Smartphones: Want vs. Need

Smartphones: Want vs. Need

Smartphones: Want vs. Need | brokeGIRLrich

For the last 5 or so years, my family has been on a rogue Verizon plan. Back in the early days of data, Verizon has an unlimited data plan, that it quickly realized was not the best way to make the most money off of people.

My dad found a loophole and as long as we did absolutely nothing to our plan, we kept the unlimited data.

This meant that we continued paying for a 5th line after my grandmother passed away.

This meant that only three of the five phones on the plan had data, so my mom toiled away with her little flip phone – hating it more and more with every passing year.

This meant that we had to buy our phones full price and then go fight with Verizon to activate them (there was one particularly frustrating time I got an iPhone and had to go back and forth between Verizon and the Apple store about five times to get everything up and working correctly).

All this fuss seemed a little crazy to me each time until I considered the alternative.

The funny thing is, 10 years ago, I never would’ve thought that soon one of my required monthly expenses would be the tiny computer I keep in my pocket.

There’s a not-so-small part of me that’s all about simplicity and off-the-grid living and she thinks this is all ridiculous. Spending nearly $500 on a phone? Dropping $160 a month for 4 people’s phone lines? A prepaid flip phone would run me around $30 for the entire year, considering how much I hate talking on the phone.

However, the other part of me that’s obsessed with having the entire world at my fingertips is all about shelling out that dough, covering the $500 investment in a leather iPhone case and hoping for the best.

So much so that last time my phone started acting a little wonky, I knew I needed to set aside some savings so I could afford the next one. It never even occurred to me to go back to the cheaper, flip-phone world.

That being said, if I didn’t have a smartphone, here’s how my life would change.

The Negatives

  • I’d need to shell out money for an old school GPS for my car. Because we are not being all stone age and going back to an atlas. I had a terrible time in Canada trying to remember how to use a map when my data didn’t work there.
  • I’d need to keep my laptop with me all the time, since my job requires that I check emails and be online regularly (stage managing and blogging).
  • I probably wouldn’t get as much done with the blogging half of my work – especially networking, almost all of the other blog reading I get done is done on my phone on the go.

The Positives

  • I’d be less obsessed with social media.
  • I’d live in the moment more and spend less time trying to document the moment.
  • I’d read more.
  • Based on my research earlier in the year, I’d get 2 hours of each day back.

Honestly, if it weren’t for work, I think I could totally go back to the pre-smartphone days. I think it would feel like quitting a bad habit at first, but I could do it.

Could you?

19 thoughts on “Smartphones: Want vs. Need

  1. In terms of the hardware, here’s my take on it. I used to buy a new desktop or laptop computer every 2-4 years. I haven’t purchased one in over 8 years now. Why? Because my smartphone has largely taken over the functions and my usage. So while $700 seems like ‘a lot’ for a smartphone, it isn’t when I look at the fact that I would previously pay that much for a desktop or even more for a laptop.
    Money Beagle recently posted…Books I Read In January & February 2017My Profile

  2. Good post that points out a very important issue, want vs need. I believe we want a flip phone more than we need one and owning/using one becomes an addiction that people will blindly pay for every month. Once hooked people can’t imagine their world without it. As a non-user I see all the people constantly looking down at the stupid things missing out on what is going on in the moment, walking into things, and of course distracted driving. I still rock the flip phone and have no desire to be connected at all times with a smart phone. I have a Verizon prepaid plan and pay $100 a year. At $0.25 a minute for talk/ $0.20 per text I never use up my $100 prepay balance. The balance just grows so if I find myself one day yapping away or becoming a text monster there is plenty always there to pay for it. 5 years ago I bought a used Garmin GPS on eBay for $24 that has never let us down. I also own a cast-off Apple-4 phone and my eBay snagged Chromebook for $85 that I can take to wifi hot spots if I feel the need to be connected to the www away from home. People act amazed and I am the subject of jokes when I whip my flipper out. That’s fine, it doesn’t bother me a bit.

