Author Topic: Smartphone Envy  (Read 28203 times)

Numbers Man

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Smartphone Envy
« on: August 08, 2013, 10:43:29 AM »
I'm getting a lot of grief from the wife about getting my twins a smartphone for their Senior Year in college. BTW - My kids are the only ones without a smartphone in their universities according to them. The thinking behind the smartphone idea is that they will be doing a lot of group projects that require texting, calling , etc, etc. We use Verizon and they do have phones with unlimited texting and calling. So I really can't figure out why they need a smartphone but I still need peace in the family.

 So what's the best way of squashing this uprising before it becomes a Coup d'etat? I have a little less than a week to figure this out.


Spudd

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Re: Smartphone Envy
« Reply #1 on: August 08, 2013, 10:46:53 AM »
If they're seniors in college, they should be able to get a part-time job to afford their own smartphones. I would not cave on this.

livetogive

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Re: Smartphone Envy
« Reply #2 on: August 08, 2013, 10:54:47 AM »
If you do go this route I suggest either Costco or making sure their phones are freebies. You can get really high quality phones for free now.

Cecil

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Re: Smartphone Envy
« Reply #3 on: August 08, 2013, 10:56:59 AM »
"Group projects" do not require a smartphone. I was calling and texting on a brick phone in 2001.

Being an integrated part of their social circle in college, however, probably does require a smartphone. So much of college life happens over internet systems these days that not having that connection means they're missing out on a big part of it. I'm already 5 or 6 years out of it and a smartphone is a necessity for me.

But they're what, 20 or 21? They can pay for it themselves.

Mr.Macinstache

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Re: Smartphone Envy
« Reply #4 on: August 08, 2013, 10:59:32 AM »
Somehow I got my degree using only the phone in my dorm room.

It's a social thing now, not a necessity. Got to side with your wife on this one, or let them pay for it.

Numbers Man

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Re: Smartphone Envy
« Reply #5 on: August 08, 2013, 11:06:34 AM »
The wife is pushing for the Smartphone, I'm the holdout.

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Re: Smartphone Envy
« Reply #6 on: August 08, 2013, 11:07:54 AM »
I echo the whole "they can pay for it themselves" argument.

What I'd recommend is that you do a little math on what the real numbers that everyone uses really are (instead of waving the whole "unlimited" flag around), show the twins (and your wife) the superguide, inform the kids that if they want a smartphone they can not only buy it themselves but pay for the service as well (and oh hey, there's a whole mess of options available on how to make it affordable even for them instead of just spending Mommy and Daddy's money), and then set an end date for them to port their number out of Verizon before you terminate the extra lines because you'll (likely) be leaving for cheaper service yourselves.

Tough love, baby. They're seniors in college... it's high time they take on some financial responsibility and personal budgeting discipline, including paying for their own non-necessity desires and the recurring utility bills that come with them.

Mr.Macinstache

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Re: Smartphone Envy
« Reply #7 on: August 08, 2013, 11:13:57 AM »
The wife is pushing for the Smartphone, I'm the holdout.

Ah ok. What about the Republic plan that MMM uses? They could afford that perhaps?

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oldtoyota

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Re: Smartphone Envy
« Reply #9 on: August 08, 2013, 11:34:02 AM »
Instead of giving them something, I favor educating them. You can either give them the fish or teach them how to fish.

I second the SuperGuide.

« Last Edit: August 08, 2013, 06:44:36 PM by oldtoyota »

destron

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Re: Smartphone Envy
« Reply #10 on: August 08, 2013, 11:40:23 AM »
Keep in mind that the largest cost of owning a smart phone is the data plan, not the initial purchase of the phone.


renbutler

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Re: Smartphone Envy
« Reply #12 on: August 08, 2013, 11:43:45 AM »
BTW - My kids are the only ones without a smartphone in their universities according to them.

Cool, they're already ahead of the class.

NumberCruncher

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Re: Smartphone Envy
« Reply #13 on: August 08, 2013, 01:48:43 PM »
Ha ha, I didn't even have texting on my dumbphone, and I graduated only a couple years back. I did find it useful to have google voice for sending/receiving texts.

wants vs. needs   :)

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Re: Smartphone Envy
« Reply #14 on: August 08, 2013, 02:00:47 PM »
What do they have now?  Tin cans?  Even the free phones will handle everything required for "group projects."  I agree with others... If you've waited this long, just let them pay for it themselves.  They will graduate in a year anyways, time to treat them like adults.

theSchmett

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Re: Smartphone Envy
« Reply #15 on: August 08, 2013, 02:05:43 PM »
I have to say, I graduated college in 2k, without a cell phone except for roadside emergencies.

