Thursday, March 20, 2008

I confess – I have a prepaid cell phone

Don't tell anyone, but I have a cheap phone. I'm not sure when it was, but it seems somewhere along the way cell phones became status symbols. And there are consequences for not keeping up with the latest and greatest. For me, a cell phone is a communication tool, not an entertainment device or a fashion accessory. So, of course, I have a prepaid Tracfone.

Earlier this week, I thoroughly enjoyed PaidTwice’s post on how she loves her prepaid phone. That type of talk is nearly blasphemy around my workplace. The only people I know who have prepaid cell phones are related to me!

It seems that everybody else wants and expects a lot more out of a phone. My co-workers would not even consider a prepaid phone and regularly make disparaging comments about my excessive frugality for owning one. Not to mention the fact that it doesn't even have a camera! Horrors!

Maybe it’s a frugalmeter? Obviously, the most frugal folks would not entertain a cell phone at all, but for those of us willing to splurge a little, a prepaid cell is the ticket. I figured out real early on that most of my cell calls are for 1 to 2 minutes. And most of the calls are locaters. For instance, “I’m here, where are you?” “Let’s meet at the Oasis.” etc. I do not have long drawn out conversations on my cell.

This is obviously very different behavior than the rest of the wirelessly connected world. It seems the majority of people just love to be connected all of the time. I have a neighbor who never goes outside or drives anywhere without a cell phone appendage. This obsession appears to be the height of insecurity. She is terrified to be alone with herself.

What may be even more bothersome is those folks who try to carry on two conversations at once. They will be talking on the phone and at the same time standing at a store counter trying to talk to a clerk about buying tires or whatever. I feel sorry for the other people in these conversations. Are these cell phone addicts so inconsiderate that they don’t realize they are being impolite?

Then there is the couple out for dinner where one spends the whole meal chatting on the phone while the other sits rather uncomfortably dining alone. Incredible. And finally, how about the annoying business man on a flight who calls his wife every 2 minutes to relay the flight progress. He calls to say things like: “we are on the ground”, then a few minutes later: “now, we are at the terminal”, “now, we are waiting for the door to open”, “now, I am in the tunnel”, etc. Ugh.

Anyway, Just like PaidTwice, I love my prepaid phone. It’s perfect for my type of usage and the price is right. The only downside that I have experienced is that I can’t get a statement with itemized calls for billing. I would have liked this feature to help get reimbursement for work related phone calls, but Tracfone would not give up the data. To avoid that problem, I typically check out a company cell phone when on travel. That’s a small inconvenience and certainly not enough to make me part with my no frills, frugal cell phone.


  1. Excellent! Long live the prepaid!

  2. Prepaid phones are great! Don't believe the hype of the contract phone payers. I wonder what their debt level is?

  3. You are such a conscientious saver- I'm truly impressed. With such an excellent quality, I'm sure many men consider you grade A marriage material. =)

    I use to have a prepaid phone myself for a good while.