The Saturday Weekly Review

At what age should your child get their first cell phone? : The Saturday Weekend Review #116

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The Saturday Weekend Review logo- first cell phoneTIMES REALLY HAVE CHANGED


If you asked me today at what age I would give our son his first cell phone I would tell you it’s never going to happen. At least not from our budget.

It’s hard to say no when your child is crying, begging and screaming for their first cell phone and lists all the reasons WHY they should get one, but do they really need it?

Cell phone companies are getting rich from these types of kids and the parents who give in.

A bit of background about my cell phone… I don’t own one and don’t plan to if I don’t have to.

My first cell phone was one of the old cell phones from Samsung which was a flip phone with a camera and a few other bits and bobs. I was almost 30 years old. Back in the day it was a popular phone but as the years progressed it became something that you could smash and replace without remorse.

People still use old cell phones but not as much as they rave about the smartphone especially when a new model comes on the market. It seems like just because something new has come out that the old cell phone is no longer good enough.

It’s too bad pay as you go cell phones in Canada aren’t like they were in the UK. When I would put $100 on my cell phone it would last me over a year. What I didn’t use one year would roll over into the next year. When I asked about pay as you go in Canada I found out that if I didn’t use it I lost it.

One person we know just gets rid of his old cell phones since he says they are no longer of use to him. What?? Just because a cell phone has been upgraded that doesn’t make the last version obsolete. I never did say anything when he told me that.


The things I hear and see


I was out front of our house minding my business when our neighbour was getting ready to leave with her kids. The couple has 3 kids 6, 8 and 13 years old and ALL of them own a smartphone with a data plan.

Her oldest daughter got her first cell phone at the age of 11 and the reason for that was so she could use the internet to play cell games and to watch videos. It made road trips and shopping easier if the kids were happy she said. The other children got theirs earlier because they saw their oldest sibling with one.

How do I know this stuff…well I asked what kind of phones they had and how old they were when they were given their first phone. I wanted to know what she had to say about it.

What I find funny is when parents say that their child won’t be playing video games yet they have no problem supplying a child with a phone that has this ability.

Playing video games whether with a television or a hand-held device is still playing the games. Some parents will argue that video games are a great learning tool. Maybe. Maybe not.

I read the other day that a brother and sister were in danger when an animal was in their presence. The son knew how to handle the situation simply from playing video games. They got out of the situation safe by playing dead.


Cell phones at a young age


Something you might want to ask yourself as a parent:

Will your child use the phone wisely or will they be downloading apps, music, videos, games and using Facebook or other social media? Some wireless providers may be able to add usage control to the phone so data is on during certain hours of the day or night but phone calls are allowed.

If the child goes over the data usage are you prepared to pay the price? What if they lose or break their costly smartphone? Maybe cell phone insurance is worth the cost to your budget as well.

If you want to give your kid a pay as you go old cell for emergencies, fair enough. I don’t think I would win a comment war on kids getting their first cell phone early because some parents want that peace of mind.

It’s important for some parents knowing that their child can easily call home or for help if needed. It’s not just for the kids sake either, it’s so the parent can reach the child whenever they need to.

Keep in mind your child may text and bother you all day!

You should ask yourself: Does my child need a cell phone for social reasons or for safety reasons? If social reasons is the answer you may want to hold off but that’s your choice, your parenting. If for safety reasons, what exactly are those reasons?

No parent wants their kids to feel like a social outcast but it’s true cliques still exist today like they did when we were young. I’m not sure technology gifting is the answer to this social sadness.

The internet is plastered with inappropriate photos from young kids and teens and predators thrive on this kind of stuff. It also doesn’t help that adults do just the same and lead these kids by example. That will never end though.

There’s also the case of divorced parents where the child has a cell phone to connect with each parent. Sometimes the parents want to have these private conversations with the children so the cell phone is the best way to do it. They also need to contact the child if plans with one parent fall through or if plans change.

This really is happening!

Our son only months old has already started to grab my wife’s iPhone. He watches everything we do with that phone and soaks it all up. Some kids can run technology better than adults can.

Encouraging children to leave technology behind to keep active and expand their creativity and hands-on knowledge of life is becoming more challenging for parents every day.


Just in case of emergency


We survived without cell phones but I don’t think times will ever go back to the way they were. Having one cell phone in the family seems to be treating us well these days.

I’m in my thirties now and I’m making out pretty good without owning my own cell phone and when I do have one it’s because my wife forces it on me to make sure I’m safe on the roads.