I was in grad school when the first iphone came out, and yes, it was lust, I had to have it, but it proved incredibly useful immediately. As a city planning student, maps in my pocket were priceless. Email with my colleagues and project coordination did not require me to be locked to a desk.

In today's world, a smartphone with data can be a competitive advantage. What used to be considered flaky behavior is now the norm (not saying I like it, it just is). Moving meetings, cancelling plans, making plans, yes calling and texting still work on regular phones but you can't control how others decide to communicate, and they'll be limited in their options.

I'm never going to say Give them anything.  And there are definitely options that cost less than 4G unlimited from Verizon. Definitely let them pay themselves, or somehow contribute in a way that you as their parent see fit.

Something I have found is that the smartphone is an incredibly useful tool for saving money and living efficiently. I rarely get lost anymore. If I need to buy something, and I'm in a store, I can comparo shop right there with a barcode reader and Amazon. I can access transit schedules on the fly. The ways in which a smartphone have improved my daily routines are amazing (I am a transit rider so lots of time sitting turns into productive time).

I can also Skype with my kid when he's home and I'm not. He's 3 - doesn't have a phone. His laptop is a box of spinach. His iPad is that same box turned portrait style.


Numbers Man

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Re: Smartphone Envy
« Reply #16 on: August 08, 2013, 02:43:58 PM »
Thanks for all the replies everyone. And keep 'em coming! It's always good to get different perspectives. But the Mrs. and I look like we're headed to a good ole fashion hockey fight about this one.

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Re: Smartphone Envy
« Reply #17 on: August 08, 2013, 04:44:48 PM »
I guess this just goes to show why Mustachianism appeals to me-- If my parents had had such a discussion when I was a senior in college, I would have been mortified. At that point in my life I was making all my own financial decisions. I wouldn't want to have it any other way-- I got those 4 years of college to learn how to manage money before launching into the working world. It would never have occurred to me that Mom or Dad should pay for anything I owned.

So another vote for if they want cell phones they can buy their own!

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Re: Smartphone Envy
« Reply #18 on: August 08, 2013, 05:06:21 PM »
When I was in school, my parents paid for what they were already paying, and I covered the additional cost of having a smartphone and extra charges for going over the limit. 

sol

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Re: Smartphone Envy
« Reply #19 on: August 08, 2013, 05:46:39 PM »
You're not doing your kids any favors by buying them anything at that age.  You're just handicapping their development.

I'd say, "You are now an adult and can make your own decisions.  If you want a smartphone, go figure it out.  Mommy and Daddy can't spoonfeed you forever."

MrsPete

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Re: Smartphone Envy
« Reply #20 on: August 08, 2013, 06:43:23 PM »
My college student doesn't have a smartphone, and she isn't whining about it.  Literally, she's never mentioned it to me, so it must not be an issue at all.  She was assigned exactly one group project during her freshman year of college.  For contacting group members, any old dumb phone that'll call /text will do.  For research, sharing GoogleDrive docs, etc., a laptop is superior to a smart phone anyway. 

If the girls want them, I'd suggest saying, "I am willing to continue paying X amount/month for your phones.  If you want more expensive phones, I will continue paying X amount/month and you may figure out how to pay the extra cost."   And discuss contracts so that they know they cannot choose smartphones today and switch back to dumb phones tomorrow.  This method isn't exactly untested:  My mother used it on me.  I use it on my kids today.  No, not necessarily with phones, but with plenty of other items.  For example, today we went shopping for jeans.  I am willing to pay $20, maybe $25, for jeans.  If they want $45 jeans, they can have 'em, but they must pay the extra.  Over the years, my girls have frequently decided that an item was "worth the cost", but they always stop and think about it. 

We will cover all their basics for college (and that does include a basic cell phone -- they don't even offer phone service in the dorms anymore), but they're responsible for spending money and upgrades of all types. 



