Cutting back.

I’ve been meaning to go with a cheaper mobile plan for my personal Blackberry. Now that I have a work-issued one, I’ve no real need for two of the same thing. As much as I’d love to keep paying $120 for a device that I no longer email on (it was reimbursable through the old gig) and for which I only call and text on, I’ll pass. However, I also don’t want to give up my cell number I’ve had for years and only go with the work ‘berry.

What to do, what to do.

On my drive home tonight, I ventured off my usual path and instead cruised in to an AT&T store in Westminster.

Long story short, they had two choices: severely downgrade my plan, or lose me as a customer entirely. AT&T has been good to me over the years and, while I know we all have our favorites, they’re mine.

I had no idea I couldn’t just drop my data plan from my existing Blackberry and use it only as a phone and for texting. Apparently any smartphone has to have a data plan. Ridiculous, but OK. I’ll play their game.

I went for the cheapest, no-frills phone they had in stock, and as a perky, neighboring saleswoman rang up an older gentleman’s iPhone and iPad next to me (to the tune of $743), my salesguy looked fairly dejected to be cutting my monthly bill in half and selling me an LG flip-phone.

Yep, a flip-phone. Without even a proper keyboard for texting. I’m going old-school, and pressing the numbers repeatedly to get to the right letter.

And I love it.

There’s something about knowing that I’ll no longer be able to press snooze repeatedly in the morning while scrolling through Facebook on my Blackberry. (I could do it on the work ‘berry, but…meh. It’s not the same to me.)

There’s something about knowing that my texts will no longer be novels, mostly because I lack a proper keyboard to be able to write them on. Shorter and sweeter will be my new way of texting, and I’m already experiencing feelings not unlike those you feel when on vacation and completely unplugged from everything.

As I left the store and drove home, I fell in behind a used Smart car that someone had purchased from Carmax. While small and ridiculous, there’s something to be said for the economy of it all. I imagined myself driving one and, after laughing at the notion, realized how much money I could be saving.

After all, I just cut my monthly cell bill by more than half — why not the car, too?

Or better yet, why not ditch the car entirely, and start taking the bus?

My thoughts were deflated by the reality that I’d be placing myself in less than safe situations on nights when I worked late, especially during the fall when it gets darker earlier.

I pictured myself trying to shield The Hair from inclement weather on a gray day while running from the bus stop into the office. No bueno.

And then I realized that, given the amount of wine I often buy at the grocery store when I shop, I could very well be inviting a mob if I were to board a bus with that many bottles.

Logistics and safety aside, the bus is, frankly, appealing to me. But maybe not in these parts of the OC, and maybe not with all the extra-curricular stuff on my proverbial plate.

Tonight, however, I am thankful for the downsizing inspiration that came along with the flip-phone purchase, and for the mental poking around in other areas of my life to see what other unnecessary items can be removed. Cutting Netflix and WeightWatchers.com a few weeks back was freeing, and chopping my cell bill was exciting. And in the spirit of cutting out the unnecessary while continuing with the year-long commitment to things, I’ve had thoughts lately of making 2013 the year of going wine-less, but…really? Me?

Maybe I’ll take another year to think about it before doing anything drastic.

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