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View Poll Results: Do I let him buy or not?
Yes - it is his money, let him waste it 79 92.94%
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Son wants to waste money
Old 09-05-2012, 11:13 AM   #1
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Son wants to waste money

OK, I was presented with a decision that my wife and son made... but I disagree....


He wants to spend $300 on a Samsung phone (T-Mobile)... he plans to only use it for voice and buy minutes...

I said it is a waste of money to buy a 'smartphone' just to look cool. He said 'it is my money and I do not want to look stupid with an old mans phone'..... just to let you know, I did let him buy an I-Pod with his money, so he does not need it for that purpose....

So, do I put my foot down and say "No"... or do I let him waste his money since it is his Just to let you know, he will turn 15 in two months.... just started high school....

Edit to add: He normally is not wasteful with his money... but is when it comes to electronics..... and I think now because of high school....
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Old 09-05-2012, 11:23 AM   #2
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At that age, let him use his own money. If it turns out to be a waste, that could be a valuable lesson worth much more than $300.
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Old 09-05-2012, 11:28 AM   #3
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I have found the best lessons are those that involve THEIR money. One of my sons saved up for a "must-have" electronic game device, and he hasn't played it in over a year. I ask him about it often..........
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Old 09-05-2012, 11:35 AM   #4
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Has he checked to see if T-Mobile will sell him a smartphone w/o also purchasing a data plan? Most carriers will not sell smartphones w/o data plans. Yes, I would let him buy...it's his money.
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Old 09-05-2012, 11:38 AM   #5
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There might be better deals in the works, and maybe he could use your help in decision analysis.

I went through all of this with two kids and spouse. My position was always that I wanted my kids to be able to call and text in the family. My son went through the cell phone status thing first, so he came up short. Daughter broke and lost phones regularly.

Ask your son what will he do when it gets stolen...
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Old 09-05-2012, 11:43 AM   #6
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I would voice your opinion and the reasons why you think it is a waste (sounds like you already have), then relent and let him waste if he wants to. However when he is broke in a few weeks and asks for money for something, perhaps remind him that he would have some if he had not wasted it on the phone!
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Old 09-05-2012, 11:47 AM   #7
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It's important to remember that at his age, peer pressure is way more powerful than just about any other influence in his life (except perhaps hormones). If most of his friends are using smartphones, then he honestly does believe he "needs" one. I would give in on this one and pick a more important battle some other time.
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Old 09-05-2012, 12:05 PM   #8
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I would voice your opinion and the reasons why you think it is a waste (sounds like you already have), then relent and let him waste if he wants to. However when he is broke in a few weeks and asks for money for something, perhaps remind him that he would have some if he had not wasted it on the phone!
This.
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Old 09-05-2012, 12:39 PM   #9
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I would voice your opinion and the reasons why you think it is a waste (sounds like you already have), then relent and let him waste if he wants to. However when he is broke in a few weeks and asks for money for something, perhaps remind him that he would have some if he had not wasted it on the phone!
+2.

However, a smartphone is not just a phone. He won't be using it only for voice. It'll have Wi-Fi capability, so when he's in range of a wireless network he'll be connected to the Internet, which can include free texting and even voice while connected. Games, calendar, to do list, memos, social networking, music, videos, and trading stocks. Pretty much a pocket computer. Which of course means you may need to find new ways to monitor his usage.
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Old 09-05-2012, 12:50 PM   #10
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I've had several similar topics with my kids;

Bottom line is they save 50% of what they make for college/University and the rest as they please. They work for there money so it's up to them how they spend it. Sure we voice our opinion now and then but there are far worse thing they counld be spending there money on. After everything is said and done they still have money left over so we're not complaining.

I wouldn't want to work and not be able to purchase what I can afford. The key is "afford".
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Old 09-05-2012, 01:33 PM   #11
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However, a smartphone is not just a phone. He won't be using it only for voice. It'll have Wi-Fi capability, so when he's in range of a wireless network he'll be connected to the Internet, which can include free texting and even voice while connected. Games, calendar, to do list, memos, social networking, music, videos, and trading stocks. Pretty much a pocket computer. Which of course means you may need to find new ways to monitor his usage.
Not having a data plan definitely cripples the phone, but like Animorph says, plenty of wifi hotspots around (mcD's, school, libraries, coffee shops, home?, friends houses, etc). So the phone will still be useful, and he can take pics, share with friends, and do all the mobile computing/communicating he can when he is at a wifi hotspot.

