Your smartphone can impact your financial health beyond the monthly service bill.
Smartphones are everywhere. According to Pew Research, 77% of Americans own a smartphone. This is more than double the ownership in 2011 (35%).
Many of us cannot remember what life what like before our smartphone. Just the thought of losing or breaking our phone sends us into a state of panic.
Smartphones have been a double-edged sword for most of us. We find them useful and harmful at the same time.
This can be true as it relates to our financial health. Sometimes they can help. But sometimes they can harm.
First, lets consider how they can help how we manage our money.
- Mobile giving. A checkbook is no longer necessary to give. Smartphones provide a number of ways churches and other non-profits to received donations. Text giving continues to increase in popularity. Several non-profits have apps through which you can give. And for those organizations that do not have an app, you can still give by accessing their website through your phone’s browser. We can now respond to God’s call on our lives to be generous right away.
- Mobile banking. Many banks offer apps for smartphones. They offer quick and convenient ways to check account balances and pay bills. For those banks that do not offer an app, you can still manage your money through their website on your phone.
- Budgeting apps. There are many great apps out there to help you keep track of your spending. A quick look at your budget prior to a purchase can be the difference between getting into debt or staying out of debt. Here are a few good budgeting app options—Mint, EveryDollar, and Mvelopes.
- Price comparison. Smartphones help us find the best deals. With just a few searches, we are able make sure that we do not spend more than we have to for a product.
Smartphones can help us pursue financial health. But they can also deteriorate it.
Here are a few ways how our phones injure our finances.
- Keeping us with the Joneses. No longer do we observe the lifestyle of those in our neighborhood and workplace. Social media allows us to witness the filtered lifestyle of our friends and acquaintances around the nation and world. We see their houses, cars, clothes, and vacations. Sometimes, we find ourselves in a state a dissatisfaction with our own lifestyle. And a person who is continually dissatisfied with their lifestyle is often a person who is continually in debt.
- Impulse purchasing. We don’t even have to walk over to our computers to make a purchase. We just pull out our phone a press a few buttons. Our want will arrive on the doorstep within a day or so. Smartphones eliminate any delay between the initial want and the act of purchasing.
- A decrease in productivity. We spend a lot of time on our phones. Often, it is time wasted. We can easily find our inattentiveness injuring our financial health. Our lack of productivity at work hurts our income and can lead to job loss. We can waste time on things that are not helpful to use and ignore the ways a phone can be helpful to us.
Smartphone are a double-edged sword. Leverage your smartphone to help, not hurt, your financial health.