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Re: Smartphone Envy
« Reply #21 on: August 08, 2013, 09:55:18 PM »
My parents have always made me pay for my own phone. I find it prevents large cell bills ;)

NinetyFour

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Re: Smartphone Envy
« Reply #22 on: August 09, 2013, 08:01:05 AM »
I like the approach suggested by MrsPete. 

Or, perhaps some other compromise is in order:  parents will buy the devices for the twins, but the twins have to pay for the plans.

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Re: Smartphone Envy
« Reply #23 on: August 09, 2013, 08:19:51 AM »
First, I guarantee they are not the only kids in college without a smart phone. And obviously smart phones are unnecessary for group projects - you can call and text just fine with a regular cell phone and a cheap $10/month plan. That's how I got all the way through undergrad and part of the way through grad school, and there was no shortage of group projects in that time.

So obviously they don't NEED a smart phone. And since they don't need it, I don't think you should cave and get them one. They're old enough that if they want luxuries like that, they can pay for it. I would suggest two options: (1) opt to take them off your plan and send them info about the cheap smartphone plans that are available nowadays. Or, (2) what my SO's parents did was pay for the basic family plan (minutes only) and he pays them the extra for data. Since most companies break down the cost of each addition, you can see exactly what it costs, and obviously any overage charges are on them too. I think my SO pays $30 a month, which is cheaper than if he tried to get a contract plan alone, and equivalent to what I pay for my Page Plus plan.

Having made the smart phone jump recently, I do find that it's useful for being able to check my email on the fly, get directions, etc. But it's definitely not a necessity for academic purposes, it's just nice to have. Having them pay for their "nice to have" things now will hopefully help them grow up a bit faster.

ajmers

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Re: Smartphone Envy
« Reply #24 on: August 09, 2013, 08:57:03 AM »
I was going to suggest the same thing as Panda - tell them what you're willing to provide (the cost of a calling plan) and that they can pay for the extras (fancy phone and data plan). If they're on a college campus with wireless everywhere, an iPod touch or any old smartphone with wireless capability (which they might already have or be able to get for free off a friend) plus their regular dumbphone will serve the same purpose.

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Re: Smartphone Envy
« Reply #25 on: August 09, 2013, 09:40:15 AM »
I win!  For 2 years in college, I didn't even have a phone.  If I wanted to make a call, I had to use a pay phone or go to a neighbour's to borrow their phone.  Of course, this was 15 or 20 years ago...[insert phrase about young whippersnappers].  Believe it or not, I still had an active social life.  In college, don't they see their friends in class or on campus EVERY DAY?  I agree with asking for them to pay for their own phone - it will teach them the real cost of it and they will use it responsibly.

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Re: Smartphone Envy
« Reply #26 on: August 09, 2013, 09:50:13 AM »
Well, its not the stupidest gift, since almost all young adults have one these days or will end up getting one anyway. Not necessarily for studying, but for the social and practical aspects. A smartphone can be a very good tool for a mustachian. In that sense its not very anti-mustachian. But the fact that your wife feels that you need to provide them with it is what I object to. Most people their age would have gotten phones on their own long ago. I guess that means your children are quite mustachian already? :)

Numbers Man

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Re: Smartphone Envy
« Reply #27 on: August 09, 2013, 09:52:54 AM »
Everybody is preaching to the choir as far as I'm concerned. The major stumbling block is the wife wants to cave and get them a smart phone. So how do you convince the better half to stand strong?

Numbers Man

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Re: Smartphone Envy
« Reply #28 on: August 09, 2013, 09:57:14 AM »
To answer PolarBear - Yes, my kids are fairly Mustashian. They don't have all the toys that their contemporaries have and always are looking for deals when we need to buy the necessities. It's just that the smartphone issue has hit a raw nerve with everyone else in the household.

livetogive

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Re: Smartphone Envy
« Reply #29 on: August 09, 2013, 10:03:20 AM »
As a random data point, i was in college more than 10 years ago but not all my friends even had cell phones, and I went to a private school.  So I think a similar comparison then to now would be dumbphone vs. no phone to today with smartphone vs. dumbphone. 