Yes she does think that having a cell phone while on the roads are important just in case of an accident and no one is around.

“Here take the phone… you  never know”, she always says.

I know why she is like this though and I don’t blame her at all.

I was in a bad accident with a friend in Canada two years after I moved here and just about every car that stopped had a cell phone and offered to call for help.

Some people even did the hand motion as they drove by. You know the drive-by thumb and fingers to the ear as blood was pouring down my face to see if we needed them to make a call.

We didn’t because a police officer was not far behind us and stopped to call us an ambulance. If every driver thought like I did about cell phones maybe help wouldn’t have arrived as fast had the officer not been in the area.

So an emergency cell phone may just save a life while you are on the road IF you can find that phone when in need. Even if I had a cell that day there was no way I was going to find it in the mess that was created.

In other cases that cell phone may be the difference between life and death. Your choice.


Buying a smartphone


My wife now has an old smartphone iPhone 4 that she bought second-hand from a Facebook auction for $72. She smashed her old cell phone on the bathroom tiles at a local coffee shop we were at so we had to get her another. If she wanted to buy an iPhone 4S phone new it potentially would cost around $350 plus taxes.

She bought a $20 Monster charger because the dollar store chargers break too easily as the wiring is rubbish and cheap and sometimes the phone would say it would not support that charger. She picked up 4 iPhone cases free from a Freebie Facebook group which saved her about $60 or more.

If we wanted to replace that old cell phone with a “new” old model cell phone we would have paid more to do that had we not of found a used smartphone. It made sense to go the smartphone route even though she doesn’t have a data plan.

The data plan through Rogers mobile would cost her an additional $25 plus dollars a month. So in total around $55 because she wouldn’t need to get a smartphone from Rogers.


Growing up in the 80’s


When we were kids we would actually play outside with our friends and explore what was in our back garden. Even though we managed to get full of dirt we had fun being kids.

If I went out front I stayed in the area or my mum and dad knew where I was going and they got phone numbers of the house I was playing at. I was never allowed to run the streets or take off to the mall on the bus at a young age.

If we went to the nearby park we would go play and come home when it started to get dark out or when it was dinner time. We never spoke to strangers and just ran or walked away if someone tried to talk to us that we didn’t know.

These days some kids won’t even know what it’s like to get dirty digging and having fun because they are glued to their cell phone or the TV for that matter


Safety without a cell phone


We’ve created this mentality that life outside of the home is very unsafe and without that cell phone we might not make it home alive or in one piece. It’s like an addiction for some people but for many it has saved a life.

Sure a cell phone may save a child’s life if they are in a situation where it is needed. This may be the only reason you want your child to have their first cell phone at a very young age. For some parents you can’t put a dollar amount on this reason.

We never had this option when I was a child but if we did I’m sure that many parents would be doing the same thing if they could.


Child technology and education


My father told me the other day that they bought our niece an iPad to use at school because this is the way the schools are going these days. Kids are bringing laptops to school to do their homework. It is the way technology is going so maybe we should prepare the kids for this fast growing trend.

If you have a baby you can even find iPod kid-tough cases that will fit your devices so the kids can use them to play free games online. We are teaching our kids from mere months old about technology so for many kids getting their first cell phone is almost expected.

This is a comment I found on the Fisher Price website for the Kids Touch Case

I bought this case at a store for my kids to use with their iPod touch. The price was  right. I have toddlers and I knew that the case needed to be tough.

Then there are the kids whose parents can’t afford to give them a cell phone. So are they more at risk than those who have a cell? How do those parents get the same peace of mind as those parents whose kids have cell phones?

They don’t.

They send their kids to school just like we were sent as kids and taught how to handle certain situations the best they could. They have no other options so this is the only option.


Mobile pricing


Getting a Smartphone with data in Canada is pricey no matter what way you look at it. Some parents argue they get free cell phones and the plans are split between family members so the kids can use a percentage of the data so it costs less.

I may just be that way but you will still pay for that phone unless you buy it used like we did.

Let me tell you a little secret… .there’s no such thing as a free cell phone. You will pay for that cell phone somehow even if you don’t see the actual cost it will be built into your pricing over time.

Don’t be fooled by the get a free cell phone when you sign up for a plan deal. Even if you negotiate a deal with your mobile phone company you will pay for that phone over time.

When will our son get his first cell phone?

When he has a job and he understands the meaning of working for a living.Until then I’m not paying between $200-$500 a year to get him his first cell phone.

This is my mindset TODAY but this could all change because I can’t predict the future world of technology.

