Over the weekend, I finally broke down and traded in my five—yes, five—year old Blackberry Pearl for a shiny new iPhone 4S.
I'd mulled over the decision for months, but knowing now was a great time to buy and that I had to join the 21st century sooner or later, it felt like the right decision.
When the iPhone first came out, I clung to my Blackberry like a security blanket.
I claimed my $50/month T-Mobile bill was a steal compared to paying $80 and up for Verizon or AT&T, plus I didn't need to be connected to the Web 24/7. I'd get by just fine with my laptop, thank you very much.
Problem was, I was doing myself a great disservice, wasting time and untold amounts of money. Here's why:
Access to cost-saving apps
Luddite that I am, I thought it was cool not to be plagued by a constant stream of emails and pings. That may have been true, but I also didn't have access to apps that could have saved me a lot of money on everyday purchases, which is stupid.
The Web has expanded in such a way that there's a cost-saving app for just about everything, from finding discount prescriptions at the nearest pharmacy to having access to a 24/7 virtual fitness coach to comparing what you're craving versus what you ought to be eating instead. Who wouldn't want access to that at their fingertips?
Skipping comparison shopping in-store
Comparing prices is practically a pasttime of mine, but there's no point in eyeballing two bottles of Aspirin or wasting a weekend afternoon going from store to store when you can easily call up the information on the Web or use a cost-comparison app like Over-the-Counter Plus to find the best products quickly and easily.
Being a more efficient worker
It was a pain in the rear having to rush home to check my laptop for an all-important message or not being able to respond in a timely fashion to someone who pinged me at work. These days, the old excuse, "Oh, I don't have a smartphone," sounds exactly like what it is: old-fashioned and out of touch.
Saving on gas
Only the gas gods know how much money I burned searching fruitlessly for the nearest gas station, a friend's house or a Whataburger. I would have saved myself a lot of time (and cash) had I had access to the iPhone's compass and lifesaving apps like GasBuddy that let users locate gas stations nearby and view current prices.
With every spending decision, you should weigh the costs and benefits. After running the numbers and realizing how much time I've wasted working around the non-smartphone issue, I realized the $40 extra I'll be paying to join this century will be well worth it.
Now see 12 times that being cheap will cost you >
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