Is it Smart to Buy a Smart Phone?

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We’re living in a wireless world today.  Almost everything you do utilizes the net and most of your online activity can even be done through your cell phone.  These smart phones have incredible features and allow you to connect with others on the internet in a split second.

Smart phones are very popular today because they connect you instantly with the latest breaking news and many other features.  But are they REALLY necessary.  Do we REALLY need one?

Let’s break it down:

Regular Phone Features

  • Calling
  • Texting
  • Email
  • Internet
  • MP3

Cost of Regular Phone

  • Free or very cheap with contract (Under $50)
  • General calling plan (Under $50 per month)
  • Ability to add texting and data plan separately

Smart Phone

Yes, believe it or not, you can still check your email and view articles on the internet with a cheaper cell phone.  Sure, it’s not as glamorous as a smart phone, but if you don’t expect to surf the net much on your phone, you’ll be fine.  Be cautious of the data costs because it can make your bill surprisingly larger at the end of the month!

Smart Phone Features

  • All regular phone features
  • Additional Applications (Apps)
  • QWERTY Keyboard (Oftentimes Touchscreen)
  • Larger screen


  • $50 – $200+  (Some specials make smart phones free with contract)
  • General calling plan (Around $50 per month)
  • Forced data plan ($15-$30+ per month)

The additional costs of a smart phone may increase your annual phone bill by $230 – $400+ per person!  For someone who doesn’t use these smart phone features or rarely gets online with their phone, it may be a waste of money for you.

When You Might Need A Smart Phone

Although the costs listed above might deter you from getting this phone, there are cases where it is beneficial to have the added features.

Online Businesses

If you’re running a blog or constantly listing items on eBay or Amazon, having access to your accounts can help your business.  WordPress blogging apps make it easy to add, edit, or approve comments and posts through your phone when you don’t have access to a computer.  EBay and Amazon also have fantastic apps for phones that let you manage your inventory wherever you are.

Social Media Connections

If you’re trying to build your network through social media avenues like Twitter, Facebook, or LinkedIn, a this phone can give you access to these channels 24/7.  Yes, you can also waste a lot of time on these sites, but engaging in Twitter chats while you’re waiting at the doctor’s office can be a great way to connect with followers and build your network.

Apps for Business

There are quite a few apps for businesses, including the ability to scan items for low prices, process credit card transactions, manage your business credit cards and so much more.  For some people, these features may be worth the extra costs of the smart phone!

Personal and Fun

Instead of buying an e-reader or game console, you might consider a smart phone.  You can read entire books and download hundreds of free games onto your phone whenever you want.

I personally use a smart phone because the extra features are worth it for me.  Using applications for business, gaming, and internet surfing costs me a little extra per month, but it’s something we budget for.

What about you – Do you use a smart phone?  Why or why not?

image credit: Yutaka Tsutano


  1. Scott F says

    I think I would hyperventilate without mine! Sad, I know. I use it so much for so many things, I have to charge it more than once per day. I use it for internet, email (personal and business accounts), gps, social networking, music (love Pandora), real time weather and forecasts, and all kinds of applications — some for entertainment, some for functioning. I even have an app that helps me find the closest ATM for my bank when I am out and about — saving me the ATM fees for going to another bank.

    I’m involved with our local symphony and we are now downloading applications to run credit cards for ticket purchases, cd purchases, etc at the box office. — we don’t need a phone line, expensive equipment, etc and the rate is actually lower.

    Love my Smart phone, even though it does cost me quite a bit each month — much higher than your estimates.

    • says

      How hard PNG must have been for you :). Sometimes I get anxious to be able to get on my computer and download a 4 MB file in less than 20 minutes. Lord, please keep my heart free from envy …

  2. says

    It seems that is the direction of the industry! I know because I am having difficulty finding a regular phone versus a smart phone. Smart phones have become the newest hot item. The newest apps make it very attractive to own one. I do not want to be connected 24/7 or 100%. .

  3. says

    I avoided getting a smart phone for years. I am super frugal that I didn’t want to pay for the data plans for two phones. Well ya know if my hubby has one, then I’d eventually get one as well. My hubby bugged me for 2 yrs and one day I finally broke down and we got the 3G. And now we have the 4G.

    I must say, this phone is my 5th limb. With Facebook, I am in touch with my relatives more than I ever was before. I am learning so much about my older cousins, and we actually set up events to see each other more. It has also become my GPS. And when I am waiting for service to get done on my car, or watiing at the airport, I don’t have to lug around a huge laptop to get things done.

    To offset paying the data plan, I disconnected our land line. I reduced our cable bill to basic for $15/month and I subscribe to Netflix for right under $10/month. (With that comes Netflix streaming on our phones.) And of course play witt the budget a bit.

  4. says

    Twenty years ago if the government had passed a law requiring every “of age” citizen to carry a chip so we could be electronically tracked, people would have been up in arms.
    Now, call it a smart phone and most everyone wants one or carries one.
    I don’t have a smart phone and not sure if I’ll ever have one.
    The GPS in the old phone I have has been turned off.

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