I’m an iPhone addict. There, I admitted it. Wheeew feels good to get that off my chest. I was one of those people that you see dining out, transfixed by the glow of my little pocket-sized internet machine, ignoring my friend at the other side of the table. But not anymore because I downgraded my phone.
Why I Downgraded
Last year, one of my oldest and closest friends came to visit me. She told me how she and her husband switched their phone service to Republic Wireless and were paying about $40/month. Intriguing. At this time, I was still making payments to T-Mobile for my iPhone 5 and that was added to my “absolutely everything” phone plan. My monthly payments were about $112.
Earlier this year, my phone fell 2 feet from a little set a drawers to the bathroom floor, the screen was obliterated. A month later I was notified that my phone was paid off and my monthly payment was going to be only $90/month. Woo hoo! I started looking at options to upgrade. The iPhone 6 looked very enticing and my phone bill would only increase by $30 for the next 2 years. Awesome.
But then I remembered Republic. I took a look a their website and I was attracted to their very low phone plans. They touted one plan that included unlimited calling and texting and 2G of data for $40. They also introduced a refund program, if you don’t use your data your account will be credited. I made the switch to Republic in July. My first bill came in at a whopping $13.00. I couldn’t believe it. At this rate, I would be saving about $75/month on my phone bill which equals a yearly savings of $900. Now that is awesome.
The reason Republic is so inexpensive is that they use Sprint’s towers and they encourage their customers to refrain from using cellular data and to stick to WiFi. Lucky for me both my home and office are equipped with a fast WiFi connection.
By seeing the financial impact of my data usage, I scaled waaaaay back. We’re talking from 3G of data to 800MB. By downgrading, I realized that there are some other benefits of using less data .
The Benefits of Downgrading Your Phone
- You Start To Notice Your Surroundings
As a smart phone addict, every idle moment is spent staring at your phone. For me there was always a Facebook update to read, an email to check, an instagram to like, a recipe for casserole to pin. This list would never end. I was one of those people walking down the street nose deep in some unimportant news story. Now that I’m not using data, I freely walk down the street noticing the trees, the birds, the fancy Bentleys that drive around Beverly Hills. I smile at people. I allow myself to ponder things because I can’t get an immediate answer from Google.
- You Become a Better Driver
I’m not someone who texts and drives, but I was someone who would facebook, email, pin, etc etc while driving. The time at every red light had to be filled up with some sort of update from my phone. Then when the light changes, I was that jerk that everyone was honking at. That’s not a good feeling. Now my phone sits safely in my purse away from my swiping little fingers. I still find myself getting distracted from time to time, but now it’s by people walking dogs down the street and not Twitter.
- You Give Others Your Full Attention
Have you ever been out to dinner with a friend who can’t seem to put their phone away? I think we all have and sometimes we’re that friend. I read this post by Alexandra Franzen in which she observed that people hardly went 15 seconds without checking their phone at a restaurant. That’s not good. I realized that I was sacrificing my relationships for my phone. I knew it was getting bad when my boyfriend would constantly call me out on it. Like when I drive, my phone is neatly tucked away in my purse when I’m out with friends.
- You Start To Get Better At Directions
When my old college roommate was in town last week, I took her on a tour of Los Angeles. I’ve been living here for over 5 years and I think I have a good grasp on how to get around. Yet I find myself to be a slave to Google Maps. During my roommate’s visit, I didn’t use my phone once to navigate. We went from Beverly Hills to Hollywood and then downtown. I was surprised I was able to find her hotel with no problem whatsoever and I was able to navigate myself back home to the valley. Plus, allowing yourself the opportunity to get lost in your own city could lead to the discovery of places you never knew existed.
- You Allow Yourself to Slow Down
One of my old supervisors at work was like an email gunslinger. He would respond to emails so quickly that I began to think that he was superhuman. I felt like I had to live up to his example, so I stayed glued to my phone. There is a lot of time sensitive stuff that comes to my inbox, but rarely is it so time sensitive that I need to disrupt having dinner with my boyfriend in order to respond to an email. Since I don’t use my data, I’m not checking emails when I’m away from a WiFi connection. This allows me to slow down and step away from my work. Also, I realize that when I do sit down to respond to emails, I am able to give my full attention to what I’m writing and not be worried that I’m taking too much time out of a conversation at dinner to respond to a non-urgent matter.
Have you recently downgraded your phone or taken steps to back away from a smart phone addiction?