Are your smartphone expenses worth it?

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KRISTEL SILANG

Did you have a Nokia 3310 back in the early 2000s?

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Many people I know are raving about getting the updated Nokia 3310, which will be released in the second quarter of 2017 at a price of P2,500.00, according to Yugatech.

Its successor, launched in 2000, was known for its simplicity and endurance. That device cost lower, just like all other cellphones before the industry boomed with the introduction of the smartphone. Back then the main expense of maintaining a cellphone was a monthly load worth P100-P200. A secondary expense would be the fancy decorations you could use for your device, such as a backlight or a fashionable casing that cost more.

Today, most professionals use a smartphone due to its perceived necessity. The cost of owning one has shot up, starting with the upfront cost. Today, buying a smartphone comes with the automatic expense of some attached “necessities” such as, for instance, a case or a screen cover to protect it from scratches and other forms of damage. There are also mobile applications that you get free of charge but which, when used, may require better features that you’d have to pay for.

Are all these smartphone expenses worth it? There are some indicators that may show if you are a smart spender when it comes to your smartphone and whether you are using it productively.

Are you using your smartphone for your freelance jobs? Are you using your mobile data to check emails and work on projects instead of aimlessly browsing Facebook all day? According to an ABS-CBN News report, Facebook has released relevant data about Facebook and Instagram usage of Filipinos, which said that we spend an average of 2 hours and 20 minutes browsing Facebook, and that 84 percent of our Facebook posts are done through mobile devices. This might be okay if people who spend hours online via their cellphones and losing productivity in the process are gaining more clients or landing a job promotion through their social media contacts. Don’t take that for granted—spend time getting lost in your smartphone world—but use it wisely.

When a new model is released, not everybody can afford to immediately go for it. The cost of keeping your current smartphone intact will not go to waste if you’re not the type who would want to simply keep up with the trend. According to online shop Kimstore.com, an iPhone 6s Plus 16GB released in September 2015 cost P31,500.00, while an iPhone 7 Plus 16GB released in September last year cost P43,999.00. If you decided at that time to sell your iPhone 6s Plus at a discounted price to get the newer model, you incurred not only the loss from the discount that you gave away to the buyer of your old phone but also the more than P12,499.00 price difference between the two devices.

This also shows that a wise, practical move would be to avoid getting a postpaid plan for the sole purpose of getting the high-end phone that comes with it. Home credit companies also make it easier for customers to get a smartphone at the electronic store by just requiring a government-issued ID and a minimal deposit of between P1,000 and P4,000 so you have a new smartphone in an instant.

You will also be getting the best value from it if you use it for multiple purposes other than for communicating and surfing the internet. The smartphone offers a lot more uses than you think. You may do away with the TV if you want the news, which your smartphone can provide via Twitter, Facebook Live, and Youtube. You can download apps for online learning, such as uDemy and Coursera. You can use that same phone as an alarm clock, a gaming console, or a fitness tracker, which will save you from the cost of buying those gadgets separately. Or maybe, you need your phone to take better photos or videos because it’s part of your job.

Enabling you to access paid applications that will help you achieve your personal or professional goals also makes your smartphone valuable. One example of this: if you want to amp up your finances but do not want to go through complicated computations, you may get the application powerOne FE for just P50. This simplifies the computations of numbers such as the Time Value of Money (TVM), which lets you see how much you need to set aside to reach your financial goals. Even if you change smartphones in the future, this will stay under your user ID.

Think strategically about how you spend your time and money on your smartphone so you can get the most value from it.

Kristel Silang is content manager at MoneyMax.ph, a financial comparison website aiming to help Filipinos save money through diligent comparisons of financial products.

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