That said, one of my best friends didn't have a cell phone at all and was extremely popular.  Personality and social skills seem to matter much more than connectivity.

jrhampt

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Re: Smartphone Envy
« Reply #30 on: August 09, 2013, 11:48:32 AM »
You might gather some horror stories from your friends about kids going way over on their data plans...maybe that would convince the spouse.  Some relatives of mine gave into pleading from their kids to get smartphones, the kids went way over the plan, not sure by how much...this was not a smart move on their part since the oldest has a part-time job and could be paying for it herself and in the process learning a valuable lesson about subscription services and how much they actually cost.  In the meantime, the parents had to get help from their own parents paying some high utility bills.  So I guess the cycle repeats.

sol

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Re: Smartphone Envy
« Reply #31 on: August 09, 2013, 12:28:54 PM »
Everybody is preaching to the choir as far as I'm concerned. The major stumbling block is the wife wants to cave and get them a smart phone. So how do you convince the better half to stand strong?

Tell her that her children are not babies anymore and she needs to stop buying their underwear and socks for them.

Tell her you have no problem with them getting smartphones, they're capable and intelligent adults who can make their own decisions.  Paying for living expenses for your 21 year old kids is not helping them, it's teaching them to be dependent instead of helping them grow into fully functioning adults. 

Hell, I'd even encourage them to get smartphones.  Tell them there are lots of options and you're sure they'll learn something by figuring out what they want and what it should cost.  Then if they follow through, mention how proud you are as a parent that they are finally learning to do stuff on their own without coming crying to mommy and daddy with every little problem.  Everyone wins!

Monkey stache

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Re: Smartphone Envy
« Reply #32 on: August 09, 2013, 09:42:18 PM »
Yes, those girls are too old to be asking you to pay for their phones (and plans?). When I was that age I worked full time and went to school more than full time (usually 16-19 credits a semester). I paid for everything myself and I didn't need a smart phone for college (graduated in 2011). Maybe explain to your wife that your daughters aren't learning about money management and responsibility if you pay for everything they want. Also, a part time job in a related field that they're studying will really help them when they graduate. Most entry level jobs require relevant work experience (doesn't make much sense, I know). That part time job will give them an advantage and allow them to buy their "necessary" smart phones.

Joshin

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Re: Smartphone Envy
« Reply #33 on: August 09, 2013, 10:13:44 PM »
My almost 13 year old just approached the hubs and I about buying him a smart phone for his birthday. But, he had a list of pros and cons  he had drawn up, along with a plan to only use home or free wifi and limit his minutes/texts. He showed us how he had saved up a year of usage fees for Ting, and would set aside a portion of the money he earns doing odd jobs in the neighborhood for the next year of service fees. His one request of us? "Would you buy me a smart phone for my birthday present? It can be a refurb or cheap droid, it doesn't have to be an iphone or anything."

He'd asked when he would be old enough for a phone a couple weeks ago, and I told him when he was old enough to pay for it. He just showed us he was old enough to research it and come up with a way to pay for it on his own, so we'll probably buy him the phone. I would advise the same thing. I'd be more than willing to gift adult children a phone if they were willing to cover the recurring monthly costs.

Simple Abundant Living

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Re: Smartphone Envy
« Reply #34 on: August 09, 2013, 10:43:13 PM »
My almost 13 year old just approached the hubs and I about buying him a smart phone for his birthday. But, he had a list of pros and cons  he had drawn up, along with a plan to only use home or free wifi and limit his minutes/texts. He showed us how he had saved up a year of usage fees for Ting, and would set aside a portion of the money he earns doing odd jobs in the neighborhood for the next year of service fees. His one request of us? "Would you buy me a smart phone for my birthday present? It can be a refurb or cheap droid, it doesn't have to be an iphone or anything."

He'd asked when he would be old enough for a phone a couple weeks ago, and I told him when he was old enough to pay for it. He just showed us he was old enough to research it and come up with a way to pay for it on his own, so we'll probably buy him the phone. I would advise the same thing. I'd be more than willing to gift adult children a phone if they were willing to cover the recurring monthly costs.

Wow, that's one mature 12 year old!  I might yield to an argument like that!

dweebyhawkeyes

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Re: Smartphone Envy
« Reply #35 on: August 09, 2013, 11:46:19 PM »
I know there's already more opinions than you need here. But here's my very strongly-felt two cents as a college student. I will use the term "plastic rock" because that's how stupid I believe these things are.