When do you think a child should get their first cell phone?

If you do give your child a cell phone what type of phone and how much do you pay per month? What is your reasoning for giving the child their first cell phone so young?


CBB Week At A Glance


My week has been nothing more than very busy especially on the blog. I just learned about the Google update coming April 21 so I’m hoping to get the blog “Mobile Friendly” by then. In the next day or so we should be on board with that.

At home we managed to get to the pool swimming this week and had company come to visit from out-of-town that we haven’t seen since last year. It was nice to relax and catch-up, enjoy some pizza and watch some comedy.

We picked up a few boxes of free clothes for our son which we found on Facebook and donated what was left to another mum. With clothes being as costly as they are it’s nice to see donations making their rounds rather than going to the second-hand shops where they seem to be over-priced.

Other than that Spring is here and the grass is disgusting looking although it was the greenest in our neighbourhood last year.

This year I will have to work very hard to maintain that status again although I’m thinking that fake grass sounds very tempting. No maintenance.

How was your week?


Published This Week


Just in case you’ve missed any of my blog posts this week I will link to them all below.

If you have a question that you would like to ask Mr.CBB fill out the Contact Mr.CBB form on the Home Page and send in your questions. If you want to share a story please ensure that there is minimum 500-1000 words and details… we love details!

Mr.CBB (that’s me) will look in his mailbag weekly and pick a question to answer on the blog.

This week on Canadian Budget Binder:


Popular This Month


Top 5 blog posts that are popular for the month.

These are in no particular order:


Fan Budget Brags


Submit your Deal or Brag:

Saving money while grocery shopping is essential in the CBB family and that’s why we share our grocery shops every week in The Grocery Game Challenge 2015.

What I love the most is when my fans share their amazing shops with me whether it be groceries or other deals they find at a garage sale, online or freebies!!!

If you have a brag that you want me to share email me at canadianbudgetbinder (@) [yahoo] [.ca] or fill out my contact form by Friday each week to have your brag considered for the Saturday post.

Joannes grocery haul bragThis week CBB fan Jo-Anne shares her Grocery Haul.

Dear Mr.CBB and Fans

I have two huge upcoming birthday parties that I am planning so I needed all the help I could get with party shopping and grocery savings.

Thank goodness for good sales and awesome coupon savings!!

What a great shop!

 Here’s the shopping breakdown:

  • Cream soda PM to 0.97X2=1.94
  • Orange crush PM to 0.97 x2=1.94 (used by 4 2L pop save 2.00)=1.88 for all 4 bottles
  • Fleecy on clearance for 3.00-1.00 coupon=2.00
  • Scalloped potatoes 1.67
  • Apple juice 0.88X4=3.52
  • Snack pack pudding 1.00
  • Dr Oetker pudding 0.97×2-1.94-2X0.50 coupons=.94
  • 6 pk Hawaiian punch 2.00X6=12.00-6X1.00 coupons=6.00
  • Kashi cereal 3.00X2=6.00-2X2.00 coupons=2.00
  • Dark ginger-ale 6X0.97=5.82-3X2.00 coupons= +.18
  • Bear paws PM to 1.88×2=3.76-1.00 coupon=2.76
  • Hawaiian punch bottles pm to 0.99×4=3.96-4X1.00 coupons=+.04

Total= $24.35 


Making A Difference (MAD)


Note: If you are a personal finance blogger (anywhere around the world) and would like your blog to be MAD featured simply drop me an email and I’ll explain the process to you.

This is my way of giving back to the personal finance community through networking and sharing knowledge with my fans.

Funding My Way LogoHello Mr CBB and Readers,

My name is Stephanie and I’m excited for the opportunity to tell you a bit about my blog, Funding My Way.

I am an upstate New Yorker my mid-twenties and have big goals when it comes to creating a solid financial future.

I started Funding My Way a couple months ago as a way to document and share my personal finance journey. Growing up, my parents taught me the value of hard work and the importance of making smart financial decisions.

The necessity of starting early on working toward my financial goals really hit home several years ago when I graduated from college and began earning a full-time salary (and “real life” expenses).

I set out to learn more about how to best manage my money – saving, investing, budgeting, keeping track of my spending, and more.

I write about all of any and all personal finance topics – from a deep dive into credit scores to the cost of a puppy’s first year to when it’s worth it to buy organic.

Creating a solid financial future can require significant lifestyle changes and it can be complicated and frustrating – but it’s so worth it.

