Yes, I admit: I have a very unhealthy relationship with my cell phone. I always have it with me, except in the shower, and even then it’s within reach. At the beginning of last year, when the pandemic brought practically everything to a standstill, my smartphone became my constant companion. I must have used it seven or eight hours a day.
Worse than my screen time was the impact on my wallet. While browsing the various apps and shopping, my credit card bills exploded. So I had to stick to a tight budget for smartphone shopping. In order for me to adhere to this, I had to delete the apps that I spent the most money on. This simple trick saved me over $ 1,000 in 2020.
Read here which different app categories cost me money, how I broke up with them and what you can do to ensure that you don’t waste time and money using your smartphone.
The very first apps I deleted were online shopping apps. As I scrolled my phone, I kept coming up with something I wanted. Over 75 percent of the purchases I made through app shopping were things that weren’t strictly necessary. Often times I would open these apps to buy an important item (like toilet paper or towels) and in the end the shopping cart would fill up with a bunch of other things that I didn’t need.
I realized that without these apps on my phone, I would be less tempted to shop online.
2. Games with in-app purchases
Last year I got really good at multitasking: watching new TV shows and playing games on my phone at the same time. What I didn’t notice: I was probably a little too relaxed with the in-app purchases in the game apps.
What began as a one-time purchase to acquire a bunch of gems for 4.99 euros or an additional move for 99 cents quickly became a regular occurrence. There was a month when the in-app purchases cost me a total of $ 30.
The only way to put an end to this newfound gaming and spending habit was to delete all of these apps in one fell swoop. Otherwise the one-time $ 30 would have quickly become a monthly expense and at the end of the year I would have spent $ 360 on these in-app purchases.
What have I replaced my beloved mobile games with? With old-fashioned games that don’t drain my wallet. I bought four board games and a card game for under ten euros (from a thrift store) and played all of them at least once a month.
3. Food delivery services
Before the pandemic, I tried to order food only twice a week. But as the pandemic measures tightened and I got tired of cooking all of my meals myself, I found myself using food delivery services at least once a day in early April. There were a few days (mostly on the weekends) that I ordered three meals through these apps.
That cost me over $ 125 a week.
It was tough, but I deleted every single food delivery app from my phone. That didn’t mean I didn’t order any more food. It just meant that now I could only do it from my computer. I deleted my accounts on five of the seven food delivery apps I used (to limit the temptation and extra options) and set a goal of only spending $ 45 a week on food deliveries. This saved me an average of $ 80 per month.
4. Travel apps
In the past few years I’ve been on the road a lot for work and had all kinds of airline and hotel booking apps on my phone. They helped me book trips quickly and I was able to set notifications for cheap travel deals.
When the pandemic stopped all travel, I didn’t delete these apps from my phone. Instead, I scrolled through the apps and booked vacations in the distant future – that helped me escape reality. I figured if I didn’t travel in the near future I would save money and use that money to book trips for later.
However, this logic was obviously flawed. Due to my misjudgment and far too optimistic attitude, I booked three trips in 2020 which I had to cancel due to the ongoing pandemic. Some bookings gave me a full refund, others only allowed me to collect travel credits or vouchers for future trips.
That’s why I deleted all of these travel apps. That way, I wouldn’t waste time or money planning future trips.
What did I learn from deleting these money-guzzling apps from my phone? It leads to less temptation. And: You don’t need five apps of the same kind. That just leads to more options, more purchases and you use them more often. In the future, I will limit myself to two options per app category and set myself limits – both in terms of expenditure and usage time, so that I don’t waste both with these mobile apps.