How to Find a Smartphone on a Budget
Buy a bargain phone
Despite what marketing departments want you to believe, most people simply don’t need the processing power and high-end features of flagship phones sold by Apple, Samsung, and Google. While you can buy these phones – which hover around the $1,000 mark – on monthly payment plans, those are not your only options. Save yourself $30 – $50 a month by choosing a totally capable, low-cost smartphone.
Manufacturers, such as Motorola and LG, have a great line-up of inexpensive, good-quality phones. For example, Motorola’s Moto phones have the look and feel of higher-end phones, boasting aluminum bodies, fingerprint scanners, and water-resistance – for well under $200.
Buy an iPhone for less
For some of us, brand loyalty or ecosystem lock-in mean we really want that iPhone, but without the $1,000 price tag. The good news is there are ways to get a high-end Apple phone for a reasonable price. