How Smartphones Can Save You Money

There are many reasons why some folks don’t have a smartphone.  Maybe you’re not eligible for an upgrade yet.  Or you don’t want to spend the money on the hardware (although there are some free smartphones out there, if you’re eligible).  There’s also the extra monthly fee for data service.  Maybe you’re worried you won’t ‘figure it out’. (if you’re in the last category, email me)

It’s no secret, owning a smartphone or even an advanced featurephone will cost you more than a standard flip phone.  But can it SAVE you money?  I believe it can.  Here are a couple stories and thoughts that might help you believe.

I was helping Kate find a wireless router.  I searched several sites and realized that Best Buy had a fair price on a Belkin Wireless G router AND I could pick it up on the way to her house.  BestBuy.com listed it at $34.99.  The price in the store was $39.99.  I got out my smartphone and punched bestbuy.com, searched for the product and there it was for $34.99.  I asked a guy in the computer department about the difference and he said “That’s fine. They can take care of that at the register”.  I left the webpage open and walked up to the register.  When it rang up at $39.99, I told her about the bestbuy.com and showed her my phone.  She checked the model number to make sure it matched then changed the price.  No calling the computer department.  No manager to get involved.  No hassle.  Not only did I save the $5, I also saved the 15 minutes that it would have taken to jump through the normal hoops to verify the price.

This past Saturday, I decided to look into getting some new brake pads for my car.  If you’ve been to an auto parts website lately, you know you can enter your car make and model information to find the right parts.  You also know that a lot of these sites use some fancy scripts, that pop up on the screen, to help help guide you though the car selection process.  I entered all of my information and found an inexpensive set at O’Reilly Auto.  BONUS: The store in Chaska had them in stock.  It just so happens that I was going to be in Chaska later that day.  I called and gave the clerk the part number to verify that they were there.  When I go to the store, I said I needed brake pads for a 2005 Subaru Impreza 2.5L DOHC WRX STi and that I called and the clerk said they were in stock.  He couldn’t find an exact match, but grabbed a set off the shelf.  Not even close.  I said that when I called I gave the clerk the part number, so he never even had to use the internal system to search.  I get out my phone and start tapping away at the screen.  The website loads, I scroll to the ‘vehicle information’ area and BAM! there’s the first popup.  But you know what? My phone handled it just fine, as well as the other 5 pages of popups.  5 minutes later, the dude is still searching and I now have the part number.  He enters it into his system and then grabs them off the shelf.  While I didn’t actually save money in this situation, I did save time.  I would have had to go home, get the part number and come back.

This last thought is about how businesses are now using mobile apps and social media to broadcast their deals/sales/happy hours.  There is a mobile coupon platform called MixMobi.  It allows businesses to quickly and easily create promotions that can be broadcast to a plethora of services.  When a user clicks on the promo link, they are taken to a page that renders beautifully on smartphones (as well as many featurephones).  Imagine that you’re sitting in traffic and you get a tweet from your favorite restaurant that says “Today’s Happy Hour Deal” and has a link.  You click through (while safely pulled over to the side of the road :) and see that they have half price appetizers and $2 taps.

There are also other apps for your phone that aggregate deals from local businesses.  In some cases, they could be their standard daily deals, but you may have never found out about them without your smartphone.  There’s even an app on Android that allows you to scan a barcode to see who has the cheapest price on the web AND locally.  You can use this to your advantage with price matching.

I’ve also won tons of concert and movie tickets because I have access to the web wherever I go.  If vita.mn tweets that there are tickets available, I can enter right away.

So if you’re on the fence about getting a smartphone, because you’re worried about the money aspect, think again.  You may not realize a cost savings right away, but if you’re diligent, you can save a few bucks here and there AND save time.  Time is money :)

Leave me a comment on how you saved money with your mobile.

Love and Robots,
Breon

One thought on “How Smartphones Can Save You Money”

  1. An interesting thought. I shy away from smartphones because of the cost, but I think another part of it is that I don’t want to be THAT available to people. But I’m a little Amish when it comes to mobile technology.

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