Frugal Friday: Do You Suffer From Nomophobia?

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Happy Friday everyone! With Labor Day on Monday, many of us here in the States are on our way to enjoying a long weekend. I think this will be a working weekend for us as we’re still recovering from family being here last week and have my youngest brother coming to visit on the back half of this weekend.

With it being a holiday weekend, I thought I’d go a little more light with today’s post and not talk about money. I know, gasp! I read an interesting article this week on Yahoo Finance which turned into me reading a number of other articles on something that apparently is plaguing our society – nomophobia. What is nomophobia, you ask? Well, this was the first I heard of it and was somewhat amused by it, though I do think it’s an issue some deal with.

Nomophobia is the fear or anxiety of either misplacing one’s smartphone, running out of battery or being in a place that has no cell coverage. At first, I thought, come on, isn’t calling the loss of your smartphone a “Phobia” exaggerating, at least a little bit? After some light reading I was surprised to see that it is a genuine fear people are gripped by. Many articles I read pointed to a recent study done in the UK which stated that 73 percent of the people polled said they would feel panicked in that situation and 6% would feel relieved. I could not find any statistics for studies done here in the States, but can only imagine that they would be along those same lines, if not worse. What are some of the symptoms of Nomophobia, I’m glad you asked. Following are some of the symptoms of this sweeping epidemic and my personal dealings with them:

  • Constantly checking – ok, I am guilty of that one at times.
  • Taking it to the bathroom – One word, sick!
  • Feeling anxious when you don’t have it – I am anxious about very few things and the location of my phone is not one of them.
  • You’re not listening – I take the Fifth on this one…after all Mrs. Frugal Rules is my editor. 😉
  • Using it during…ahem…those intimate times – Uh, let me think here, Heck NO!
  • Texting while driving – sorry my eyes are on the road.

All joking aside, do we really think nomophobia is an issue and one that people need help with? I could be jaded and say this is all malarkey and that people need to get over it. However, there is more than one side to this issue. Speaking personally, I know that we use our smartphones all the time for business. We use it to respond to emails from clients, do work for clients, update the blog and during meetings. Sure we could use a computer, but the thing is that the smartphone makes it so darn convenient to accomplish many of these tasks on the fly.

Mrs. Frugal Rules enjoys listening to music and tracking her route with her running app when she goes out for a long run and thinks it’s awesome that she can tell her phone to text me. That said, we run a small business and know there are business owners who use their devices much more than we do and who are much more constrained for time as a result. This can only further nurture that felt need to constantly be on a smartphone and thus it feeds itself. We can see this with the growth of camps (yes camps) which are devoted to helping people cut the digital cord and spend several days away from any electrical devices. I look at this and see the numbers listed in the Yahoo Finance article and think we may be just seeing the start of this so-called nomophobia.

Of the approximately 5 billion cell phone users worldwide, only 1 billion of them have smartphones. As their use becomes more widespread I imagine the fear of being without them will rise as well. As an aside, if you want a chuckle, take a look at the two minute long movie in the article. It has supposedly had over 8 million views on You Tube and it gives a little insight into what things look like in a smartphone driven environment – eye opening to say the least.

It has been another great week in the blogosphere. If you have the time this weekend, check out some of my favorite blog posts from the past week.


Blog Post of the Week

Terrible Emergency Fund Advice From A Banker on Plunged In Debt

After my post last week on Mrs. Frugal Rules’ experience in our bank I had to highlight this one from Catherine. Catherine shares a seemingly normal experience depositing her paycheck at her bank recently. Not only did the teller try to give back $100 in cash she did not ask for, but pitched her a credit card as well. I know that she likely gets some sort of perk for selling the card, but the reason given as to why they’re “needed” is because no one puts money away any more for emergencies because that’s “why we invented credit cards.” I know that the emergency fund issue is a debatable one, but how helpful is it for a society struggling with financial literacy when those working in banks pitch credit cards as an alternative to planning for emergencies?

Other Blog Posts That Ruled


What is Your 5 Year Plan? on Monster Piggy Bank

Can You Recognize a Scam on Eyes On The Dollar

George Zimmerman Accidentally Teaches Money Lessons on Stacking Benjamins

You can also check out a post I wrote over at – How to Avoid Getting into Debt Again

Odd Search Terms


People without retirement savings…Better get started!

500 frugal money saving tips…That’s A LOT of tips!

Can I swipe my credit card…Go right ahead!

How bad are the Walmart chicken burgers for you…I wouldn’t even begin to guess!

How to not scratch my head…Can I suggest some Head & Shoulders?!

Is it proper to say I graduated college…Did you get your piece of paper?

The last time I ate…I was hungry!


What do you think about Nomophobia? Do you “suffer’ from it, or do you think it’s all much ado about nothing? Do you have anything fun planned for this weekend?



