March 25th, 2011
5 Reasons Not To Buy A Smartphone
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**Today’s guest post is contributed by Money Crashers.**
In this day and age when it seems like almost every week there is another “latest and greatest” technology gadget put out on the market, it can be enticing to jump in and pick one up for yourself. This goes for 3D televisions, 14MP digital cameras, and the list goes on.
Another popular item that fits into this list is a smartphone, a mobile device that offers the most advanced computing capability and connectivity.
While all the additional options offered to you by a smartphone may seem like “must haves” in your everyday life, there are several reasons NOT to purchase a smartphone.
I’m sure there are plenty of people out there who get the full “bang for the buck” from their smartphones, but I have serious doubts that everyone who owns one is really getting their money’s worth. Below are some of the reasons why you simply shouldn’t purchase a smartphone.
1. They’re Expensive with Ongoing Costs
Any way you look at it, these mobile devices are expensive. While the price range varies greatly, the newest iPhone costs $200 with a two-year contract. This is expensive to begin with in my estimation (considering the cell phone I currently own was free and I have no contract).
The price is also deceiving, mainly because you have to factor in the monthly charge for the iPhone data plan pricing. If you think you’re saving $200 on the price of the phone, but the data plan is $20 more than other data plans and the phone requires a two-year contract, then you’re actually losing money. Before investigating any smartphone, be sure to look into the cost of the data plan over two years to see if you’re really saving any money over other options.
2. Do You Really Need That Much Technology in Your Life?
This is how I look at it – I have a PC at home that I can access at any time, and I own a laptop computer that I can take with me if I need to. I have up-to-the-minute sports scores on my television, as well as up-to-the minute news reports. To be honest with you, I have all the technology that I currently need in my life. I simply do not need the Internet in my pocket 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Do you?
3. Tied Down by the Contract
The next reason not to buy a smartphone is the contract that is usually required for the data plan. Personally, I do not believe in signing a contract for any service that I have, and I am currently not under contract for any of my services, including my cell phone plan, my home high-speed Internet service provider, my satellite TV through DIRECTTV, etc.
Remember, there’s a reason why all these companies want to lock you into a contract. Because of all the intense competition in these industries, prices continue to drop across the board. So do yourself a favor and never sign a contract for any service if you can help it.
4. You Could Have a Misperceived Need
I truly believe that the majority of people who have smartphones think they are a necessity, when in fact they are not. Look at it this way: Twenty years ago, most of us didn’t even have cell phones, and five years ago, I doubt any of us had smartphones. It then stands to reason that if you made it that far in life without a smartphone, there’s a good chance that it is not a true necessity in your current life.
As I stated before, I’m sure there are plenty of people out there who make full use of their smartphone capabilities; I just think the majority of people who now own one only think they have a true need for them. As with any large purchase, you need to ask yourself one simple question: Do I really need this in my life?
5. Not as Convenient as You May Think
In my opinion, smartphones really aren’t as convenient as you might imagine. No matter what connectivity speed you have, pages load relatively slowly on smartphones, and navigating them is more a nuisance than anything else. I happen to have big fingers, and I struggle whenever I try to do anything with someone else’s smartphone.
As smartphones get faster, easier to use, and cheaper, I might consider one in the future. But at this point in time, I think that owning a smartphone would do nothing more than increase the stress level in my life. In the end, you’ve simply got to decide if owning a smartphone is truly a need in your life, and if the benefits you derive from it are going to outweigh the expense (i.e. it can’t just be about looking cool in front of family and friends).
Do you own a smartphone? What are your thoughts on the benefits in relation to the costs?
David Bakke contributes for the Money Crashers personal finance blog and writes about financial topics like smart shopping, saving money for retirement, and building wealth.
If by chance you already own a smartphone, here are some free tips to get the most out of it:
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