Smartphones have been making lives easier for a long time and today’s generation is no slouch when it comes to finding new ways to use them. Still, we’ve got a few tips you can flex to create the fully connected life you deserve.
Pay Up (And Get Paid) Wherever You Roam
Bills, bills, bills! We all have them but did you know there are many different ways to get them paid right from your phone? Using one of the many payment apps available, you could get paid for your gig and access your money without ever stepping foot inside a bank.
Payment apps range from Apple Pay to Zelle, with popular options like Google Pay, Paypal, and Venmo topping most lists these days. It’s important, though, to use a service that really meets your needs rather than just going with one that everyone else uses. Think about why you really need a payment service app before deciding which one to use.
For example, do you need to send money internationally, or do you just want quick access to your paycheck once it’s been deposited in your bank account? Maybe you need an app that lets you pay others with a credit card instead of a debit card so you can hold on to your cash a little longer. If you’re money-savvy, there are even payment apps that let you trade stocks or Bitcoin.
Some payment apps are completely free, while others allow free money transfers between friends and family while charging fees for business-related transactions.
What to Know
Whatever you go with, think about the following when choosing a payment app:
- Be sure it works with the bank(s) you like best. Why change banks if you don’t need to?
- Look for an app with multiple payment options: Your life is always changing; your payment app should be able to keep up! Look for varied payment options, mobile payment features, e-wallets, and both debit/credit card payment options.
- Pay attention to fees: Some apps charge 2.5% to 3% to cover credit card processing fees. If you need to use one, be sure you know what the fee is and which transactions will charge it.
- Security is critical: It’s your money! Be sure the app you choose requires 2FA, notifies you of any payments made, and has a passcode lock to prevent someone else from sending money from your phone.
- Payment disputes: Be sure you can dispute any payments you didn’t make or made by mistake. If you do make a payment for something you wanted and the seller turns out to be fraudulent, however, there might not be much you can do so always be very careful about where you’re sending those hard-earned dollars.
Whatever your needs, there’s a payment app to keep you on track with your goals.
Boost Your Mood With Flicks & Tunes
When you’re bored with social media and don’t feel like talking to anyone but need a little something to boost your mood, where should you go? To your phone, of course! Because wherever you roam, your entertainment can cruise right along with you. Movies, TV, music… whatever you’re into, you’ve probably got it handy on your phone.
Since any smartphone can technically connect you to the entertainment you’re after; what’s most important is finding the right carrier and data plan to keep your budget from exploding. That means paying attention to details in a plan like how much data it takes to stream your favorite movie (cough, cough Knives Out) or how much phone storage you have if you like to download your tunes and flicks.
Estimating the data you need can get tricky, but here are a few tips:
- Go for the gig(abyte). In today’s world, you need at least 1 GB of data to surf the web and check email for about 40 minutes every day.
- Up that to 2GB and you can add in about 4 hours of video and stream around 400 songs every month on top of email activities.
- With 4GB, you’re typically able to browse the web for a few hours a day, be active on social media for around 90 minutes each day, and listen to music for a couple of hours.
- Bump up to 8 GB if you really want to stream a lot of movies, connect on social for 3 hours every day, and listen to music for the rest of your waking hours.
- Still not enough? Check with your carrier about plans that range from 20 to 50 GB every month. You should be able to snag a good deal and not stress over running past data limits.
Talk to your carrier about the data plans they have that will keep the movies and tunes flowing smoothly without busting your budget.
Lighten Your Load With Expanded Connections
If you use your smartphone mostly for messaging/texting, video chats, social media, and maybe an actual phone call once in a while, you’re in good company. Smartphones have become treasured and necessary connections to friends, family, and even to our jobs with most of us using texting or social media messaging to keep relationships rolling.
We have two more favorite ways to boost the usefulness of our phones:
- Putting them down.
- Using apps to get things done for us.
Put The Phone Down So You Can Move
One great way to keep prized connections open even when your phone isn’t close by is to add a smartwatch. Smartwatches with cellular connections are getting much better at keeping you in touch while you’re out and about.
You can still do (almost) everything you do with a phone: Take a call, send a text or emoji, view an image, and get tunes from your wrist with the LTE or Wi-Fi connections to your phone. Plus, these watches can also track your fitness, sleep, heart rate, and body composition. Add in a payment app and you can even use your watch to pay for whatever you need in a store or drive-thru.
What we love most about smartwatches is that they are always on your wrist, whether you’re making a quick run to the grocery store or out for a jog. Drop in a pair of earbuds and let the snoops think you’re Ethan Hunt on an impossible mission as you chat into the wind or check your wrist for messages. Your phone can stay at home, in your bag, or in the car, but you can still stay connected.
Use Smart Apps to Make Your Life Easier
Even better, you can use your phone for connecting everything else in your life, too. Why not have your thermostat turn up the heat while you’re heading home? Or start the coffee pot when a late night turns into an early morning?
You can do it all from your phone; all you need are a few smart devices and a related app, and voila! You’re managing your household from a smartphone located miles away from your front door.
The best part of all? Your phone can really make your life easier, especially when you combine it with a few smart tools.
And we say, at the end of the day, if a phone can simplify your life, let it!