Smartphone Addiction: How to Save Yourself – and Your Wallet

Photo (cc) by Leo Chuoi [ RIO studio vn ]

Could you live without your smartphone? According to a recent survey, one in five of us might have a tough time doing so.

A disturbing 21 percent of smartphone users admitted to being addicted to their phones in a recent survey [PDF] by marketing company Cloud Science – and 18 percent of smartphone users even see the type of phone they use as “a reflection” of who they are.

Despite the common perception that teens and 20-somethings are obsessed with their phones, it turns out that adults in the 30-49 age bracket use smartphone features most often. And the smartphone of choice is, of course, the iPhone (17 percent), followed by the Android (14 percent) and Blackberry (12 percent).

Smartphone addiction might sound like a joke, but as we recently reported, your phone could cost you your job if you can’t put it down at work. And at the very least, if you’re addicted to features you don’t really need, it’s costing you more money than a regular phone would.

So what’s a smartphone addict to do? Psychologist David Greenfield, author of Virtual Addiction: Help for Netheads, Cyberfreaks, and Those Who Love Them, offers these tips on WebMD:

  • Be conscious of the situations and emotions that make you want to check your phone.
  • Be strong when your phone beeps or rings. You don’t always have to answer it. In fact, you can avoid temptation by turning off the alert signals.
  • Be disciplined about not using your device in certain situations (such as when you’re with your family or driving) or at certain hours (for example, between 8 p.m. and 7 a.m.).

If you don’t think moderation would squelch your addiction, you could always yank the bandage off all at once by just tossing the phone. After all, 42 percent of all wireless users still have regular ol’ cell phones. That may sound crazy or at least impractical to some smartphone users, but many of us here at Money Talks News get by just fine without smartphones – and save a lot of money each month as a result.

  • I have what my carrier claims is smartphone: a touchscreen Samsung (called the Samsung Caliber) that vaguely resembles an iPhone but is quite unsmart. The browser is so slow and clumsy that I just gave up on using my phone to access the Internet, but that just reminded me that I never needed it to begin with. I upgraded my previous phone only because I needed a Qwerty keyboard and e-mail access. I’m sure Blackberry’s e-mail is much better, but I don’t need it enough to pay extra.
  • Fellow reporter Brandon Ballenger is in the same boat: He’d like to upgrade from his regular phone (a Samsung) but doesn’t need to enough to justify the price. “It has a camera that I’ve used a couple times, and I guess it can have MP3s and web access, but what would I use that tiny screen for when I have an MP3 player, a laptop, and a digital camera?” he said. “I’m happy to use my phone as a phone and my other devices as such.”
  • And then there’s managing editor Michael Koretzky, who’s still using a 5-year-old Nokia Model 6030. “CNet called it ‘a basic phone that’s actually stylish’ – in 2006,” Koretzky says. “I don’t need a smartphone because I mostly work at home and have a computer nearby.” But he does carry a first-generation iPhone in his other pocket. His brother discarded it last year. Koretzky doesn’t make calls with it, so he pays no iPhone-size bill each month but still has a pocket-size calendar and access to apps that don’t require an Internet connection.

Stacy Johnson, on the other hand, has an iPhone 4, as do (no surprise) Money Talks web head Dan Schointuch and production chief/reporter Jim Robinson.

Whatever phone you use, we’re not short on tips…

Do you think smart phones are simply “bling,” or necessary? What kind of phone do you use?

Disclosure: The information you read here is always objective. However, we sometimes receive compensation when you click links within our stories.

Read Next
10 Food Staples That Are Easy and Cheap to Make Yourself
10 Food Staples That Are Easy and Cheap to Make Yourself

Making any of these key foods yourself will improve meals — and your budget.

The 10 Best and 10 Worst States for Raising a Family in 2020
The 10 Best and 10 Worst States for Raising a Family in 2020

There are trade-offs no matter where you live. However, some states have big advantages when it comes to choosing a home for your family.

9 Free Things That Used to Cost Us Money
9 Free Things That Used to Cost Us Money

Not everything is getting more expensive.

