Smart phones are an interesting thing; they used to be a status symbol, and have now evolved into what many people consider a necessity. In fact, even many of the most impoverished people in the US and Canada have smart phones.
I still don’t think they are a necessity for many people. But should students have a smart phone?:
The Cost of a Smart Phone
We all know that a smart phone, such as an android or iPhone, is much higher than that of a regular phone. I have one friend who has a smart phone for $60/month for the plan, and another who has an old flip phone with a $25/month plan.
Right off the bat, that’s $35/month more than a regular phone, or $420 per year. With compound interest, that number grows.
Then there is the cost of the device, and smart phones can run anywhere from $250 to $750, depending on the brand and the type of phone. A regular phone can easily be purchased for under $60.
With a tight student budget, this might not be the most economical.
The Benefits of a Smart Phone
People wouldn’t use smart phones if there were no benefits to having them. Smart phones definitely make life easier. iPhones and Androids alike can help you get around with the GPS, can help you track things like fitness and calories, check your email, browse the internet, and chat with people for free, among other things.
The benefits of a smart phone to a student would be increased if you have long periods of time away from the internet, but require it for your classes.
Another benefit would be to check for class cancellations and other news during classes or when you aren’t at a PC or laptop.
In school, I’ve been able to use a smart phone for research and to complete some assignments on the bus, which has helped with my time management. But does that offset the cost?
Making the Decision to Get a Smart Phone
Be sure you are well informed before making the decision to spend money on a smart phone. Many plans will lock you in for a period of time and you don’t want to be paying for something that you don’t really need.
If you think you can function just as efficiently as a student without a smart phone, then I would encourage you to save yourself the money, put that extra cash in an investment (like an RRSP or TFSA) and watch that money grow. There is plenty of time post graduation to get a smart phone.
If you rely on student loans to get you through school, remember that the $420 + interest/year that you would potentially save if you didn’t’ have a smart phone can go a long day to reduce the amount of your loan when you graduate.
Did you or do you have a smart phone as a student? Why or why not? Did you regret your decision to get one?