Should I Get a Smartphone Update!

Two months ago I reached out to you all (or ya’ll from down here in parts of Florida), my readers, and asked the question should I get a smartphone? I later followed up with the fact that I bought a smartphone and got a crazy deal on the Samsung Galaxy Skyrocket, getting a $150 phone for free and the $36 activation fee waived.

Am I Glad I Got a Smartphone?

After about a month and a half of owning my smartphone I am extremely happy I got it! My biggest concern was the smartphone data bill, a whole $30 a month. Thing is, I rarely buy things for myself and am definitely not a big spender so now that I’ve made the commitment I realize that it isn’t really that big of a deal at all. I could afford it multiple times over and if I find enough value in the smartphone it isn’t that big of a deal.

It is a good thing I could afford it multiple times over because I’m actually paying for two smartphone data plans! My girlfriend bought her smartphone about two weeks ago and is also enjoying her phone! I paid for a year of her smartphone data plan as an early present for Christmas, her birthday and our anniversary (it is pretty expensive at $360 a year). She loves her smartphone but I use mine a lot more than she uses hers.

Why I Love My Smartphone

The biggest advantage of having my smartphone is that I can fill in time I would otherwise be doing nothing with blogging activities! I spend a lot of time blogging, commenting and keeping up in general. I can now optimize my time by filling in the dead time with reading posts and commenting on other blogs. This is a huge plus for me.

I could use my phone to check and respond to my email while I’m waiting in line at the store or riding as a passenger in the car. I use my phone while waiting for others to show up for a meeting or while I wait for the doctor to catch up their schedule, because we all know they constantly run behind. I do pay for this convenience but the time I save is well worth it just by allowing me to keep up with my blog alone!

On top of that it allows me to stay connected with all of my friends with texting. I refuse to pay for texting and have downloaded a free app (text plus) that gives me a phone number and free texting! I love it and have been able to keep up with some friends who only communicate via text message.

Another great advantage of having a smartphone is comparison shopping and looking up reviews of products while I am at the store. Before I would go look at the store but put off the purchase because I had to do more research. Recently I was shopping for a trimmer (or weed wacker as I like to call it) and I was able to look up reviews on my phone and make a decision all while I was at Home Depot! More time (and gas money!) saved for the small price of $30 a month!

Smartphone Features I Haven’t Taken Advantage of Yet

The biggest feature I haven’t really used a lot yet is the camera. I thought I’d take more pictures (I have taken a few) but I haven’t really taken a ton yet. I have a feeling this will change when I go on a couple quick vacations later this year… at least it better.

Another feature I haven’t used at all yet is streaming music. I’m still adjusting to my smartphone data plan (3 GB of data) and want to make sure to not go over. In my first full month it appears I have used 1.5 GB of data so I think I can safely stream a little bit of music every day while at work if I find some time I need to relax a bit. I might even be able to sneak in a short video or two!

My Girlfriend and Her Smartphone

My girlfriend is just getting started with her new smartphone and really loves it. She is lucky because she has wi-fi at work. She uses much less data on her smartphone than I do. If it turns out that she consistently uses less data than the smallest plan available for her smartphone we’ll downgrade her to the cheaper plan. I’ll still pay the same total amount for her smartphone data plan, she’ll just have more months that she doesn’t have to pay for!

Based on my discussion do you think I made the right decision? Do you love your smartphone too? Am I missing out on a feature I should be using on my smartphone? Have I convinced you that it is worth it for you to make the plunge? Don’t do it if you can’t afford it, but if you are just being cheap and would use it a lot give it some serious thought. I’m glad I did!

I have followed this post up with another post you may enjoy, iPhone 5: How Cell Phone Companies Can Afford to Give You a $450 Discount.

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About Lance Cothern

Lance Cothern, a Certified Public Accountant (CPA) licensed in the Commonwealth of Virginia, is the founder of Money Manifesto. You can read more about him here or connect with him on Facebook, Twitter, Google+ or Pinterest.


  1. Another feature that might help you reach some of your other goals are all the diet and fitness apps out there. I use Runkeeper to track all my running, Nike fitness for free quick “personal training”, and am currently off it, but have used some of the meal tracking apps in the past to watch calorie counts.

    Glad you’re enjoying the phone so much!

