Smartphones can be wonderful tools. But in order to reap their benefits, we have to spend a lot. Right? Not necessarily. Though the costs associated with using smartphones can’t be totally wiped out, they can be controlled. Here are three ways to put the brakes on smartphone expenditures:
Control Data Usage
The trend recently has been for cellular providers to put caps on data usage and to charge stiff penalties for exceeding those limits. This comes on top of the charges for the data plan itself. There are two strategies you can use to control your data usage. First, make sure you use an app that allows you to track your current data utilization. Your cellular provider might provide such an app. Verizon, for example, provides one you can use to track your usage of minutes, texts, and data.
Second, use free wi-fi whenever possible. Many businesses provide their customers with wi-fi for no charge. Especially common free wi-fi spots are restaurants and customer waiting rooms. You can even install a free wi-fi finder app to show you places near you where you can find wi-fi gratis. For iPhone there is Free Wi-Fi Finder and for Android is the free app WiFi Finder.
One thing to keep in mind when using free wi-fi is that the connection will not be secure. Keep this in mind if you might be looking at or working on something sensitive.
Use Free Apps When Possible
Speaking of free apps, always try to find a legitimate free alternative first. More often than not, you will succeed. Often the free apps work just as well as the paid versions. There can be some trade-offs though for being able to use an app for free. One might be tolerating ads being displayed within the app. Another possibility is that the app might request information that can be mined by companies to help them market to you. Just make sure you apprise yourself of the permissions and actions an app requires prior to installing. It’s also a good idea to read user reviews prior to installing an app.
Consider a Prepaid Plan
Most cellular customers are familiar only with contract plans. With contractual plans, the customer signs a contract, often two years in length, and pays a set fee monthly with additional charges for exceeding contractual usage limits. There are several drawbacks to a contract. First, if you want to get out of it early, you will almost always have to pay a hefty penalty. Second, contracts can tie you to a particular cell phone model for all or part of the contract’s term. Third, you’ll pay the same amount monthly even if you don’t use all of your data, text, or talk allotments.
That’s why more and more people are starting to look into prepaid plans. These eliminate many of the drawbacks associated with contractual plans. Some people are hesitant to look into prepaid plans because they think they won’t be able to use a smartphone that the available smartphones will be older or more limited. However, lately prepaid plans are offering powerful modern smartphones, including the iPhone. Another worry most potential users have about prepaid plans is that their network won’t be reliable. However, many prepaid plans use the networks of the major cellular providers. In fact, some prepaid plans are run by the big cellular companies themselves.
Smartphones provide many useful functions. Those abilities come at a certain cost. But with a little work, it’s possible to limit the extent of the expenses associated with smartphones. That allows the user to enjoy smartphone capabilities while maintaining predictable costs.