using this number as the receiver of all household-related calls. Mmmmm. Maybe. Of course, this would cut our savings by $10 a month.

What about when your 10-year-old turns 11 or 12 and you start leaving her at home? Another good question, especially since I am dead set against children and young teens having cell phones. The “household” cell would also solve this problem.

Help me out here!! What do you think? Do you still have your landline or have you cut the cord?




3 responses

26 01 2009

I always think it’s smarter to cancel a cell phone than a landline. The latter is much cheaper than the former.

You can get a basic line — no call waiting, no voicemail (buy an answering machine, most can be accessed remotely, just like VM), etc — for around $12 a month. Sure you get unlimited “free” calls to people in your network, but if you use your cell phone less, you can probably cut down on minutes and thereby save $10-20 each month. Even when I called my friend in FL at least twice a week (for at least a half hour at a time) our phone bill was only $36 after taxes. Considering that most cell phones start at $39.99, I’m not sure I see the financial merit.

For your college-age kids, get a 1-800 number. Then they can call you for free (on their end), and you then call them back with your landline (1-800 mins are expensive). Here in Seattle, they offer a plan wherein you pay $25 a month for unlimited long-distance. I bet that’s a lot less than you’re spending on all those cell phones!

30 01 2009

We cut the landline to my business last summer, which I blogged about here:

At first it was weird not having a “real” phone for business calls, but no one slipped through the cracks, and now I can get calls anywhere, anytime, and I’m not spending $800 a year that I don’t need to spend.


2 02 2009
Update: We pulled the plug on the land line « Free to be Frugal

[…] week, I wrote a should we/shouldn’t we post about ditching the land line admitting that I had some sort of odd attachment to the home phone. I […]

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