17 Surprising Things You Can Sell for Extra Money
17 Surprising Things You Can Sell for Extra Money

From your closet to the beach, the trash you find may be someone else’s treasure.

Eat This Food If You Want to Avoid Alzheimer’s Disease
Eat This Food If You Want to Avoid Alzheimer’s Disease

One type of food associated with the Mediterranean diet offers especially large benefits.

View this page without ads

Help us produce more money-saving articles and videos by subscribing to a membership.

Get Started

Most Popular
7 Kirkland Signature Items to Avoid at Costco
7 Kirkland Signature Items to Avoid at Costco

Even if it seems you save a bundle buying Costco’s Kirkland Signature brand products, they may not be the bargain they appear to be.

Am I Eligible for My Mother’s Social Security Benefit?
Am I Eligible for My Mother’s Social Security Benefit?

Can an adult daughter tap into her late mother’s benefit?

9 Things You’ll Never See at Costco Again
9 Things You’ll Never See at Costco Again

The warehouse store offers an enormous selection, but these products aren’t coming back.

3 Ways to Get Microsoft Office for Free
3 Ways to Get Microsoft Office for Free

With a little ingenuity, you can cut Office costs to zero.

This Surprise Factor Can Raise Your Risk of Dementia
This Surprise Factor Can Raise Your Risk of Dementia

Nearly half of U.S. residents may face this threat.

Organize Your Home With These 10 Thrift Store Finds
Organize Your Home With These 10 Thrift Store Finds

Resolve to be clutter-free in 2021 with these secondhand purchases.

This Gas Station Scam Is Victimizing More Drivers
This Gas Station Scam Is Victimizing More Drivers

For the second straight year, a growing number of Americans believe they’ve fallen prey to this scam.

11 Laws You Could Be Breaking Without Knowing It
11 Laws You Could Be Breaking Without Knowing It

Seriously? Fibbing about the weather is a crime? This and other little-known legal traps await the unwary.

These Major Appliances Got the Worst Reviews in 2020
These Major Appliances Got the Worst Reviews in 2020

Consumer Reports says these home products got the worst ratings from experts.

These Are the 3 Best Used Cars You Can Buy
These Are the 3 Best Used Cars You Can Buy

These vehicles boast reliability, safety and long-lasting value.

13 Things Seniors Can Get for Free — or Almost Free
13 Things Seniors Can Get for Free — or Almost Free

There are many ways to get cheap or free services and goods after reaching a certain age.

6 Legal Documents Retirees Need — but Don’t Have
6 Legal Documents Retirees Need — but Don’t Have

Few retirees have all of these documents that are crucial to their golden years — especially during a pandemic.

Is This Treatable Condition Causing Your High Blood Pressure?
Is This Treatable Condition Causing Your High Blood Pressure?

Researchers say too many doctors are overlooking this potential source of hypertension.

11 Generic Products You Should Buy at Costco
11 Generic Products You Should Buy at Costco

Not all generics are worthwhile, but these are among the best from Costco’s Kirkland Signature brand.

Internet Providers Can’t Charge You for This Anymore
Internet Providers Can’t Charge You for This Anymore

Starting this month, your ISP no longer can bill you for this fee.

3 Cable TV Companies Hiking Prices for 2021
3 Cable TV Companies Hiking Prices for 2021

Still married to your cable company? Hold on to your wallet!

8 Tips for Retiring Comfortably on Social Security Alone
8 Tips for Retiring Comfortably on Social Security Alone

It’s never too early to start learning how to live well while living on less.

15 Painless Ways You Can Cut Costs in 2021
15 Painless Ways You Can Cut Costs in 2021

Follow these tips to save, so you’ll have money for things that really matter.

9 Small Expenses That Are Bleeding Your Budget Dry
9 Small Expenses That Are Bleeding Your Budget Dry

Keep more of future paychecks by eliminating these budget-busting unnecessary expenses.

View More Articles

View this page without ads

Help us produce more money-saving articles and videos by subscribing to a membership.

Get Started

Add a Comment

Our Policy: We welcome relevant and respectful comments in order to foster healthy and informative discussions. All other comments may be removed. Comments with links are automatically held for moderation.