The Data PlanThe first and most obvious money-saving advantage to chucking your smart phone is dropping those ridiculous data plan fees. Most people pay $30-$40 a month for their data plan.
In addition, because smart phones are so expensive, many people add an insurance package to their monthly payment. Most phone insurance costs fall between $7 and $15 a month. That means that without a smart phone you could save between $444 and $660 a year!
AppsWithout a smart phone, you won’t be tempted to buy all of those $0.99 apps. Paying less than a dollar for something that looks like it will revolutionize your life certainly seems like a bargain, but the cost of those apps adds up.
Many so-called “money saving apps” (i.e. Groupon, Cartwheel, Shopkick), are really just getting you to spend more money by making you to think more about shopping. Without a smart phone, you would have no idea that Groupon was offering a special on teeth whitening at your local Edmonton dentist or that swimwear at your nearest sports store was 50% off. Getting deals is great, but the common temptation is to snag these deals just because they seem like a bargain, even though you may not need teeth whitening and you hate swimming.
The InternetMuch of the internet is visually driven. Almost every article and blog post is accompanied by attractive pictures, and most of the sites you visit have advertisements. Those who are constantly surfing the internet on their phones and have this slew of commercialism perpetually in front of them tend to spend more than those who don’t.
One accomplice to consumerism is Facebook. Looking at everyone’s smiling profile pictures and statuses about the trips they’re taking and the homes they’re buying gives the false impression that everyone else’s lives are going better than yours. This can lead to the urge to “keep up with the Joneses” or to impulse buying in order to fill a perceived lack in your life. Spending more time with people in person and less time looking at them on Facebook will change your perspective and result in less spending.
LearningSpending less time looking at your phone forces you to find other ways to entertain yourself during those 10 minutes in the waiting room or that hour on the train. Long before people even thought of smart phones, this down time was filled with reading or even crafts like knitting or whittling. Without Pinterest constantly at your fingertips, you might be more likely to break out that book you’ve been meaning to read or learn a new skill. Not only will these activities enrich your life, you could even find ways to make a few dollars from the knowledge you gain or the scarves you knit.
Another skill you could improve without a smart phone is photography. If you’re like me, you stopped using your real camera once you got a phone that had a comparable one. Without apps like Instagram making you look like a professional photographer, you may want to find your old camera and learn to use it better. You may even discover a talent for photography that you can use to make a few dollars on the side.
Health CostsThe number of cellphone-related injuries that occur each year is on the rise. It may sound ridiculous, but the University of Pennsylvania hospital and others report regular visits from cellphone users who didn’t realize they were stepping off a curb or walking in front of a car. Without the distraction of apps and the internet on your phone, you might save yourself from being more focused on your cellular device than your surroundings.
Studies are also showing a possible link between cellphone use and health risks like lowered sperm count and tumors. The World Health Organization declared cellphones potentially carcinogenic in 2011. With these frightening risks, you may want to spend as little time on your phone as possible.
There’s really nothing that a smart phone offers that you can’t get from a computer (and maybe a GPS for your car). Fortunately, all four of the major cellphone carriers in the US still offer non-smart phone options. After looking into alternative plans, you might decide that having a smart phone isn’t really the smartest option for you.
Edson Senna is a freelance writer who enjoys writing about finance, law, and business. He also enjoys learning health and dental tips from companies like Saddleback Dental Centre. In his spare time Edson enjoys running, biking, and reading.