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Eight surprising ways to save money with your smartphone

Yes, smartphones have big upfront costs, but there are many ways that they can end up saving you money in the long run. Here are just a few of their unexpected benefits. 

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    A woman uses an iPhone 6 in Munich, Germany (January 27, 2016).
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Smartphones are great, but why do they cost so much? Is it the bells and whistles of fancy security features, GPS tracking chips, and headsets? Or is it simply because consumers are willing to pay for all these sparkly extras? Here is a comprehensive breakdown of costs, so you can see exactly where your money is going. Are you starting to think it's time your pricey smartphone paid you back? Here are eight ways your smartphone can save you money.

1. Product Review Sites

Why waste time and money on customer service and products you won't absolutely love? Well, thanks to a consumer-driven economy, we no longer have to. Doing a quick business search on a review site will help you steer clear of bad businesses, and avoid the headache and hassle of dealing with lousy store owners for a refund.

2. No More Landline

Say goodbye to the expense of landlines. Some people prefer the convenience of landlines for the long distance, but with the advent of free calling apps like What'sApp, Skype, and Google Talk, landlines are becoming a thing of the past. So, don't let providers rope you into a bundle "deal" just to keep these prehistoric products in circulation.

3. Mobile Banking

Though minor fees won't keep you up at night, they do save you money over time. With mobile banking, you have access to regular account features at your fingertips. This means fewer trips to the bank. That alone will save time that is better spent making money. And you also save on gas and regular wear and tear to your vehicle.

To add to the savings, mobile banking replaces wire transfer fees with free ACH transfers, and saves you a trip to the post office to buy stamps and mail bills. It can all be handled from your smartphone.

4. Accept Credit Card Payments at Small Businesses

If you're a business owner, you can run your business more efficiently by using smart device(s) to take orders and accept all forms of payments, rather than having customers wait in long lines. And service providers can ditch the brick-and-mortar storefronts and go mobile. You'll save a ton on rents and utilities. This concept is not unique to food trucks, pet groomers, or massage therapists, either. Even professionals like, CPAs and attorneys, can ditch the office space. The top credit card reader providers are PayPal and Square.

5. Shopping

By doing your shopping online, you are probably getting the best deals. Try typing any product into Google search and the Google product carousel displays merchants with price information. It's an algorithm used by eBay, along with Amazon, Shopify, Bluefly, and a host of other online retailers that aggregate merchant inventory and prices based on search queries. Mobile apps are another great way to save on shopping. Most major retailers even have their own apps that offer exclusive customer deals. (See also: 16 Best Mobile Shopping Apps for Your Phone)

6. Subscriptions

Digital news and magazine subscriptions cost far less than print. And digital music subscriptions are also great because your entire music library follows you wherever you go.

Keep in mind that subscriptions are tax-deductible as long as they can be tied to your profession. So, if you're a real estate agent who reads the New York Times or a personal trainer who listens to Spotify, your subscriptions are tax deductions!

7. Ebooks

Following in the footsteps of music lovers, bookworms can hand over hard copies and replace them with ebooks for a fraction of the cost. And you'll never have to worry about them disappearing from your collection again. Some apps will let you read as many books as you want for around $5-$10 per month. For instance, Blinklist has a collection of over 1,300 books and they summarize the most important parts for quick digestible reads for $4.99 per month.

8. Insurance

Eliminating book and music collections will not only declutter your home, but it also allows you to drop your home or renter's insurance coverage by $5,000 to $10,000, which saves you money on premiums. Besides, unless you have rare books or albums, these items don't hold resale value and are not worth the money that is spent over time for packaging, additional moving costs for extra weight, and storage fees.

This article first appeared at Wise Bread.

The Christian Science Monitor has assembled a diverse group of the best personal finance bloggers out there. Our guest bloggers are not employed or directed by the Monitor and the views expressed are the bloggers' own, as is responsibility for the content of their blogs. To contact us about a blogger, click here. To add or view a comment on a guest blog, please go to the blogger's own site by clicking on the link in the blog description box above.

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