Cutting the Landline

Related Articles

5 Ways to Reduce Your Cell Phone Bill

14 Ways to Save Money

Cutting the Landline

Can you tell me the pros and cons of getting rid of our land telephone line and just using our cell phones? We would save $40 a month.
Marye S.

In Case of Emergency…

One huge con for getting rid of a landline is that it can make it harder for you to reach help in an emergency. When you call 911 from a landline phone, the operator can automatically locate where you are, even if you don't have time to tell them. But they can't do that if you call from your cell. Also, cell phones tend to be easier to lose or leave somewhere than normal house phones, so you could wind up with no way to call for help during an emergency.

I would suggest getting the absolute most basic service for your landline; this is usually pretty cheap. That you can use you cell as your primary phone but still have the landline there in case of an emergency.

Monitored Pacemakers

We got rid of our landline several years ago and have only had a couple of glitches until recently. Some pizza places try not to deliver to you unless you have a landline, and if a company sells your phone number you can get telemarketers that try to eat your minutes.

Other than that, it worked great until my father in law moved in. He has a pacemaker, and every couple of months, the company calls to monitor and adjust his pacemaker. They claim they can't do it over a cell phone. So we got a phone line again and we use it for that and the fax machine. If you have DSL through the phone company or Dish, you still have to keep a phone line. Dish would charge us $2 a month to bypass the need for a phone.

Two Reasons to Stick with a Landline

You may want to keep a landline if you have a security alarm or fire system that is voice activated. The emergency center "speaks" to you through your phone landline, and this is the whole "benefit" of this great system.

One other thing that a landline can currently do that a cell phone number cannot is reverse 911 calls. If there is a weather emergency, a flood, a broken dam perhaps, etc. in your area, they can do reverse 911 calls only on landline phones currently and it might endanger your safety if you could not be reached with the reverse 911 call.

Never Regretted Ditching Landline

My husband and I ditched our landline about four years ago. We have never regretted it. I always keep my cell phone with me so I have one number only. My hubby usually keeps his cell phone with him. At home, the phones are left in a central place with the volume turned to high (but our house is not very big).

Drawbacks? If you have children or anyone who stays at home who does not have their own cell phone, you need to be prepared in case of an emergency. You have to remember to leave a cell phone with anyone at home in case they need to call you or 911. That's it! We don't have kids at home so we feel comfortable with this.

All Charged Up

We recently underwent one of the worst ice storms in 30 years in our part of the country. We lost power for a week, and others around us lost power for over three weeks. That meant that after our cell phones had run down, there was no way to get them recharged. The temporary chargers ran out after one use, and sadly, we found that the hand-held "wind-it-yourself" chargers didn't work well. The only thing that kept us going and permitted us to eventually call for evacuation assistance once we had run out of heat, propane and supplies was our trusty landline.

If you want to save money on your landline phone, ask if they have an emergency-only or limited call package. Most of us have unlimited local calling, which costs more. I use my cell phone a great deal, so I didn't need the landline often.

You Can Make a Difference

We stopped using our landline about one year ago, because like you, we wanted to save about $40 per month. It seemed like the only calls we got on the landline anymore were from charities that wouldn't take us off their lists. And then there were the constant hang-ups, wrong numbers on our message machine, etc. So far, I haven't missed that part.

The bad news is that a cell phone is only one phone, and therefore, you don't have the convenience of picking up an extension anywhere in your house. And if your house is large, you may not hear it ring from wherever it is either. Also, cell phones are not as clear and can drop calls or run out of a charge if you're on a long call.

So you have to consider the pay off. Do you want to save $40 a month or have the convenience of a solid landline? I've noticed the market beginning to react to so many consumers going to cell phones only and that's a good thing. The cost of a landline has increased ridiculously over the past three decades (my first phone bill in 1979 was a whopping $7 and they supplied the phone), so this has driven costs down a bit. By going to cell only, you can be a difference in making this a more competitive option.

By the way, we had a new house built recently and I still had them put in traditional phone lines just in case I decided to go back to that option. When it gets down to around $20 a month, I just might consider it again.

Safety First

Only on a landline is it completely safe to speak private information like your account numbers and social security number without fear of audio surveillance or interference. Some day there will be wireless encryption technology, but until then, wireless technology is not safe for private information.

The Pros and Cons


  • You can take your phone with you everywhere.
  • You are not listed in the local phone book so there will be fewer unwanted calls.
  • You can save money.
  • You are (probably) locked into the rate and phone plan that you signed on with so you don't need to be concerned about rate increases.


  • You may get sick to death of always having your phone with you, so that people unknowingly interrupt every minute of your life.
  • You are not listed in a phone book so some people (friends, business contacts, etc.) can't call if they haven't been given your number or if they lost it.
  • You are locked into a contract. If you do choose to go back to a landline only, it will cost a lot to get out of the contract early.
  • If you use the phone number for any home business, the challenges increase, as you won't want to lose that number if you switch. Not all cell numbers are able to be used as landlines.
  • The main thing I don't like about cell phones (only slightly more than I dislike the first con) is that they can be hard to hear. Calls get dropped and/or fragmented on a regular basis. There are some places that you can't use the service at all (when traveling). The service and also the individual phone affect this. If you do decide to go with a cell, I recommend that you buy the best phone you can afford. It makes a big difference in how well you can hear.


Take the Next Step

  • Think about how well you'd survive without a landline and how much you save without it

Stay Connected with TDS

Little Luxuries

to the Dollar Stretcher newsletter and get a copy
of our ebook
Little Luxuries:
130 Ways to Live Better...For Less
for FREE!

Your Email:

View the TDS Privacy Policy.

Debt Book