One Year Without A Smart Phone

Right before I moved to Grenada a little over a year ago, I made the traumatic decision to turn off my iPhone. Imagine me kicking and screaming calmly making my way into the store and asking them to shut ‘er down. They really tried hard to keep me, especially because I lost my unlimited data that I was grandfathered into. However, I prevailed. I said no. I turned it off…

…and I spent nearly every day for 6 solid months reaching for my phone to look up something online. Alas, the smart phone habit was very, very hard to break, but I have come out of it a champion!

Admittedly, it was a lot easier for me to go without one since I moved to a small tropical island and really only use my phone to text the hubs. (I’ve also gone over a year without eating McDonalds, but that’s another story for another day.)

However, for those of you who spend around $100 per month on your smart phone and are contemplating what else you could do with that $1,200.00 every year, here’s a list of reasons why I enjoy going without it:

1. I use my time more wisely. I read a book or talk to a friend while waiting in line instead of playing Angry Birds or texting aimlessly.

2. It is so much cheaper. I pay $20.00 US per month for my pre-paid tiny little phone.

3. It’s peaceful. There aren’t a lot of sounds and buzzes from e-mails, picture texts, video messages, and whatnot. It just simply makes a noise when it rings and when I get a text.

4. It’s cheaper to fix. These little phones cost about $30, whereas fixing an iPhone is a several hundred dollar expense.

5. I was able to sell my iPhone to a friend here, making a little bit of a profit.

So there you have it, a real in-the-flesh 25 year old who is surviving this modern world without a smart phone. To be honest, I’m actually a little surprised that I made it this long without one. I won’t claim that I’ll shun smart phones forever, but it’s working out just beautifully for now.

So how do you feel about your smart phone? Are you attached? Could you live without it? Or, are there any folks out there with a regular ol’ cell phone? I can’t be the only one…

How To Budget Your Time

We chat a lot about budgets over here at Budget Blonde. Emergency funds, student loans, credit cards – you name it, we’ve discussed it. Yet, one thing we don’t talk about that much is budgeting time.

It’s a common problem these days. People have so many commitments and no time to do the things they really want to do. So I’m here to share how to gain some precious hours back and in the process, find some peace in your life.

I’d like to preface these tips by saying that I have a full time job. In addition to that, I spend about 20-25 hours a week on freelance writing projects and this blog. So, these tips are not coming from someone who has all the time in the world to begin with. In fact, it’s actually hard for others to understand that I choose to work like this because I absolutely love it. However, I think the reason that I love what I do is because I’ve found a way to work and still have time to do the things I want.

Here are some tips on how to find some extra hours regardless of how crazy your schedule is:

1. Know yourself first.

My experience living in Grenada has given me lots of time to be introspective. I’ve spent many hours figuring out what works for me. I’ve learned that in order to be happy, I have to get something accomplished during the day. In fact, if I lounge all day and don’t get out of my pajamas, I feel like my day was a total waste. So, if I spend all morning Saturday sitting on the front porch, looking at the water, and turning in 9 blog posts to a client, I am happy. However, you might only be happy if you get to spend your Saturday morning baking, taking a nap, spending time with your friends, etc. You have to know yourself before you know how to allocate your time best. For me, I need to get something accomplished before I allow myself a drink with friends or a date out to the movies.

2. Turn off the TV. 

I cannot think of a bigger time suck that TV. We haven’t had one in our home in almost 2 years. When the hubs and I first got married, we ate dinner in front of the TV and then just sat there for a while and flipped through channels like zombies. I think we were exhausted or maybe it was just a good excuse not to think about the day. The TV allowed us time to veg and zone out. Yet, when I cancelled the TV to save a little moolah, I found myself with so much time on my hands. That’s when I really got motivated and started to write a lot more.

3. Don’t hang out with people you don’t like.

Sounds harsh, but it’s true. Why are you wasting your time going to that book club meeting or that dinner with your friend’s wife when you really don’t want to go? Life is short, peeps. Spend your precious time with the people you love most.

4. Don’t overload yourself.

We’d all have a lot more time if we stopped having so many darn things to do. You want to paint every room in your house, take that trip to the mountains, get a promotion, bake cookies for your kid’s class, and write a book all while trying to be a good spouse, child, or parent. Peeps, it’s just too much. Only do what you actually like to do. And, more importantly, give yourself ample time to do it. Pick one small thing to do each day or each weekend, and mark on your calendar when you’d like it to be finished. Forget about doing things quickly or immediately. We all want instant gratification, but the best things come when you enjoy the journey.

While I can’t say I am perfect when it comes to any of these things, I’ve made the transition to taking things a bit slower. Call it being an island girl or whatever you like, but I can say with certainty that despite my busy work schedule, I feel more relaxed and more calm than I have ever felt.

What do you do to budget your time? What do you wish you could improve upon? (For example, I wish I could wake up earlier and gain another hour, but I am such a night owl!)