Honestly I don't see why parents should pay for any discretionary item of their children's. And a cell phone- let alone a smart phone- is definitely discretionary. I've bought everything from my own toothpaste to clothing to wall paint to computer to phone to "my vegan foods" haha etc since I was 15 years old (I'm 19 now, almost 20) and I realize now how awesome my parents were for making me do that. Right now, I go to college and have a full-time job. I have a great network in my field and lots of job offers and so on that will be great to have when I'm ready to start my career.

Knowing the value of money doesn't happen until you know how many hours are put into whatever plastic rock you want at the moment. "Is this worth x hours of my life?" is something I was taught to ask myself before every purchase. If you treat your adult children as though they as still young children, they will act like young children. A crucial step to that is finding out that stuff doesn't drop from the sky because you've asked. Sorry, but the argument alone that they need these things for school is infantile and can't possibly be the real reason they are asking for one. I know, because I saw my boyfriend goad his parents into buying his phone for him and it's been more a distraction to his studies and life-maintenance than an aid. Unfortunately many of my peers, parent-bought smartphone included, feel entitled to so much and are dead shocked when they start working and paying for their own bills, groceries, etc. And because they haven't spent their high school years working and haven't built that network and experience, they often have to take jobs in unrelated fields. Worst case scenario, Starbucks. And trust me, most of my fellow students are on their phones during class not to look up definitions or confirm facts but to text and play games.

Bottom line, I think paying for expensive plastic rocks for your children will hurt them in the future. Don't do it.

steveo

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Re: Smartphone Envy
« Reply #36 on: August 09, 2013, 11:54:35 PM »
My 11 year old daughter is consistently tantruming because she wants a smartphone. I'm really unsure how to handle this. At the moment I've said no and that she can buy one herself if she saves money she is given for her birthday and christmas but even then I will have to pay the on-going fees which for me at the moment will be $15 per month.

Do you give kids a budget at this age and what do you think is reasonable ?

dweebyhawkeyes

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Re: Smartphone Envy
« Reply #37 on: August 10, 2013, 12:13:29 AM »
My 11 year old daughter is consistently tantruming because she wants a smartphone.

So if you buy her one, she will learn that a tantrum gets her what she wants. Is this the behavior you want to encourage?

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Re: Smartphone Envy
« Reply #38 on: August 10, 2013, 03:54:09 AM »
My 11 year old daughter is consistently tantruming because she wants a smartphone.

So if you buy her one, she will learn that a tantrum gets her what she wants. Is this the behavior you want to encourage?

I'm definitely not buying her one. To add to that she gets punished consistently for poor behavior.

The thing is if she buys it with money admittedly that she gets gifted do I pay for the call and data costs. Buying the phone is only part of the cost. I pay $15 per month for my phone usage and it is sufficient. My wife also is on the same plan. The question is do I pay for this for my daughter ?

I'm really stuck on this one. I can't see how I can stop her getting a phone if she pays for it and she is slowly learning that if she buys a phone she misses out on other stuff because we are giving her money for her 12th birthday rather than a party and other stuff.

I wonder what a reasonable allowance is for a 12 year old as well. My wife is thinking $20 per week + the $15 per month phone bill but I'm not sure at this point. It sounds excessive to me but then again if she has to pay for lots of stuff herself it might be good for her.

Left

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Re: Smartphone Envy
« Reply #39 on: August 10, 2013, 06:29:39 AM »
why not let her pay for it as well? I mean if she gets $20/week allowance, she has enough to buy a phone plan as well, but just not much else for other things... see if she really wants the phone bad enough to cut out her other interests

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Re: Smartphone Envy
« Reply #40 on: August 10, 2013, 07:52:20 AM »
Everybody is preaching to the choir as far as I'm concerned. The major stumbling block is the wife wants to cave and get them a smart phone. So how do you convince the better half to stand strong?

Tell her that her children are not babies anymore and she needs to stop buying their underwear and socks for them.

Tell her you have no problem with them getting smartphones, they're capable and intelligent adults who can make their own decisions.  Paying for living expenses for your 21 year old kids is not helping them, it's teaching them to be dependent instead of helping them grow into fully functioning adults. 

Hell, I'd even encourage them to get smartphones.  Tell them there are lots of options and you're sure they'll learn something by figuring out what they want and what it should cost.  Then if they follow through, mention how proud you are as a parent that they are finally learning to do stuff on their own without coming crying to mommy and daddy with every little problem.  Everyone wins!

