Dialing for Dollars

Spending on smartphones is overtaking the family budget.

Dialing for Dollars

If you own a smartphone, you probably love it and how it makes your life a little easier. There's a map at your fingertips, email on the go and much more. The downside? The bill that comes each month. And if you have kids who also have smartphones (that, naturally, you pay for), that downside is probably more like a massive pit.

According to The Wall Street Journal, spending on cell services rose four percent last year, the fastest rate since 2005. The average household now spends about $1,200 a year on telephone services. That's quite a big chunk of our monthly spending. We're even cutting out other things just to pay for our phones. The Labor Department reports that since 2007, the average household's spending on apparel, food away from home and entertainment have all dropped, but spending on phones has increased. To make matters worse, phone companies are betting they can get even more from us by offering faster speeds and other services.

If you're stuck with a phone that is taking up way too much space on your monthly budget, consider combining your kids' services with yours for a family plan. You can also monitor your data usage to determine if you really need the plan that you're using. If you're in the market for a new smartphone, be sure to shop around and compare the carriers' plans and your habits before signing on the dotted line. You might not be able to completely give up our smartphones, but you can find ways to make the accompanying bill easier to handle.

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