Smartphones with Dumb Bills and Debt

Smartphones sure make people do dumb things like pay exorbitant amounts of money to make phone calls, text, and surf the internet.

“But I can’t live without it!”

Really? Have you tried? I am not telling you to live without a cell phone or smartphone, but I am telling you to live without the ridiculous bill.

But You Have One

Okay, in full disclosure I have a smartphone, but guess how much I pay for it? $0 Yep that is right, a big fat zero. I had it negotiated into my job since I work in healthcare and public relations so I am pretty much on call (although I don’t get that many calls after hours) since my phone connects me to my job and an expectation to be available frequently, then they are going to pay for it. Maybe you should ask your job to do the same.

Bill on the Wall

I visit my in-laws probably once or twice a month for family parties or BBQs. In the kitchen on the corkboard on the wall is a small piece of paper that lists the name of my wife and her siblings along with an amount that each person owes for their phone bill since they are doing the good old family plan.

My wife who is extremely money conscious and my perfect match has a teeny-tiny bill because she doesn’t want a smart phone and isn’t addicted to having the latest Facebook and twitter updates or having a screen in front of her all the time. Her brothers and sisters on the other hand have bills that total into the hundreds each month.

I marvel at how much money someone is paying each month just for a freaking phone. Why? Why? Why? I get that they are cool and can do so much and have so many cool apps, but you know what is even cooler than apps? MONEY!

What do you like better?



$$$$ Cold hard cash in your pocket or in your investments to grow and make you rich.

I like rich.

The problem is most people don’t know how good it is to be rich so they choose their devices to fill the void and it just makes them worse in the long run.

Do the Math

So I know smartphones are eventually going to take over the regular cell phone but just do the math for one year.

Here is my wife’s bill: $216

Here is her sister’s bill: $1,452

Is surfing the internet on your phone worth an extra $1,236 a year to you? I mean really? My sister-in-law is going to pay nearly $15,000 in a decade for her smartphone, plus whatever the cost is for upgrading to get the latest and greatest phone every other year.

So you could buy a car or a phone during the next decade. Or you could have a regular cheap cell phone that somehow also makes phone calls and sends texts plus have a car for the price of a smartphone.

Addiction to Screen Time

Another problem now is everyone is on their phone all the time. Look in a crowd and almost 1/2 the people are staring at a phone even at sporting events. I mean you know you paid to go to the football game and you are glued to your phone which you can do at any time at home when you are doing nothing. There is a game going on out on the field, but I guess your friend’s latest crazy political vent or their 500th post on how awesome cross fit is on Facebook is way more entertaining and must be read immediately.

Because I deal with advertising I see the stats on time spent watching TV and stuff like that. Now there is a stat on “screen time” because we don’t need you in front of a TV or listening to the radio, we just need some screen time and people can’t get enough of it. In fact, most people spend half of their day in front of a screen (which I still think is low on the estimates). You are making the job of us advertiser people really easy. Now you take your advertising devices with you at all times…so let me be the first to say “thanks.”

Kids with Phones

My wife and I have already had a discussion about the age for kids to have the phone and if they should even have phones. My daughter saw a pay phone the other day and wondered what in the world it was. I was shocked there was still a payphone around.

There are so many social issues with kids and phones and cameras along with everything else that I have a hard time believing that folks not only tolerate that happening to their son or daughter but they even pay for it…and pay a lot. Why? Just say no. Being the worst parent in the world is a title of honor in our home.

Make a Break

So what to do at this point? Are you willing to make a change to free up some time so you aren’t staring down so much and then starting to keep a lot more money? When I go on vacation I am on vacation. I lock my phone in the safe and it’s not touched until I am done with my vacation. On the first day, there is some apprehension, but by day 2 I wonder why I don’t do it more often. Work will survive and I don’t need to be attached to my digital work umbilical cord.

I’m Sorry

I hope I haven’t made you feel bad if you are in this situation paying an unfortunate amount for your phone. I actually hope you feel awful. I really do. Make the change. It’s a huge waste of your budget. Seriously you are giving up wealth for emoticons and dumb game apps. Don’t be broke for life because of your phone!

Many other finance blogs go over cheaper phone options, so I won’t go over them here. If you are reading my blog, then you have for sure seen others that write about those phones and options. Not making the change is just delaying your wealth and happiness. You will be better in the long run. Again, I hope you feel awful about it…. just so you’ll make a change.

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