My goal is to share my journey – what I’ve learned so far and what I continue to learn and experience – to provide both a resource and source of encouragement for my readers and to hold myself accountable. Anyone can do it!

I know there are many people who are currently in, or have been in, the same boat as me – working toward financial goals and making sure to enjoy life at the same time.

I want Funding My Way to be an accessible and enjoyable resource as well as a place for conversation and connection. I hope you’ll take a moment to stop by!


Top recipe


chocolate chip peanut butter cheesecake bars(1)Food  and grocery shopping is a BIG part of CBB because food is a large part of the budget which people struggle the most with.

If you are someone who would rather buy convenience meals or products consider cooking homemade meals or baking from scratch.

Not only will you save money but you will be proud of what you accomplished and you’ll see that from the smiles on those you feed.

If you don’t already know I have a second Facebook page called The Free Recipe Depot where I share recipes from other Food Bloggers from around the world.

I created this second Facebook page because I love food so much and I wanted to showcase only food 24/7 and this is where I do it.

I also share recipes on CBB once a week on Sundays either made by me or my in-house home blog cook Nicola Don!

Today you MUST check out this recipe for Chocolate Chip Peanut Butter Cheesecake Bars that Deborah has created at Taste and Tell. As you can See above these look amazing.


Editor’s Pick


Every week I will pick a blog post of the week from around the web that I found interesting and want to share with you and an Editor’s top blog post pick.

Editor’s blog post pick of the week goes to Bridget at Money after Graduation with a post titled “Pay your F#$%ing Debt“. It may seem a bit harsh but the reality is that some people need this swift kick in the butt.

Somehow they drum up excuse after excuse as to why it’s fine that they pay minimum payments and still have a cell phone, cable and internet. Bridget tells it like it is and likely why she has a big following! Enjoy the read!


Google search terms


Every week I get thousands of people visit Canadian Budget Binder because they did a search online and found my blog. Keep in mind any spelling errors below are because I share with you the exact way they typed their search engine query to land on my blog.

  • Husband spends money without thinking: Most people think “after” they buy.
  • How much money do you let your wife spend?: My allowance is $35 a month but we don’t get into the “what we let each other spend” as we both earned the money. It’s not a control situation it’s a budgeting situation.
  • Canadian Baked Rice Pudding: This is no different from rice pudding baked around the world. There’s no special potion Canadians use.
  • No I am not Guy Fieri and I don’t own a Grocery Store!

Thanks for reading The Saturday Weekend Review and Welcome to 2015 on Canadian Budget Binder!!


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  1. this is a tough subject that me and hubby have already been having conversations about. Yes we are both guilty of letting our little guy (3 years old) play with out phones when we are out. Sometimes its the only way to have peace and quiet if we need to get some shopping done. My daughter is turning 7 next months and i have already been thinking about when she should get a cellphone. She goes with her father every other weekend so it would be nice to have the opportunity to call or text her. Some of her friends already have phones and are only in grade one. Its been a tough one that i dont really want to get into yet but the times are very different now.

  2. My daughter had one of my refurbished BlackBerry devices when she was 12 years old. Back then, it was only email and BBM (BlackBerry Messenger) so that if she needed me for some reason, it was easier for her to contact me. Now that goes back to 2002. The reason that she even had one back then was I had 2 BlackBerry devices (work and personal). I don’t buy a BlackBerry device on contract but rather buy it in full for both of us at work and we share the data plan for when we are out and about. When we are at home, we use the house WIFI to cut down on the usage of mobile data plan. For 2 devices and a data plan, I spend $135.60 (including taxes).

    I understand your thoughts about technology but since the world is so involved with technology, I think that kids (and some parents) feel that they will be left behind.

  3. Our children are very young but I know this will be an issue before I know it! I like the idea of kids getting a cell phone when they can pay for it. On the safety issue, I agree that since basically everyone else has a phone, in an emergency a kid would probably be fine without one. Frankly, young adolescents and pre-teens having unfiltered access to the Internet via wifi on phones seems more dangerous than more physical safety concerns.

  4. Thankfully our 4 kids are young adults, and this doesn’t apply to us directly anymore. When the oldest child was 16, she did want a cell phone (2000), and since she had a job, she paid for it herself. Phones back then were very basic. No data, camera, text.
    During this time, computers weren’t nearly as common in a family. Usually only one, at the most. Parents were warned that if you allowed the children to use a computer, they were be put in a common room (livingroom) and not alone in their bedrooms. Parents were encouraged to monitor everything.
    Now, children are freely given access to everything, and worse…in private. Facebook and other social medias are a nightmare for many families. Cyber bullying is talked about everywhere.
    Our other children never wanted a cell phone while living at home. One of them (now 26) still doesn’t have one, by choice.