Giant +1.

Go check out from the library "The Millionaire Next Door" and then flip to the chapter about parents providing monetary gifts for their children (in order for the kids to not have "burdens" like debt) and how it makes the kids dependent, rather than independent, and think about that harm that is being done by buying this smartphone.

Do you trust that your daughter is an intelligent, capable adult?  Or does she have some sort of handicap or mental disability or something we aren't aware of? (In which case naturally you may need to provide for her, despite her being an adult.)
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Re: Smartphone Envy
« Reply #41 on: August 10, 2013, 08:40:11 AM »

I wonder what a reasonable allowance is for a 12 year old as well. My wife is thinking $20 per week + the $15 per month phone bill but I'm not sure at this point. It sounds excessive to me but then again if she has to pay for lots of stuff herself it might be good for her.

$20/week? Good god! Personally my boys won't be getting an allowance.

ketchup

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Re: Smartphone Envy
« Reply #42 on: August 10, 2013, 10:10:30 AM »

I wonder what a reasonable allowance is for a 12 year old as well. My wife is thinking $20 per week + the $15 per month phone bill but I'm not sure at this point. It sounds excessive to me but then again if she has to pay for lots of stuff herself it might be good for her.

$20/week? Good god! Personally my boys won't be getting an allowance.
I got an allowance for a few months when I was in first grade.  $1/week.  I used it to save up for Pokemon trading cards because it was 1997.  If my parents had given me more, I would have bought more Pokemon cards.  I would not have been well off for it.  If they had kept the allowance going, I would have found more things to waste it on.  I got my first job two weeks before turning 15, and was able to put my own work into saving up for silly things.  And I value and manage money better as a result.  I got my first little flip phone when I was 18, $15 paid for by me, on a cheapo $10/mo Virgin Mobile plan.  I got my first smartphone, a then-three-years-old HTC G1, for $60 on eBay.  And my "new" smartphone (Samsung Galaxy S) for $20 from a coworker recently that "upgraded" to an iPhone 5.  I've also never signed a cell phone contract (now on Platinumtel paying around $8/mo).

Let them have smartphones. Let them pay for them.  Give them advice about sensible options for both phones and plans.  Show them how to fish; don't give them lobster on a silver platter.

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Re: Smartphone Envy
« Reply #43 on: August 10, 2013, 11:09:53 AM »
My 11 year old daughter is consistently tantruming because she wants a smartphone. I'm really unsure how to handle this. At the moment I've said no and that she can buy one herself if she saves money she is given for her birthday and christmas but even then I will have to pay the on-going fees which for me at the moment will be $15 per month.

Do you give kids a budget at this age and what do you think is reasonable ?

My 14yo got a smartphone through Tracphone.  We have agreed to a $20 card every 3 months, which gives him 180 talking minutes or 540 text messages.  He accidentally blew through his sample minutes because it was set to check email over the phone, rather than over the wifi.  That was a sad 18 days until refill day came around.  It's been a solid little phone, surviving many drops on the ground as well as a dive into the toilet.  He knows that I bought the first phone, but if he kills it, he gets to fund the replacement. 

Clark Howard has a nice book on teaching kids about money.  I remember agreeing with his dollar amounts re: kid allowances, but I can't remember what they were.  My kids have never had allowances (because I've never had the spare cash) and they are just at the point where they can start earning some through the neighborhood, so I know they'll have their chance to learn painful money lessons with small amounts.

OP, it may be enough that everyone knows that you thoroughly disagree with the smartphone plan and that they will only be paid for through the senior year if your wife chooses to purchase them.

sol

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Re: Smartphone Envy
« Reply #44 on: August 10, 2013, 11:19:33 AM »
Do you give kids a budget at this age and what do you think is reasonable ?

We're filthy rich so we throw great heaping gobs of money at our children.  Our kids get an allowance equal to their age times two in dollars per week, but half of it goes into a savings account from which we have to approve all purchases or withdrawals, and is intended for big ticket items like new bicycles. 

The idea was that we give our nine year old $18/month in cash and $18/month in savings money, but he knows we don't buy him anything else.  Any time we're at a store and he says "I want" we respond with "did you bring your wallet?"  We don't buy them toys, gifts, fast food, candy, anything like that.  They get paid monthly and when this month's money is gone, they know not to ask for anything. 

