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BlackBerries: An Investment or a Splurge?


As I drool over the recently-unveiled BlackBerry Bold, I am reflecting on my upgrade from a regular old mobile phone to a BlackBerry about a year and a half ago. Was it worth it?

On average, BlackBerries cost more than typical mobile phones, both up-front and in monthly service charges. In my case, the Blackberry cost about $200 more than a regular mobile phone, and costs me $20 additional on my monthly bill for unlimited email and internet use.

Yes, I bought my BlackBerry, in part, to be able to check my personal email anywhere, but I also got it because it would allow me to keep an eye on my work email, too. At the time, I think I justified the purchase by calling it an “investment” in my career.

Since my employer hasn’t given me a BlackBerry, there is no expectation that I reply to emails at midnight, but I might choose to if I see something from an important client. After all, that could be the ticket to a big deal, or even better, a big promotion.

After having my Blackberry for over a year, the harsh reality is that this doesn’t happen that often, if at all. Yes, I enjoy reading work emails as they come in, even if I’m sitting on a plane waiting to take off, but the instances in which I can do something about an email right then and there are few and far between.

Even in the world of BlackBerries, if it is that important, we should all still pick up the phone.

When it comes down to it, I realize I’m paying the extra money for a cooler-than-ordinary phone and that it’s not that much of an “investment”. Of course, if I was on the road all the time, and frequently needed to handle emails when I couldn’t get to my computer, a BlackBerry might seem more like a necessity.

Do you spend money on, or “invest” in, things that further your career?

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About David Weliver

David Weliver is the founding editor of Money Under 30. He's a cited authority on personal finance and the unique money issues we face during our first two decades as adults. He lives in Maine with his wife and two children.

Comments

  1. I totally relate. I bought my Blackberry (old model) on eBay a month or two ago, under the guise of using it for my career and being more organized. Not sure if that’s really true.

    I don’t use the Internet on it, in order to cut costs. I also paid only $30 for it because it was old/used.

    One of the girls who works FOR me has a newer version, and she has the Internet… I drool.

  2. I bought the Blackberry to use as a PDA that I can manually sync with my Outlook. I neither have nor want the internet access (I have too much internet access as it is). I’ve never been able to keep a calendar–I lose them constantly, and it felt redundant or at least inneficient to keep a calendar AND Outlook. It cost more upfront to just buy the phone, but I LOVE having all my contacts and Outlook calendar with me at all time. It was worth the investment for me.

  3. These devices are only worth it if you are serious about changing your habits. With a device like this, you have to put your whole life into it, e.g., all of your todos and all calender events, or you will not rely upon it to know what you have to do. Otherwise, you’ll have stuff in your head and stuff in your device, and because the stuff in your head is easier to access, those are the things you’ll pay attention to. You won’t use the blackberry because you can’t tell the difference between todos in your head and todos in your device, so until you put them all in the device, then they are still all in your head.

    I’ve seen this with myself many times. So now I have a plan to figure out which gadgets are worth it. First I figure out what the features are that I really want out of the gadget. Then I try to find ways to do that same thing with stuff I already have. Then I create a plan of how I will use the new device and if it is really worth the effort. If it is worth it, then I’ll buy it. These steps have saved me many times buying something I don’t need.

  4. For me, my BlackBerry is an investment. I was hesitant to get one for many years as I thought it would further enslave me to technology. After carrying it for over 2 years, that couldn’t be further from the case. Since I can stay connected from virtually where ever I’m at, the BlackBerry actually let’s me do things away from the office during business hours and still stay connected with my clients.

  5. Do you have to buy email access to have a blackberry?

  6. what company are you on that the int is only $20?