Can giving up your phone for a week really save you money?

That sounds like a really silly question? But can being without your mobile phone for a week really save you money? Is it possible to survive without a device that so many of us use and rely on? MoneySupermarket.com challenged me to try, for a week, and see if I could cope and if it did make a difference financially. I gave up my beloved iPhone for 7 days, and I lived to tell the tale. This post shares a little bit from each day of the challenge, and I will also share if and how much money I think I saved and if it would save me money in the long term to use my phone less. So how was my One Week Energy Challenge?

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Saturday: Day 1 of no phone, and husband and children are delighted (because they think I spend too much time on it, they are probably right) but also don’t believe I can manage. I am quite excited, as I have a lot going on at the moment, so my phone is always buzzing with mails, messages and alerts, and the idea of being free from that for a week is actually quite nice. I have pinged family members to tell them that I am going “old school” for a week and that they will have to call me on the home phone if they need me, or send a mail that I will only be able to check if I pull out the laptop. 

I normally rely on my phone for a lot of things, like checking when the bus is arriving, and keeping in touch with people, but for once it was nice to just “wing it” and we managed a trip to the swimming pool, and shopping, without my phone. I wrote out an actual shopping list instead of using my phone, and I chatted to the other parents at swimming, instead of burying myself in my phone, on social media. 

Sunday: Similar to Saturday. Managed ok without the phone. Didn’t go anywhere, so didn’t need my phone much. Found taking photos a little frustrating, because normally I just snap stuff on my phone and then share them to my social media, or with family, but having to go and find the camera, then upload them to the computer was a lot slower. The novelty factor hasn’t worn off yet, and I am finding time to do things with my hands when I would normally just grab my phone. I picked up my much neglected knitting, for a bit. 

Monday: worked at home, most of the day. Usually I use my phone a lot, and spend a lot of time on social media (sometimes wasting time, ahem, and sometimes for actual work purposes) and also reading mail and messages but the phone stayed firmly off and in the husband’s drawer (so he could keep an eye on me and make sure I wasn’t using it) I used my laptop, and also a notepad and pen to keep track of tasks. Very old school, but surprisingly not too hard to manage and quite therapeutic actually.

The only problem with not having a phone, when you use it a lot, and people are used to being able to get hold of you, is things like sms and other messages are missed. It can be a little frustrating. 

Tuesday: working day for me. I missed my phone, a lot. I normally use the phone to check buses, and also to listen to music whilst I am travelling, and to communicate with the team I work with. It was very odd to be without it, and manage. It was a little frustrating again, because someone was trying to get hold of me and had sent an sms, expecting a reply, and when I didn’t reply, they then sent a rather grumpy e-mail, which of course I didn’t read until I was home, and opened my laptop to check my mail. 

What I noticed by day 4 of the challenge? 

I am not having to charge my phone daily, if not twice a day. Of course, because I am not using it, I am not charging it. I am not sure of unit cost per charge of an iPhone, but if you are using the phone less (or not at all) then you aren’t charging it as much, which probably is saving a small amount of money, in the long term. 

I haven’t topped up my phone this week. Normally I top up my current plan once a week, because I use a LOT of data for social media, sending and reading mails, reading the news, streaming music, shopping and other things. I do try and use wi-fi, where I can, but often I will be on a bus and suddenly remember I need to order something online, or I will share a post on Facebook or Instagram , using my data allowance. Not using my phone means I am not able to do this.

Wednesday: Another working day and I will admit to being frustrated, because normally I am used to just being able to pull my phone out and “do stuff”. I waited for a long time for a bus, to get me home, and because the local bus timetable service wasn’t working and I had no phone to check the app I normally use, I sat, waited and got a bit grumpy about it. I was a little late for an appointment and had no way of contacting the person I was meeting to tell them I was running late. 

Thursday: I miss my phone. I love taking photos and sharing them, and also being able to do things like make notes for a blog post, do my grocery shopping online, message people, read blogs. I also use it to listen to the radio/news. It’s definitely convenient to have a device that pretty much does everything in one go. 

Friday: Last day. I am actually surprised I survived and so are my friends and family. I coped quite well without the phone, although I did miss it. I have definitely spent less time on social media and other things, this week, because it hasn’t been easy to access, via my phone. 

In terms of money saving. being without a phone, that uses data, certainly saved me money. Currently I top up my data plan twice a month, at £10 a time. I get of free call time on my plan and some free sms messages but data does cost, and because I use a lot, and am lazy about making sure I am using wi-fi it is something I budget for. I use it for work and also for social stuff. If I was not using my phone at all, I would be saving £5 per week. I think if I cut down my use of my phone and stuck to using WiFi where at all possible, I could save perhaps half of that. So that would be approximately £2.50/week, or £10 per month, which is £120/year. That may not sound like much, but actually it’s not bad. That’s a week’s grocery shopping for us as a family,  and is about the same amount that we pay for our engery bills a month, or a terms worth of violin lessons for my daughter, so it’s a saving I could and probably should enforce more to help with our family budget. 

In terms of convenience, I don’t think I could be without my phone. I very much rely on it, for a lot of things, both to keep life running smoothly (like doing a grocery shop, using an app on my phone) for work, for keeping in touch with the world and also for a lot of social media activity, which is part of my both my job and blogging. I do need it and it’s a tool I use as part of daily life. Having got used to having it, I don’t think I would want to not have one, but it has been beneficial to take a break from it. I actually read two books, took better photos using my camera, and also learned to be a bit more patient about life whereas normally I would whip out my phone to solve things or organise things. I do think I could lessen my usage though and save us some money.

That is not a bad thing, at all. 

*This post is in collaboration with MoneySuperMarket, but all thoughts are our own*

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2 comments on “Can giving up your phone for a week really save you money?
  1. Kim Carberry says:

    Well done you! It sounds like you got on really well… I couldn’t live without my phone…
    Use a Pay as you go phone and rarely put any money on it. Maybe £10 every few months…I only use free wi-fi when I’m out and instead of text messaging I use Facebook messenger. I’m so glad all my family and friends use FB. hehehe
    Kim Carberry recently posted…Optimistic #WotW

  2. you had me at the first paragraph. My kids and husband are constantly saying “Mummy stop messing on your phone” I get guilt for a nano second but then I am back in the zone. Maybe I should do something like this. Not sure I would save much money as I am on a great package and never top up. I don’t shop on my phone and I am not “with it” enough to have loads of apps to make my life simpler I like my pen and notepad.

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