There are obviously exceptions for things like birthdays and christmas, when they get gifts from us and money from grandparents (which goes straight to savings account, no questions asked).

The nine year old mostly saves his money, because "all the cool kids" have an xbox and playstation and a wii and a psp and a DS and a kindle and he desperately wants to be one of the cool kids, so he saves up until he can afford to buy one, usually about once a year and usually a refurb.  The seven year old mostly blows her allowance in the first few days on candy and gum, but she's finally figuring out that her brother is getting all these cool toys and she's getting nothing but tooth decay. 

(As an aside, they also pay all of their own dental bills aside from routine checkups and cleanings.  If they don't brush, the savings account gets raided to pay for cavities.  Hasn't happened yet but the threat of it encourages good brushing habits.)

Perhaps with that perspective on my elementary school age children you can understand why I think it's ridiculous that anyone would buy a smartphone for a 21 year old adult child.

Dee18

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Re: Smartphone Envy
« Reply #45 on: August 10, 2013, 11:54:07 AM »
My sixteen year is paying for her own smart phone and she pays the monthly fee, all with her babysitting money.

Joshin

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Re: Smartphone Envy
« Reply #46 on: August 10, 2013, 01:33:26 PM »

Perhaps with that perspective on my elementary school age children you can understand why I think it's ridiculous that anyone would buy a smartphone for a 21 year old adult child.

This is similar to where I'm coming from, with the exception we don't pay an allowance. I just can't imagine asking parents to foot a phone bill at that age. The kids have to request extra household jobs to earn money. Grandma and grandpa also sometimes pay them for help, and the older boy does some neighborhood odd jobs here and there.

We're about to launch an allowance-type system with my oldest when he turns 13. He's on track to start college at 16, so we want a firm foundation in money management instilled asap. We're going to sit down, go over his expenses (clothes, entertainment, activity fees, etc), help him set up a budget, pay him a certain amount, and he has to cover all his own expenses from that and what he earns elsewhere. We'll have ongoing monthly budget meetings with him so he can learn the basics of paying monthly bills and unexpected expenses, while still saving, while he's still living at home.

CupcakeStache

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Re: Smartphone Envy
« Reply #47 on: August 10, 2013, 03:38:21 PM »
Out of curiosity, do they have jobs? If so - problem solved!

If not - they should start looking. :)

I say this even as someone who has been quite privileged. I never had a job until my junior year of college. My parents paid for all of my school and living expenses (rent/food/tuition/books/bike/etc), because they felt that going to school was my job. At the beginning of my senior year I decided that I wanted a car and a cell phone, so I got a part-time job to pay for them. It worked out great - it taught me that I needed to actually work for things that I wanted and it also gave me some much needed work experience that served me well in my post-college job search.

ETA: I second whoever it was above that said smartphones might indeed be important to fit in socially. But - this doesn't change much. If the expectation or option that you will buy them smartphones is on the table, I will guess that you're already providing money for living expenses. And if that's the case, I think it's totally reasonable to require them to foot the bill for a smartphone.
« Last Edit: August 10, 2013, 03:45:50 PM by CupcakeStache »

steveo

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Re: Smartphone Envy
« Reply #48 on: August 10, 2013, 04:58:57 PM »
why not let her pay for it as well? I mean if she gets $20/week allowance, she has enough to buy a phone plan as well, but just not much else for other things... see if she really wants the phone bad enough to cut out her other interests

I like this option. If the phone means that much to her well she can start to work out that it comes at the cost of getting other stuff.

$20/week? Good god! Personally my boys won't be getting an allowance.

I don't actually have a problem with the allowance primarily because of this.

We don't buy them toys, gifts, fast food, candy, anything like that.  They get paid monthly and when this month's money is gone, they know not to ask for anything. 

There are obviously exceptions for things like birthdays and christmas, when they get gifts from us and money from grandparents (which goes straight to savings account, no questions asked).

The allowance can be used to pay for stuff that they want. At the moment my daughter wants everything. It is her birthday today but leading up to her birthday she just wanted everything. This way she can get what she wants but she pays for it.

gooki

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Re: Smartphone Envy
« Reply #49 on: August 11, 2013, 01:06:50 AM »
FWIW, quality smart phones are getting fucking cheap if you know where to look, and avoid the high markup brands.