How many smartphones does your family need?

Most of us today couldn’t go 24 hours without some contact with our phone. But what about the rest of your household? How many smartphones does your family really need?

When you were growing up, your family probably had exactly one telephone — a rotary model that was attached to the kitchen wall and included a generous four-foot cord. Despite having zero privacy and having to talk to that cute boy from school while your younger brother stood there pointing and laughing at you, you managed to survive.

Now, you have kids of your own, and everyone is asking for a smartphone. While your children think you are made of money, this is definitely not the case. To help determine how many smartphones your family realistically needs, consider the following points.


Siblings can often share

Depending on the ages of your children, they might be able to share a smartphone. For example, if you have two kids who are in the same school and don’t have a ton of after school activities, they could potentially take turns having it in class.

To make this option work, you probably want to spring for a phone that has some advanced capabilities; for example, the Samsung Galaxy S7 is water and dust resistant, so if it ends up in the middle school drinking fountain, it should be okay.

The 3000 mAh battery will easily last through the entire school day, and if one or more of your children use the phone to do research, the Qualcomm Snapdragon 820 processor will help them quickly find the answers they need.

Can your kids handle the responsibility?

As previously noted, smartphones can be pricey. They can also easily be dropped, forgotten in the library, or stolen out of the locker room.

Before delighting your children by taking them cell phone shopping, ask yourself: do your kids routinely break or lose their toys or homework? Do they drop several ornaments when decorating the tree at Christmas or can they handle carrying your fragile teacups to the kitchen sink without incident?

If your kids are more like bulls in a china shop or have a knack for losing things, they are probably not ready for the responsibility of owning a smartphone.

See if you can find affordable models or plans

If you feel it is best for pretty much everybody in the house to have their own smartphone, strive to make it as economical as possible. Yes, your tween is probably dying to have the latest and greatest model, but since it’s your money, you get to call the shots.

Call your cell phone carrier and see if they offer refurbished older phones that still have up to date software for a fraction of the price. Inquire too about family plans involving multiple lines and other things you can do to cut your bill down as much as possible.

If you have older relatives living with you and you want them to be able to call for help when needed, they might not want a phone with tons of bells and whistles. has a helpful list of phones that are ideal for the senior citizen community. In addition to being affordable, they feature large buttons, and easy to read speed dial functions.

Don’t be pushed into extra phones!

While it can be stressful to decide how many phones your family needs, especially when you have kids and tweens declaring that they will simply die if they don’t have one, try to keep a level head.

Look at ways to cut back on the total number that you need, if your kids are even ready and how to save precious money in the process. If your family complains, tell them you have a rotary phone in storage that you’d be happy to install in the kitchen.

Photo by Luke Porter