Photo courtesy of: TheeErin

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I'm the founder of Frugal Rules, a Dad, husband and veteran of the financial services industry. I'm passionate about helping people learn from my mistakes so that they can enjoy the freedom that comes from living frugally. I'm also a freelance writer, and regularly contribute to GoBankingRates, Investopedia, Lending Tree and more.

Latest posts by John Schmoll (see all)


  • Thomas | Your Daily Finance says:

    The phone during sex…thats crazy. Funny but crazy…poor guy who looks up to see his girl or wife on the phone during those times. I must admit my phone and laptop are usually not far from me at all times. That text while driving pisses me off though. Too many lives being lost to say WTF or LMAO…cmon – that would deserve a rant post. lol

    Thanks for the mention John! Have a great weekend!

  • Honestly if I don’t have my phone by me when I’m away from home I feel like something is out of place. I don’t think it’s necessarily some sort of phobia, but I definitely fear misplacing my phone because I depend on it so much.

    Hope you guys don’t have to work TOO much this weekend. I am going to try to take Monday off from commenting and whatnot.

    • John says:

      I sort of feel the same way DC. I am not fearful, by any means, but I use mine for so much.

      I think we should be able to get most of it done tomorrow. I think I’ll be taking Monday off as well and just have an infographic going up.

  • Pauline says:

    Nope, I don’t even have a smart phone, but I feel naked if I don’t take my laptop everywhere I go. Not for a 2 hour coffee date but overnight you can be sure I do.

  • I don’t have a phobia about it but I do hate being out and about without my phone. Not to worry about checking Twitter or Facebook, just that I will need the phone in case of an emergency. Enjoy your working weekend!

  • I agree with Thomas about the texting while driving. That’s one instance in which I could be turned into a road rage girl. The more I hear about people’s obsessions with their Smart Phones, the more happy I am that I don’t have one. So many people waste huge amounts of hours on them doing unnecessary stuff!

  • Alexa says:

    I hate cellphones. You could say that I am very unattached. I don’t understand how people get these obsessions yet I see it every day. While I think nomophobia is stupid I do think it can be real.

  • Ahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh!!! I totally have nomophobia! And, I lose my phone ALL THE TIME. My kids will hide it in their playroom. They think it’s funny!

    • John says:

      Ha ha, our 18 month old does the same freaking thing. He’s gotten tall enough that he can reach it on the counter. Then we can never find the stupid thing.

  • Matt Becker says:

    I’m definitely trying to cut back on the amount of cell phone usage. Far too much checking things without actually being productive. My best move so far has been putting my phone away when I get home from work so I don’t have it as a distraction from time with my wife and son. Removing it from the equation is really helpful. Have a great weekend John!

  • Whenever I realize I can’t find my phone, I do feel anxious and stressed until I find it again – but only because the thing costs me money every month! Not to mention, we don’t have a landline, just cell phones, so if anyone needs to reach me in an emergency or for something urgent I need to at least be able to hear my phone. So when I have no idea where it is, yes, I do feel anxious because I start thinking, “What if something happened and no one can get hold of me?” or, “Did I just forget where I put it or did I actually leave it at the restaurant and now I’m going to have to buy a new one?” But I can happily say that anxiety when I’m not sure where my phone is (and I think that’s different than being anxious just because I’m away from it) is the only thing on that list that I experience! The rest.. well, I’ll just say I feel sad for those folks who suffer from nomophobia.

  • Joshua @ CNA says:

    Hey John, very interesting post here to say the least, I loved it! I hate cell phones, I don’t bring mine to work or really anywhere else. The only time it leaves the house is when I’m going to be gone for a full day or more. I don’t know what it is about a cell phone that bothers me but, I just don’t like them!

    • John says:

      Thanks Josh! Sounds like some of your thoughts need to rub off on some others.

      • Joshua @ CNA says:

        Hey John, thanks for the response. You know, I used to argue that cell phones would ruin human communication and, these days, I think they’re doing a great job of it. For instance, take the average kid that’s left high school a year ago and ask them to write a paragraph. Most likely, you get abbreviated words, bad spelling and horrible communication skills…thanks text messaging! Also, talk to someone who texts a lot and you get strange abbreviations mid conversation! Uggghhh!

        • John says:

          I think you’re spot on Josh…actually I know you are. I’ve seen it myself. I think it’s a combination of what’s being taught and mainly how a lot of people communicate now that texting is so prevalent.

  • Now, that is not what I was expecting as the definition. I actually look forward to times when I don’t have service. I hope people know that you can still call 911 if your phone doesn’t have service. It is a requirement. I kind of like disconnecting time and time again.

    • John says:

      I wasn’t either. I am working on unplugging and my wife has been a good help towards that end. The incessant going off of my phone can make it easier to want to unplug.

  • anna says:

    I’m guilty of constantly checking it and getting anxious if I forget to bring it with me, but that’s pretty much it. I know this probably sounds gym-elitist, but my pet peeve is when I can hear your phone conversation at the gym or locker room – why do people talk so loud and about pretty personal things?! That was cruel, btw, by not only saying how you two met is a long story, but you threw in Florida in the mix – whaaa?! 🙂 Have a nice weekend!

