You can’t go anywhere these days and not see people glued to some device. Some of us wonder what we ever did without this modern-day “must have”, but love ‘em or hate ‘em, mobile (aka smart) phones are here to stay.
With all good things, there can be a downside. The cost of mobile phones and other devices is often not in the purchase but in the upkeep, and as many teenagers are discovering (some too late), smart phones can destroy a good credit rating even before they’ve left school.
Numerous young people (and some not so young!) get caught up in the advertising hype and believe they must have the latest toy with all the bells and whistles only to later learn that their low monthly rental can be a cover for restrictive terms.
The result of these savvy sales deals is that many thousands of Australians are talking themselves into unnecessary debt - a high price to pay for staying in contact with friends.
On a brighter side, used sensibly, mobile devices can be very cost-effective. It all comes down to making sure you’re aware of all the costs associated, and controlling your habits.
Easier said than done when peer pressure abounds, but there is a smart alternative – choose prepaid. You know how much you’re paying upfront and when you run out of credit, you simply “buy more time”… and stay in control.
Other suggestions for managing your smart devices include:
Be sure of what you’re signing up for… read the small print and ask questions;
Ignore the advertising spin that tempts you to constantly upgrade to the latest model;
Use a PIN to access your phone. This stops others using it without your consent and is particularly helpful if you lose your phone.
Help is available
If you are in the market for a new mobile device and are bamboozled by the seemingly hundreds of options, there is a plethora of comparison websites available. These compare the phones, plans and telecommunications companies. Some provide calculators – type in your current usage and you receive a comparison of the alternatives available.
If you or your children are looking to buy or upgrade a mobile phone, take the time and do your research first… before you talk to a salesperson. As always, the time spent in the short term will be well worth it in the long run.