Believe it or not, cellphones haven’t always come with the ability to provide GPS navigation, take photos, or pull up an unlimited supply of hilarious cat photos on demand. Long ago (okay, like 20 years ago) there was a time when cellphones were used to make and receive calls and that was pretty much it. Though those under a certain age may need a moment to recover from this shocking truth, there are also those of us who remember well the days before smartphones.
Every now and then, an unruly cell phone bill will even make some consider jumping the smartphone ship in favor of an old school flip phone which, yes, it is still actually possible to buy. But how would such a rebel fare? Is it really possible to save money by cutting out your smartphone? Well, maybe and maybe not.
To smartphone or not to smartphone?
Before you decide to ditch your smartphone altogether in the hopes of saving money, take a moment to really consider what all it offers. After all, the price of a good GPS alone could cost you $70+. Then there’s that alarm clock you count on to get you up every morning for the job you may have found on an app like Indeed. Not to mention your smartphone’s camera, which likely takes photos better than those super expensive Canon models that don’t even have the courtesy to do anything except take pictures.
Oh and don’t forget the apps which you quite possibly count on more than you realize. Don’t wait until you get stuck with the reality of how much cab fare can cost to realize that maybe you should have stuck with a device capable of requesting an Uber. As far as most of us are concerned, the answer may not be tossing your smartphone altogether but learning to use it in ways that are…well, smarter.
Tips and tricks for lowering your smartphone bill
- Buy an older model – One of the biggest costs of owning a smartphone comes from paying for the phone itself. After all, buying a brand new smartphone is basically purchasing a tiny computer that happens to also make voice calls. But if you play your cards right, buying a smartphone doesn’t necessarily have to cost $1000+. Smartphones have been around long enough now that it’s entirely possible to buy one outright for less than $200 if you’re willing to get a used one. Before you sign a contract stating your willingness to fork over $50+ a month to pay off an expensive phone, be sure to look into how much you could save by going with a refurbished one. With so many people always obsessed with having the “latest” phone, there are tons of old smartphones that are refurbished and resold every year. Check out Amazon to view your options, but just make sure you buy a phone that’s been “unlocked” and check to make sure it comes with a warranty.
- Always download the free version – In-app purchases don’t tend to cost much, but that’s exactly what they’re counting on you to rationalize. What tends to happen is akin to the “dollar bin phenomenon” which has happened to all of us. One minute you’re admiring your thriftiness and the next you’re at home with 40 new cheap plastic purchases you don’t need, wondering how you overspent so much. Don’t let it happen to you. Turn off in-app purchases and always go with the free version of any app.
- Take advantage of free calls and texts – If your unlimited data plan is putting a dent in your pocket then consider downgrading. That said, avoid going over on your minutes or data by taking advantage of apps like Skype, WhatsApp, and Viber, all of which allow users to make calls and send texts for free.