‘Dumb Phones’ Could Save You Close to $3,000 Over 2 Years — Are They Worth the Setbacks?

classic feature phone on paper background.
http://www.fotogestoeber.de / Getty Images/iStockphoto

Smartphones are still top dog, but there’s a growing trend among Gen Zers who are ditching them to reduce screen time, improve mental health and save some cash.

Dumb phones — or basic phones that lack many advanced features in smartphones — were popular in the early 2000s. Now HMD Global, the maker of Nokia phones, continues to sell millions of similar phones, CNBC reported. CNBC noted that these are also known as “minimal” or “feature” phones, which have additional features like GPS or hotspot technology.

Companies like Punkt and Light are selling devices catering to this trend of spending less time on phones and social media. “What we’re trying to do with the Light phone isn’t to create a dumb phone, but to create a more intentional phone — a premium, minimal phone — which isn’t inherently anti-technology,” Joe Hollier, co-founder of Light, said to CNBC. “But it’s about consciously choosing how and when to use which aspects of technology that add to my quality of life.”

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And there are financial benefits to these minimalistic phones, too.

Some of the most expensive iPhones cost as much as $1,500 when they’re first released, which makes financing these gadgets the only option for most Americans. If you choose a $25 new-in-box dumb phone and pay $30 per month for Cricket’s cheapest phone plan, you’ll pay $630 over two years versus ~$3,400 for a smartphone with a premium data plan.

Finance guru Mark Parrett indicated other financial benefits to using a dumb phone such as fewer impulse purchases and subscription service costs. But there are downsides as well. You won’t be able to read and respond to emails on the go, and you’ll lose access to your favorite apps.

Parrett added that “abandoning the smartphone has been quite easy and has created at least a weeklong family vacation’s worth of savings.”

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About the Author

Josephine Nesbit is a freelance writer specializing in real estate and personal finance. She grew up in New England but is now based out of Ohio where she attended The Ohio State University and lives with her two toddlers and fiancé. Her work has appeared in print and online publications such as Fox Business and Scotsman Guide.
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