  2. I have to admit. I love my smart phone. I really do and I wouldn’t give it up. I find it so useful when I am out and about. If I get lost I Google directions. If I need to price match something at a store I look it up. If I need to respond to an email ASAP I can. I can’t wait until the iphone 5 comes out.

    • I can’t imagine the time when google maps didn’t exist. Want to travel across country? Better have a map! I remember AAA giving my parents maps with highlighted routes for our cross country military moves.

  3. It looks like it is working for you! I am one of the last holdouts, I still only use a phone to make calls. I will probably cross over with my next contract in roughly a year and a half.

  4. I was trying to delay upgrading a smart phone, but I think the time is drawing near. I’m just getting so sick of trying to text friends on a number pad. It would probably help a lot with all my blogging work too. Still I think I’ll wait until my birthday in September to buy it as a present to myself.

  5. Ornella @ Moneylicious says:

    I love my smart phone. I actually need more storage. I know my contract is coming up on Oct 1 and will be deciding on what phone to upgrade, too. Right now, I need speed and I didn’t realize how much I actually need to use my phone…weird. I never thought I would be so connected to a phone…times have changed. I remember when a pager was cool and the phones with the long spiral cord hooked to the kitchen wall…those were the days 🙂

    I will be debating between a iPhone 5 or Samsung Galaxy III..not sure yet.

  6. Although mine is paid for through work, I definitely think it’s worth the money and would pay for it myself if I had to. I love getting emails on my phone.

  7. I think from a networking perspective especially you made the right decision. I’m rarely at my desk when I’m not writing, so the Twitter app on my phone is the only way I’m able to keep up in real time with people and story ideas.

    Evernote is also becoming a huge part of my life, too, on my phone. I think it’ll pay for itself!

  8. I gotta recommend some of the fitness tracking apps as well – they can really help with the weight goals you have, too! I use runkeeper, a Nike weights app, and have used loseit to track calories, too.
    Smart phones really are great for staying occupied productively in the little pockets of time we all end up with.

  9. Welcome to the world of never looking horizontally ever again!! Of course you are filling in your down time with something on the phone, aren’t we all? Well, not me yet. I still haven’t taken the plunge but when I hear of all the things I could tune out while in public because of it, it makes me want it even more!!lol for now I lug around my iPad. Ony people look at me wierd for carrying it everywhere. Well, so I’m told. I’m too busy looking down.

    • I generally don’t walk and look at my phone but I’m sure I’ve done it once or twice! iPads are very close to smartphones just larger and no phone capability. Do you have a data plan or just use wifi?

  10. I find my own experiences mirrored here. I held out longer than almost all of my friends, but now that I have one I am addicted. Luckily, where I live the unlimited plans were actually pretty reasonable. I agree that the best feature is the fact I can work on blog-related stuff wherever I have 15 free minutes (waiting in line) or whatever. These periods of time used to really bug me before!

    • I would love to have an unlimited plan if it didn’t cost much more. Unfortunately the only unlimited plans are with carriers (Sprint) with spotty service in my area. Oh well!

  11. I too have been converted. The funny thing is I think I suggested not pulling the trigger on the phone. However, I’ve found the smart phone to be an indispensable blogging tool.

    If I weren’t blogging though; cheap pre-paid would be the way to go.

    • I really thought about it hard but I think blogging pushed me over the edge. If it wasn’t for that I don’t think I could have justified it.

  12. I wanted to tell Krant that he’s not the only holdout – I’m holding out too! I don’t want to take those moments of peace and quiet and fill them with online activities, no matter how productive they may be… sometimes, I just need to be “offline” – literally and figuratively.

    • That, my friend, is what the power button is for. Although once you have a smartphone chances are you don’t press it often. Although with some practice it does actually work 🙂

  13. I am really on the fence. With just starting a new blog, I am really losing sleep having to work on it and commenting late at night. I would be nice to be able to do that throughout the day, but we are trying to save money and pay off the last of our credit card debt. Maybe when that is gone?

    • Kim, I do think you’re right to hold off until the CC debt is paid off. If you can afford it after that and you still want it then I’d look into it. Get rid of that debt first!

  14. I’ll second Evernote! Use it all the time and dropbox to sync and view files.

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