My Phone Dilemma – part 1

I am well aware that what I am about to tell you is completely irrational and indicates some sort of deep-rooted emotional attachment or issues on my part, so I am a little ashamed to put it out here for all to read, but here goes…

I currently have 3 phones for myself. 2 cell phones and 1 land line. My fiance also has a cell phone. So we have 4 phones in our house. While I have been working towards saving more, and keeping to a budget, my fiance has been bugging me to get rid of the extra phones.  For some illogical reason I am resisting this quite strongly (I have always hated change, even as a kid, just ask my parents…).

So let’s go over the phones and why I am resisting, and maybe you can comment below and help me make the right decision…

Phone #1: my work cell phone.
This one is a no-brainer.  I have it for my job, my work pays for it, and it is an iPhone 5, so pretty decent. My work doesn’t mind if I use it for personal calls and such, as long as I don’t go overboard and the bills don’t get too high (I’m sure they have a pretty awesome plan for so many phones). Understandably then, most of my coworkers use it for work and personal. Myself, however, I have another cell phone…

Phone #2: my personal cell phone.
This is where the emotion and my nostalgic side of the brain start interfering with the logical side of my brain.  I have had this phone number since I was in high school. It is the number that all of my friends have memorized because most of them didn’t have cell phones when I got it.  It’s the one my mum knows by heart too since she only just recently started using a cell phone.  I’m very attached to my phone number (why would anyone be attached to a phone number? I don’t know… but I am…). When I worked in Europe for a year after I graduated university, I left the phone at home and got a pay-as-you-go phone for my time over there, but I kept a minimum plan on this number just to keep the phone number for when I got home. I have made a point of keeping the same number. It’s like I feel that my friends won’t be able to find me if I were to get rid of it. And to be honest, I have had old friends that I haven’t seen in years come in from out of town and just call the old number to see if they could find me with success… so maybe that’s a valid point?  But my plan isn’t exactly a cheap one, and is it really worth spending over $95 a month on this phone for nostalgia and what-ifs? Probably not. And definitely not if I want to save as much as I can and join the ever growing group of people looking to live the minimalist lifestyle of early retirement and financial independence.  Someone could probably do some fancy math and tell me what that would mean in terms of retirement money, but that is currently beyond my personal finance capabilities.

Some questions you might have…

Why don’t I just get my work to pay for my personal number?

Because all the work numbers are in the same range, which makes them all alike and that’s how my work likes it… my personal number is one of the old school cell phone numbers that does not match that pattern at all.

Why don’t I just get another minimal plan like I had before, and call forward everything to my work phone?

I could do that for phone calls, but I don’t think you can “call forward” text messages, can you? And these days it is mostly texting that is used for communication…

Another aversion I have to getting rid of my personal phone is that I feel with 2 phones, I can keep my work life and my personal life separate.  All of a sudden they would be more intertwined… I like the ability to leave the work phone behind when I go out with friends for a night out on the town. But honestly, I normally have my work phone with me anyway, so this is just in my head… I need to get over it.

So you can probably tell by now that I am already leaning towards finally getting rid of my personal phone number, and deal with the fact that I have to tell people I have a new number… In fact, I think the logical, money-saving side of my brain may in fact be winning the battle against the emotional, nostalgic side of my brain… it’s just a matter of time and working through the details of cleaning up the old phone and informing folks about the move… And paying the fee to get out of my contract early… Have I mentioned that I seem to be very adverse to any sort of change?

So I thought I’d do a little math to help myself to see the financial benefits of getting rid of my personal cell phone and maybe motivate me to get over the last of my emotional attachments.

Currently, my cell phone bill is about $95/month and my fee to get out of my contract early is about $200.  The fee gets less as we get closer to the date, but I still have over a year on my contract.

If I get my act together and cancel my cell phone by next month, let’s assume I have to pay January & February bills and then pay the cancellation fees, I will pay:

$95 x 2 + $200 = $390

And if I were to keep my cell phone all year, it will cost me:

$95 x 12 = $1140

So with some pretty easy math I can see that, even with the cancellation fee, I can save an extra $750 just this year by canceling my personal cell phone.  Again, I could do some fancy math to determine what this would mean for my early retirement dreams, but I don’t have this knowledge yet…

Has anyone been through a similar battle with themselves?  How hard is it to let go of irrational emotional attachment to things?

Tomorrow I will post about my land line…


4 thoughts on “My Phone Dilemma – part 1

  1. So, I’m irrationally attached to my phone number as well. In fact I moved 5 hours away from my home town (aka, now in a different area and am long distance to call) and I still have my phone. Because I have nationwide long distance it doesn’t really matter, but I’ve had this number for 13 years (since I was 16). I think I’ll let it go if I move to another province rather than back home, but I do not understand what my crazy attachment is to it, considering everyone has numbers in a contact list now rather than memorized.


  2. What about doing something different: keeping the personal number, but moving it to a much lower-cost plan, maybe with a different provider? Republic Wireless or join a friend’s family plan. I just did the latter a few months ago and transferred my old number to the new phone.

    The thing about being dependent on a work cell phone number is that you might, for whatever reason, change jobs — and then you’d be without a cell or any way for people to contact you.


    • That is a good point about being dependent on my work cell phone. Something to consider for sure, but I feel pretty secure in my job, so I don’t see it being too much of an issue. I considered getting some sort of friends & family plan with my fiance, but I feel like the simplification of my life by only needing to keep track of one phone might win over in the end. I still haven’t switched over, so we will have to see if I can actually follow through with my plan…


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