If he has his own money and is responsible for buying his own things, the bottom line is that you can advise him on the wisdom of spending money, but if it were me I wouldn't prohibit him from buying this. Some teens spend way more (of their parents money lol) than that on fashion accessories (watches, purses, shoes, etc). And a fancy pants smart phone is actually useful for some things on top of making a 15 year old look cool.

edited to add: vote is currently running 17 to 0 in favor of letting him waste his money on the phone. +1 to the comments about this may be a cheap $300 waste of money in the long term once he sees all his friends coveting the newest iphone/ipad/pod/tablet/whatever in another few months and he can't buy it because he spent an extra $280 bucks on something that could be had for around $20 (actually, $18 for a t-mobile at walmart - just got one this summer for DW and it kicks ass for voice quality and signal and battery - way better than my smartphone). Or he may break the phone or lose it or have it stolen or get it wet in the rain or going swimming or... Then he'll learn the lesson of taking responsibility for his things and why sometimes having a throw away $20 phone that you don't care if you break or lose is waaaay better than having an expensive delicate device.
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Old 09-05-2012, 01:42 PM   #12
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A smartphone will let him keep up and learn latest technology (and not have him left behind). Even though he might start with voice/text, he will soon find lots of other uses for it (music, camera, video, calendar, maps, apps, etc).Get a prepaid plan, so there is control on spend.
Given the risk of losing it, one compromise would be to buy a $100 smartphone (new starter model or used fancier one). New LG Optimus-T, Samsung Exhibit II 4G are good starter phones and from time to time are in the price range.
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Old 09-05-2012, 02:00 PM   #13
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Yep, I have to agree. Let him spend the money and learn the lesson. It's cheap tuition and certainly better than learning the same lesson via a $35,000 car that he can't afford to buy much less insure, maintain, etc.

I assume that otherwise he is a fine boy - decent grades, no drugs, reputable friends, and his girl friend isn't an embarrassment.
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Old 09-05-2012, 02:06 PM   #14
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I understand your pain. Perhaps son would be better off buying a used smartphone in good condition that is compatible with the T-Mobile network and then have T-Mobile provide the service on a pay as you go basis. He could then have a cool phone for less and perhaps you could all feel good about it and if it does get lost, stolen or otherwise ruined it won't be so devastating.

Absent that though, I agree with others that it should be his decision since it is his money and since he will have to live with the consequences of his decision.

I remember that my teenage niece went out and spent an exorbitant amount of money she had earned on new boots and her mom (my sister, who is very frugal) had a cow. It is still a sore spot between them even though it happened over 10 years ago.
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Old 09-05-2012, 02:07 PM   #15
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I think some missed that he already has an I-Pod.... so all of the features for the Samsung that was mentioned he has....

I will see if there are any other options that are better... but it does look like I am clearly on the wrong side of this.... looking at the voting...

I am going to vote now just so I can have at least ONE no....

Thanks for the quick responses....
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Old 09-05-2012, 02:10 PM   #16
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I understand your pain. Perhaps son would be better off buying a used smartphone in good condition that is compatible with the T-Mobile network and then have T-Mobile provide the service on a pay as you go basis. He could then have a cool phone for less and perhaps you could all feel good about it and if it does get lost, stolen or otherwise ruined it won't be so devastating.

Absent that though, I agree with others that it should be his decision since it is his money and since he will have to live with the consequences of his decision.

I remember that my teenage niece went out and spent an exorbitant amount of money she had earned on new boots and her mom (my sister, who is very frugal) had a cow. It is still a sore spot between them even though it happened over 10 years ago.
I brought up the possibility of a used phone.... he had already looked at that option (at least he knows what I am going to ask )... he said they were priced almost the same.

I can say that it will not be a sore spot for me...
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Old 09-05-2012, 02:53 PM   #17
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TexsasProud,

Is this your First Teenager??
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Old 09-05-2012, 02:58 PM   #18
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Just to pile on--I can't see any reason to stop him. He'll probably learn some valuable lessons this way, especially if he worked to earn the money for it.

One issue: I assume the "old man phone" he's carrying now is on your phone plan? When he gets the new phone he may run out of minutes and be entirely out of touch. While everyone on this board somehow survived their entire childhood this way, it is now deemed unsafe and bordering on child abuse to allow a kid to be electronically untethered. So, I would think it reasonable that you ask him to keep the "old man phone" charged up and with him (maybe in a plain brown wrapper in his backpack) so he'll always have a way to make a call.
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Old 09-05-2012, 03:01 PM   #19
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Or he may break the phone or lose it or have it stolen or...(snip).
If he gets the Nokia Lumia Windows phone from T-Mobile (as DW/I have), and he loses it (or gets stolen) he can track it on line anywhere in the world, in addition to ringing, locking, and erasing his phone's content, from his PC.

Some smart phones are smarter than others ...
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Old 09-05-2012, 03:28 PM   #20
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TexsasProud,

Is this your First Teenager??

yes

But, have nephews and nieces that are older.... some already have their own kids....
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