It seems as though pretty much everyone today has a smartphone. While smartphones certainly are convenient, allowing you to check email, look up movie times and find out the latest news with a simple tap and swipe, these conveniences come at a price. So how can you keep costs down and not lose all the benefits of owning and using a smartphone? Read on for some handy tips.
Be Hardware Savvy
Many people simply go to their phone service provider when they need a new smartphone and see what deals they have at the time. However, this can end up costing you more money than it should. Do your research and see if you can find the phone you want at another retail location. Some retailers have great deals, discounts and coupons on the latest smartphones.
As a note of caution: Before you purchase the phone, make sure that the retailer is a reputable one and that the phone itself is compatible with your service provider.
Insurance: Not Necessarily a Must
If you’ve ever dropped your smartphone or it has been lost or stolen, insurance may seem like a necessary monthly expense. Whether insurance is truly worth the cost depends on several factors. First, check to make sure that the cost to replace a broken, lost or stolen smartphone is actually higher than the cumulative cost of the monthly insurance plan.
Second, read the insurance plan carefully. Understand what’s covered—and what’s not—and what is applied to the deductible. And speaking of the deductible, if the deductible is pretty high, then it may not be worth it to purchase the insurance plan at all.
Finally, if you are purchasing the insurance plan strictly in case the screen shatters or the home button (on an iPhone) malfunctions, there are plenty of smartphone repair locations that can fix these issues for less than most insurance plan deductibles. The long and the short of it: In some cases, buying a sturdy protective case may be a better option than an insurance plan.
Have a Plan That Makes Sense
Before smartphones, most people thought that paying $20 or $30 per month for a cellphone was expensive. However, along came smartphones and blew that monthly fee out of the water. Now, it is not uncommon for a family to have a cellphone bill of $200 or more…just for data usage.
Be smart about your plan by truly understanding your actual data usage. Is an unlimited data plan really necessary? In some cases, even for those who have a shared plan, the answer might be no. For example, it has been stated that the average smartphone owner uses only 256 megabytes of data per month. However, that same smartphone user might be on a plan that is 10 gigabytes or larger. The best way to save money with data plans is to be knowledgeable about your data usage and make adjustments if needed.
Think About Your Data Usage Habits
On the same note as the tip listed above, smartphones really are all about the data usage costs. One of the ways to reduce your data usage, and therefore reduce your monthly bill, is to be smarter with your smartphone. For instance, do you really need to send that email while you’re out and about or can it wait until you get home and are hooked into your WiFi? The answer depends on whether you use your phone for business or strictly for personal matters. If your smartphone is just for your personal use, cutting back on your data usage could enable you to downgrade your data plan and save some money each month.
Steer Clear of Sneaky Apps (and Sneaky Kiddos)
While it is true that most apps, regardless of the platform, are fairly inexpensive, they can add up pretty quickly, especially if your kids have access to your phone. For more reasons than simply to save money, it is a good idea to make sure that your kids do not download apps without your permission. (It might even be better if they don’t know the password).
In addition, many apps, especially games, which appear to be free, have hidden “in-game” levels and apps that require payment. These sneaky apps can trick kids and adults alike, so be wary when downloading a new “free” app.
Every Little Bit Helps
In today’s economy, saving a even a small amount each month can bring you closer to your financial goals, whether it’s saving up for a new car, taking that Hawaiian vacation or putting a little more in the kids’ college fund. Hopefully these tips will help cut costs and increase your monthly savings!