    If I was faced with this situation, as to whether we would provide a cell phone to our children, we would do the exact same thing.
    They would not have a computer in their bedroom.They would only have a cell phone (without data) if they had a job to pay for it…minimum age 16.

    My husband and I only have one cell phone, which doesn’t have text, camera, or data availability. It also stays home in Canada when we travel for 7-8 months of the year.

    I find it very disturbing to see children with cell phones.

    1. This is certainly one of those parenting topics that are divided with pros and cons. I’m with you on this one as well. Like I’ve mentioned in other replies this is the way society is teaching children they need to be. The need to have a cell phone or else they won’t be safe or popular or whatever. It’s only going to get worse because like I said to Wendy technology is and has been taking over the world. We don’t write letters any more or use the phone for that matter, we text and email. Nothing is done like it used to even at work or in the education system. Schools now have the kids buy Ipads.

  5. Speakout Wireless (through 7-Eleven) has the cheapest option for an emergency or low use phone; for as low as $25 (25 cent/minute talk) you can get minutes that will last up to ONE YEAR. They also have monthly plans that start at $20 and you can add data starting at $10/month. Because they use the Rogers network, you get coverage just about anywhere. I purchased my Rogers PayAsYouGo Nokia phone on special at Best Buy for $50 a few years ago, I popped in the Speakout SIM card, registered the phone on the website, and I was up an talking within a few hours. Petro Canada has similar plans (I think its the same company that has Speakout) but their minutes expire after 6 months. Even if you don’t have a 7-Eleven in your area, you can do everything through their website and get a phone number right across the country (I think). I don’t have data on my phone; I download free games and do my phone updates through WIFI on my wireless router at home. The only problem with an emergency phone is: #1 Not losing it (like you said) and #2 Keeping it charged at all times. Other than that, I’ve been with them for 2 1/2 years and been VERY happy.

    1. I’ve heard about 7-11 having these phones. My wife pays around $30 a month for her phone but the plan is so grandfathered I don’t know if they offer it to everyone. Thanks for all the tips for anyone who finds the post and wants to know where to find a good deal on an emergency phone. I don’t blame you. Think of the savings. I can’t warrant spending upwards of $100 a month for a smartphone with a data plan. Have a good one mate.

  6. We were forced into providing iPads for the kids at school. We have them our old ones and upgraded our own. However, they are allowed to use them for school only. And on long road trips (that’s hours not minutes!) like the drive we are on right now from Miami back to GA. That is for our sanity. When it comes to cell phones they are welcome to have one when they can buy it with their own money and pay the ongoing bill. That means they will need a job. Even if they pay for them they will still have limits. I don’t understand the whole I need to be able to call in an emergency. They are at school. If they need me they go to the office or nurse. If I need them I call the office. Maybe it’s the situations like Sandy Hook that make parents feel that way, but I don’t think it was children’s cell phones that got help. It’s a scary thing to think about but it still doesn’t make me want to buy them phones.

    1. This is the world we’ve created with technology. The generations continue to grow and we think that we NEED to have a phone. Without a phone people feel naked, alone and vulnerable. It’s a sad reality and it’s only going to get worse. They are starting the kids off as babies with these phones… this is the world we live in I’m afraid. I agree with you though.

  7. Great blog post. We bought our daughter a iPhone 5c this past christmas. She is 11 years old, but really mature. Her phone is on a two year contract, and we pay about $60 a month for it. I like the fact that we can always be checking in with her. I don’t have a problem with it as long as she’s using it properly and not abusing the data etc. if she do, she will loose her phone, no questions asked, she’s fully aware of this. Technology is definitely taking over the world. It’s ok in some cases, but when you see a family out to lunch and their all on cell phones, iPods, and I even see kids at restaurants playing on their iPad while eating… That’s too much in my opinion… There should be a limit to everything. Everyone has their own opinion on this I’m sure, to each their own. I think as long as it’s monitored by parents, and time spent on it is limited it should be ok. It’s when parents let them have it to keep them quiet, that’s where the problem is.

    1. You are right this is a parenting thing but like I mentioned kids are learning about phones from the time they are babies. Technology is taking over the world. We created the NEED to have that phone all the time. We did function without them in our lives perfectly find before BUT there is this little bit of extra security with a phone that people crave. Thanks for sharing Wendy!

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