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How to Survive Without a Phone

Updated: Dec 02, 2012 20:36
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There was a time when things got hard. In the span of 3 months, I dropped my phone in the toilet at a Thai restaurant, brought it back to life with a bowl of rice, quit my job… and soon after had my phone shut off. Apparently I didn’t pay the bill, so I guess quitting my job wasn’t the smartest thing I’ve ever done in my life. Nevertheless, I got through these difficult times and learned a whole new way to live that didn’t include my hands and eyes glued to a mobile device. It also helped teach me responsibility, but that’s for another day. This guide is all about survival, despite being irresponsible.

Whether you left your phone at home one day, broke the screen, or forgot to pay your bill, there are a few ways to make life easier and maybe even enjoyable without your beloved cellular device. 

Free WiFi

When my phone got shut off I relied heavily on locations with a wireless connection. I could do everything I needed to do on my phone… well, other than call or text. Who really makes phone calls on their phone anyway these days? Old school. If you’re really a broke-ass and didn’t pay your bill like yours truly, just frequent the places with WiFi. You can still Instagram and Facebook.

The Internet

Keep tabs on what everyone is doing the way you normally do… read their status updates. Most of us probably make a lot of plans via Facebook and Twitter as is. Instead of calling people with your phone plan, you can Skype, get a Google Voice number, or download other apps that lets you make calls. There are a few options you can use that WILL let you call and text for FREE. Check them out.


My friends knew about my misfortune and were very generous in helping me. While one friend was at his legit office job, I borrowed his phone during the day to make calls and look for work. I even used the phone at the party store across the street. Be sure to let everyone know you can only be reached through your social media platforms and e-mail. Remember the good old days when you’d make plans to meet somewhere, and it actually worked? It wasn’t necessary to text moments before your arrival? So yeah, think back to how you interacted with your friends before you had a cell phone. You’ll be fine.

Pre-paid Phone

If you’re looking for a temporary fix or want to avoid a phone company altogether, pre-paid is a good way to go. You can buy a simple phone super cheap and get the lowest plan you need. Total cost= under $100. Check out StraightTalk and Metro PCS. You won’t feel cool with that 1998 Nokia, but at least you have a stable number for people to call you on.

Buy an Alarm Clock

I panicked when I dropped my phone in the toilet. Not only was it disgusting, I realized how many things I really do use my phone for- including a way to wake up in the morning. Since my phone acts as an alarm clock, I had no other choice but to actually go and purchase one. I bought an alarm clock for under $10 at Walgreens and was good to go.

Use your Intuition

Life without a phone is peaceful. You can go off the grid and have a perfectly good excuse for it. Instead of making plans and stressing out to be at places on time, I would simply show up and come and go as I pleased. I learned who my true friends were when I didn’t have a phone, because they’d go out of their way to see me and would even stop by. All in all, living my life without a phone was a great experience. It slowed me down and grounded me for  a moment in time… I recommend, at the very least, everyone takes a technology- free day out of the week.

The Lesson

It has been two years since I had to survive without a cell phone, and since then things have only gotten better. I learned that you can’t talk your way out of getting your phone turned back on, that it isn’t a good idea to check Facebook in a public bathroom, and that phone cases are crucial but probably won’t protect from water damage. So, my advice to you- have your phone bill automatically deducted from your account each month, and please, don’t use your phone on the toilet.

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Kristin Fehrman - Diva of Deals

Kristin Fehrman - Diva of Deals

A Midwest born serial city hopper with a pesky shopping habit, I strive to live the good life. It's all worth finagling and the hustle as long as I can enjoy awesome restaurants, travel to new places and fill my closet.