Smartphones and Unwise Spending

July 9, 2014 - Christen
These days, smartphones are very popular. Year after year, they’ve become equipped with more capabilities to help us organize our lives, and they are loaded with even more ways to encourage unnecessary spending. I’ve reviewed my own purchasing habits (or ways that I have wasted money) that have come along with owning a smartphone over the past few years. I’m not saying that I will go back to using a regular cell phone (do they even make those anymore?), but I like to think that I’ve learned from my errors and with the focus being on my financial plan, I won’t make the same mistakes again.
 
Shopping Applications
Admittedly, I can be a sucker for a great deal (especially if that deal is up to 80% off retail price!), so by downloading a smartphone app for my favorite flash-sale website, I thought it would be an easy way to keep up with great sales. Turns out it’s a great tool to have if you enjoy being tempted with new sale items every day at noon! After a few months, I deleted the app (and the daily notifications that came with it!) because for me the temptation to purchase a new blender or stainless steel cooking utensils during my train ride home from work was simply too great. This app (and others like it) makes it terribly easy for users to spend money at any given time of the day. The site also gives users the option to store their credit card number for quick checkout. When I used the app, I disabled this feature because allowing a merchant to keep payment information “on file” opens up another can of worms — it made it way too easy for me to spend money without the obligation (and foresight) of evaluating my purchases beforehand.
 
Games/Ringtone Downloads
In the past, I would download different ringtones for various people in my life that I felt needed to be distinguished from regular callers. I also used to download lots of games to occupy my commute to work on the train. Looking back, ALL of these purchases were complete wastes of money. Now, thanks to the evolution of smartphones, I can download free apps that I find useful, and I no longer use ringtones that don’t come with my phone.
 
Phone/Tablet Covers
It’s important to have a good cover that will help absorb the pressure if your phone is ever dropped. I’ll admit that sometimes, I can be pretty indecisive and I’ve been known to buy more than one phone cover for the same phone because to me, they were “cute.” But moving forward, my goal is to use one cover until it literally falls off of my phone after being used so much. That would help me to then justify purchasing a new one. Sure, they aren’t that expensive, but I’m working on paring down and living with less, and by not having three phone covers lying around I’m at least making a small step in the right direction.
  
Are there any smartphone spending traps that you want to avoid? If so, please share!
 
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