    • John says:

      I know, I feel the same way. If I wanted to be a part of the conversation I would’ve asked.

      Lol, sorry about being cruel. 😉 I was being honest though, it is a very long story…I know I am not helping myself here. 🙂

  • I am afraid of losing my phone because it’s usually in my purse, and I’ve left that all over the place. (Don’t ask). I think we use them way too much, but I don’t know what the alternative is, going back to writing letters? Thanks for the mention, and have a great weekend.

  • I’ve witnessed people dissolve into a near panic attack upon realizing they didn’t have their smartphone on their person. Strange, very strange, me thinks.

  • Can’t say that I have that problem as I don’t have a cell phone HOWEVER the wife got water on her cell 2 days ago and it was the end of the world. Now she wants a smart phone… lol.. I told her to just get it. She says that her phone is not serving her needs any longer lol. It’s only $30 more.. ah well. It’s up to her. Have a great weekend mate

    • John says:

      That’s not too bad being only being $30 more…as long as she keeps water out of this one. 😉 You have a good one as well my friend!

  • I think I have nomophobia, but it’s only because I *need* to check my phone (almost) everytime for work.

  • I’m not familiar with nomophobia but I believe it exists (and possibly suffer from a few symptoms). 🙂 I have a love/hate relationship with my smartphone. I love the convenience and freedom it gives me. But it always means I’m “on”. It can be distracting, annoying and immensely useful! You have a great holiday weekend!

  • I have a mild case of nomophobia. I almost always have my phone on me and even take it to the bathroom (kindle on the iphone, gotta get my reading time in!).

    Thanks for giving me a shout out, John!

  • Kendal says:

    I watched a segment on 60 minutes about this, and they tried to test it out on teenagers. They asked them to go without their smartphones for just 24 hours, and some of them couldn’t swing it after just an hour or so. I personally find this “syndrome” appalling — it seems ridiculous! I once left my smartphone at the news station, an hour’s drive from my office. When I realized my mistake I asked the producer to just hold onto it until my next segment which occurred about two weeks later. She was aghast that I could be without my smartphone for that long and not go into panic mode. I thought, really? Great post, John!

    • John says:

      I’ve heard about that segment. While I can understand how/why someone who runs a business or something like that would “need” to be on their phone a lot, I think there is a fine balance – especially if just for leisure.

  • Mackenzie says:

    I always learn something new from you John! 🙂 I check my phone quite a lot, but being fearful if it’s not within my reach? Umm, no. Have a great weekend!!!!

    • John says:

      Thanks Mackenzie, I take that as a compliment. 🙂 I know, I think it’s a bit crazy to be fearful because it’s out of reach. You have a good one as well!

  • Savvy Scot says:

    Hahaha this is brilliant. I do feel like if my phone is not with me then I am missing out. It is almost as if the lack of connectivity feeling to my brain is equivalent to the no signal to the phone! Quite sad really

  • I don’t think I suffer too much. The only thing I get annoyed with is if I misplaced it and can’t figure out where it went. It’s hard to believe 15 years ago we lived just fine without smart phones. I mean you’d think that was the dark ages or something. Crazy!

    • John says:

      I know, right? I still remember getting cordless phones for the first time and thinking it was SO cool. Now we don’t even have a landline.

  • Catherine says:

    Aww thanks so much John! I feel special 🙂 I\m glad the dumb-ass teller was able to give me some good writing material eh?

    As for the smartphone. can I have borderline nonophobia? The thought of being away from my phone, or it dying gives me heart palpitations. My LIFE is in this thing! I have taken it to the bathroom, it’s with me in my operatory at work and I usually attached an my extra appendage. I do not text and drive though!

    • John says:

      I know, it’s funny how the most mundane exchanges can result in a good post!

      I think my wife would say my phone is my extra appendage as well. I can live without it, but it does make things so much more convenient.

  • AverageJoe says:

    I can’t believe how much I rely on my cell phone now….and I promised myself that I wouldn’t be “that guy.” However, with an app for the weather, another for my favorite baseball team, Flipboard, my brokerage account and texting…..I think I may be next in line for professional help!

    Thanks for linking to my Zimmerman piece! Often people don’t recognize it when they have a horrible problem, like walking into gun factories and having your picture taken just after your “trial of the year.”

    • John says:

      I know, I feel the same way Joe. I used to laugh at people like that and then I became one of them. My wife has made that suggestion of needing help more than a few times. 🙂

      Not a problem on the link. We all have something we may not be the best in, but he takes the cake!

  • Nomophobia – I bet I do “suffer” from it. I have panic attacks when I lose my phone. It’s more because it’s expensive and we don’t have a house phone, so that’s it. I don’t use it all the time like some of the people in my generation, though I do find it convenient.

  • The idea of cutting the cord for a few days really appeals to me! That might be a good challenge for a few days but I’d rather not go too much longer than that!

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