    • That’s awesome! In 2011, I felt like a late converter to smartphones. I had wanted one, but it definitely didn’t feel like an important need. I still remember how unnecessary I felt it was to upgrade from my little flip – until I went to the dark side. Now I can’t imagine going back.

    • That’s awesome. I’m pretty sure I’d get in a lot of trouble at work if I didn’t have one, but I could see downgraded when I retire – assuming technology hasn’t changed so much its unrecognizable in 35 years.

  3. Sometimes I wonder how we did it -a life without cell phones. We just depend on a cheap phone but it gets us by in case of emergency. We are old school for sure as I love to leave the cell phone at home and go for long rides with my husband. I especially love going to Canada where it doesn’t work! You are ablet to concentrate on the moment more with no interruptions just like it used to be. See you when I get back sort of thing.
    Vickie@Vickie’s Kitchen and Garden recently posted…Gardening TidbitsMy Profile

    • Ahhh, I went into Canada with mine and about had a meltdown. 100% because the GPS stopped working and i had no idea how to navigate without it. Silly border crossing, I always think of Canada as like …. a sibling… until it rejected my cell phone plan. Then I remember it’s an entirely different country.

  4. I’ve had a smart phone for several years, but it’s only been in the past year that I’ve gotten a data plan to go with it. And even then it’s only 200MB. I use Consumer Cellular and what I love about them is that I can set my plans to be the lowest I think I’ll use, and then if I am going to go over, they will automatically upgrade the plan (it’s $5 for the next higher data plan.) I can live without always being connected, but I will never go back to texting without a full keyboard. That is where I draw the line! :)
    Jax recently posted…5 Reasons to Quit Your Side HustleMy Profile

  5. I remember getting lost in the days before smartphones. I had a flip phone, called my dad for directions, and he just laughed and said, “you’ll figure it out.” On California freeways. Nooooo thank you!
    Also my work is primarily online, so if I really took the effort to set myself up on my phone, it would mean I could stop lugging my computer with me everywhere. As it is, I can always take appointments any time during my work day because I’m still connected by phone so it gives me unparalleled flexibility.
    I will always look for cheaper ways to do it, though! I’m considering all those discounters like Cricket and Republic Wireless, etc, and haven’t found the right fit for us yet but I persist. I’ll find it one of these days.
    Revanche @ A Gai Shan Life recently posted…Just a little (link) love: Giraffe baby editionMy Profile

  6. No, could not go back to pre-smart phone days. Jon wanted me to do so a few years ago when i no longer had one provided by work, and instead I got him one as well and now he couldn’t get rid of it either.

    But what would I need if I didn’t have it? A video camera, a GPS, a PDA or appointment book to track calendar, to-do lists and contacts, …it’s not just the time, it’s also the fact that the smartphone is so much more portable than a laptop and all of the above.
    Emily @ JohnJaneDoe recently posted…Girl Power, Self Image, and “Oh My God, Still?”My Profile

  7. I wouldn’t need to go back, I still don’t have one. I have a “blackberry” style Tracfone and it meets my needs. I have a gps in my car but rarely use it–I prefer a map. Every now and then I wish I had one, and when my phone dies I will probably buy a smartphone but for now, I’m happy w/out one.
    RAnn recently posted…The Perfect Obamacare ReplacementMy Profile

  8. I just had a phone break and went without for a week. On a personal level, it was liberating. I started remembering what life was like before 2012 when I got smart phone, and while I couldn’t access info anytime I wanted, the life in front of me was definitely more meaningful as it got my full attention.
    On a work level, it was a nightmare. I was no where near efficient and ended up falling behind–especially on email.
    As the shape of the world has changed with technology, I don’t know that I could live without and still earn an income. Even in my old day job, my smart phone allowed me to access data bases that made me better at what I did in the moment.

    • I agree. My phone broke in December and I only went about 48 hours without one, but it was weirdly liberating. However, with work in full swing, there’s just no way to be good at my job without one. As a hub of communication for productions I work on, not being super accessible makes me seem bad at my job.

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