smart phones - black couple

*Some people rely so much on their smartphone that it feels like it’s part of their body. It seems like everyone living in today’s world must have one to survive, however smartphones for your entire family are not necessary.

Phones have a steep initial cost, are a major expense to add to your monthly bills and your children may or may not be mature enough to handle the responsibility of a smartphone. Here are the things you should consider, when you’re thinking about how many smartphones to purchase for your family:

Sharing Smartphones

How many people are in your family? Do you feel like it’s important that everyone has a phone to keep in touch? Sometimes, even if you have a large family, you don’t need phones for every family member. This is especially true if your children go to the same school. They can share a phone between them, whenever they need to communicate impromptu schedule changes or other important information with you. Your children may complain that they need their own phone for social reasons, but they can still share the phone between themselves, as social media apps make it easy to sign in and out of accounts. Some phones have a special feature that allows for multiple accounts on the same device, so your kids’ favorite apps can be organized on their individual account. You should also create a schedule for when each child can use the phone in their free time, so there aren’t any arguments about unequal phone usage.

Will the Phone be Safe With Your Kids?

When it comes to your kids having a phone, also consider their age, maturity level and whether or not they show responsible behavior. A smartphone is a huge responsibility — it is an expensive and fragile item that is at risk of getting stolen or broken. You should ask yourself, “Does my child regularly lose or misplace their toys or homework?” and “Are they careless with fragile items around the house?” If the answer is “yes” to any of these questions, it is probably not a good time for your child to have their own phone. You don’t want your kid to regularly break their phone because you’ll have to foot the bill for the repairs. Communicate your concerns with your child and set up some guidelines that let them earn the phone, once they show you that they’re responsible and mature enough.

Money-saving Models

When it comes to buying a certain smartphone model, your family doesn’t necessarily need the newest version of the phone. The cost inflation of the recently released models is not worth it, since the phone’s features are only a little better than the previous model. For example, you and your family may be in the market for an iPhone, but don’t want to spend big bucks on the latest series. Rather than splurging on the iPhone X, you can get a refurbished, iPhone 6s with similar capabilities and the most up-to-date iOS software at a fraction of the price. Purchasing an older and refurbished model is almost the same as getting a new phone, but won’t break the bank.

Budgeting Plans

In addition to initial purchase costs, on-going smartphone service plans can run up the bills. Think about the different plan options that will be best for your family, which will help you figure out how many phones you can afford. Many companies, including AT&T and T-Mobile, offer family plans that reduce the individual cost of each phone’s cellular and data service. If you have a tight budget, prepaid phones are sometimes a good option. T-Mobile offers smartphones where you prepay a set amount for the service costs, which you can refill whenever it is financially convenient.

Smartphones are a helpful tool for your family to keep in contact and stay connected to the digital world, but aren’t a necessity. You don’t want to stress yourself out, by having more smartphones than you need or can afford. If you make smart decisions about the right time to give your kids smartphones and the kinds of phones that won’t break the bank, you’ll enjoy the benefits of having them.