If we’re honest with ourselves, most of us would admit to spending a little too much time on our smartphones. But time isn’t the only thing we’re spending — we’re spending too much money on our phones as well.
According to a recent report by Top Accounting Degrees, more than 20% of us spend more money on our phones than we do on groceries. It’s time to find ways to cut back so we can stop wasting money and start saving it. Here are some of the ways people waste money on smartphones, and what to do about it.
1. Having the wrong data plan
It used to be minutes and text messages that carriers doled out to customers at astronomical prices. In the age of smartphones, minutes and texts often come in unlimited supply. The new plans are based around how much data you use. As you can imagine, if your plan is the wrong size, you’re wasting money.
If your data plan is too big, you’re paying for more data than you use. If it’s too small, you’re probably paying an increased price for the gigabytes you use beyond your plan’s limit.
The best way to fix this problem is by logging into your account on your carrier’s website and looking at how much data on average you’ve burned through in past months. Use that as your guideline to adjust your plan accordingly. While you’re at it, make sure to enable alerts for when you’re approaching your plan’s limit. That way you can lay off the streaming services until your next cycle begins.
2. Replacing your smartphone too often
If you buy a new phone every year — or even every two years — you’re spending money you probably don’t need to spend. Unless some core function of your phone has stopped working, or it’s become slower than molasses, you can probably get another year out of it before upgrading.
After all, just because your carrier will give you a special offer on a new phone doesn’t mean you have to take them up on it. Top-of-the-line phones cost anywhere from $600 to $1,000. Even if that cost is spread across two years’ worth of payments, it’s still money you’d be better off saving.
Phone insurance works out well for people who are particularly clumsy or unlucky. But if you keep your phone in a case and you don’t tend to leave it in your pocket when you go swimming, you can probably get away with skipping the insurance — particularly if you have enough money in savings to replace your phone if something does end up happening to it.
Insurance is a viable business because it takes in more money than it pays out. So by definition, you’ll probably pay more money to insure your phone than you’ll get back, even if something happens to it. Think carefully before adding insurance to your phone plan.
4. Not using a case
The best phones on the market look so sleek and spectacular that it’s a shame to cover them up with a case. But if you don’t, you’re all but guaranteed to regret it at some point. It’s all too easy for phones to slip out of your hands, pockets, purse, or the crook of your shoulder when you’re making a call. The world is a dangerous place for fragile little phones. Don’t be foolish — get a case. (Your trade-in or resale value will probably be a lot better if your phone isn’t a busted wreck, too.)
5. Neglected subscriptions
It’s so easy to sign up for subscriptions on your phone. From newspapers and magazines to music and video streaming services, these monthly deductions add up. So there’s no time like the present to take stock of your recurring charges and see which ones aren’t giving you your money’s worth. If you’re having trouble deciding which to keep and which to cut, check out these subscription services you might not need.
6. Free-to-play games
They may be called “free-to-play games,” but they’re more than happy to squeeze your wallet dry. The makers of games like Clash Royale and Pokémon GO work their hardest to give players a taste of what they want, while pulling the rest just out of reach. That’s how they get you to spend money to get it.
Free advice: Take whatever game is leeching money from your bank account and delete it from your phone. After just a few days, you’ll forget all about it.
7. Impulse purchases
With online shopping just a tap away at any given moment, it’s far too easy to act on every little wish that pops into your head. Whether it’s replacing your bath towels or grabbing the new game all your friends are playing, impulse purchases are a real problem for smartphone owners. After all, buying nearly anything is just a tap away.
If impulse purchases are a problem for you, your best bet is to delete your shopping apps, making it less convenient to spend money. After that, get to work on increasing your willpower. Your bank account will thank you.