Do You Really Need a Smartphone?

cell_phoneI’ll admit it’s really cool to have a phone that you can use to play games, look at the Internet, watch movies, chat, and … make phone calls.  But is it worth a thousand dollars a year?  If you’re reading a blog like this, I would suggest that the answer might be no.  I haven’t yet made the transition to a smartphone.  I have a dumbphone.  A basic cellphone.  A basic model from Tracfone, to be specific.  I can use it for telephone calls.  I can send text messages.  I can take photos.  I especially like that it takes a 32 GB micro SD card that can hold many hours of music, podcasts, and old radio shows.   It has a something called a “browser”, but whatever that is, it’s completely useless.  It cost about $30 when it was new.  If you want to get one, it’s less than half that now.  It has already lasted almost 3 years — so that comes to about $10 per year for the phone.  I buy a prepaid service card that keeps the phone working for a year and gives me more minutes of service than I use in a year.  These cards have a face value of $100, but they can be had for less than than on eBay or when Tracfone has a promotion.  Three years of phone service for less than $300, plus $30 for the phone itself.  That’s about $9 per month.

So tell me, what does a smartphone cost per month?

Maybe you could replace the smartphone with a dumbphone, er, a basic cellpone, and if you need diversion, instead texting and playing, you could just listen to MP3s and read actual books made of paper and ink.

If you decide that you absolutely must have a smartphone, you can still save quite a bit of money by getting one that works with prepaid service.  If you buy one separately from the phone service, you’ll probably pay less.  Getting a cellphone for “free” while paying $$$ per month on a long term contract is usually the most expensive way to get a smartphone.  You can find good phones on eBay and then use a bring-your-own phone service.  You won’t get the latest greatest smartphone, but you will pay a lot less.

One more tip:  Keep your phone in a case when you’re not using it and it will last much longer.

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