I readily admit that I am a digital immigrant. And even though I use technology all day long, I am really only comfortable searching for websites or articles and using some basic office programs. I can do a lot of other things with technology, but nothing comes naturally. And I made a really smart decision to start this blog when my digital native daughter was home from college to serve as my total tech support system.
I also use a $300 laptop and I don’t own an Ipad or other device. And even though I teach online high school and college classes, write a blog, run two businesses from home and keep all of our books (our rental home business and an educational consulting business) – my cheap laptop and $50 smartphone are all I use. And it’s worked pretty well up to this point…
Today I want to just focus on smartphones though. And it’s funny because as I was reading some great blog posts this week, I noticed that Emily over at JohnJaneDoe.com was discussing the cost of “good enough” smartphones. It’s always interesting to discuss frugal vs. cheap for decisions like this too.
I am most interested in finding out if there are ways to save money and time with a phone. I don’t need a fancy one, but I want to be more efficient with my phone use. I also want to find out if there are ways you use your phone to save money.
But before we start talking about phones, it’s important to consider that there are often competing goals that come in to play in this kind of decision. Is the phone itself the most important thing? And what features are really necessary? Or is the carrier most important? Maybe it’s the amount of data or the ability to use the phone internationally that is most important to you?
And of course there’s the cost… and if you are here reading this, that likely matters a lot to you too.
If you’re confused by all the different things that seem important, the competing goals are likely to blame. It will be important to sort those out before you make a decision, or it may be one you come to regret.
Right now I have a Noika Lumia Windows-based phone and I use AirVoice Wireless (an AT & T MNVO) as my carrier. To make a smart decision about whether to upgrade my phone, I need to consider my goals (needs). Then I’ll rank those goals from most to least important to eliminate the “competition” between them. Different phones (including my current phone) can then be compared to my goals to determine the best phone option.
Figuring out some specific goals (needs) is where I could use some help!
I think I want a screen that is larger than 4 inches. I never wore glasses on a regular basis until a few years ago, and now it seems like I can’t see anything without them. I’m hoping a bigger screen will make texting and reading easier. But what is too big? I don’t want to carry around a tablet-sized phone either (or do I)??
And I know I want a phone that is durable (or that I can use a really good case on). I haven’t really had any problems with my phone and I’ve dropped it many times.
We also plan on doing a lot of traveling in the future so the camera is really important too. But what kind of camera is good enough?
I am also stuck using the Microsoft Store for apps and that is pretty limiting. I don’t use many apps (OK – like 2…) but I’m sure there are others I would like and use. Are there apps you use that help save you time? What about saving money? I would love to hear any ideas you might have about that!
I know Emily mentioned the amount of memory is an issue for her too. I don’t even know how much memory my phone has, but I use it for so few things that it hardly matters! But that will change if I start taking more pictures and using more apps – so if you know what works (or hasn’t worked!) for you – share away!
And then there is the battle of Iphone or Android… (I’m not thinking anyone will suggest a different Windows phone!)
The carrier and plan are something I will consider after I figure out if I even need a new phone to meet my goals. For my situation, the phone decision comes first. And if I decide a new phone would help me, I plan to buy one outright – so I won’t be tied to any kind of contract.
After I gather more information and determine my specific goals and their importance, I plan to do a follow-up decision analysis on choosing a phone and on a few different carriers and plans. If you have any you would like me to consider, just let me know in the comments!
Maybe the “status quo” will be all I need and that is fine with me. But time is worth a lot to me right now and I’m willing to spend some money to meet my goals.
So readers – are you an Android or IPhone user? What features/apps on your phone can’t you live without? How could a more functional smartphone save me time? What about money? Are there apps that I could be using or functions of a better phone that would help re-coup some of the costs of a new phone? What about the memory issue? Anything else I should consider as I create and rank my list of needs?
Thanks for any help you can provide!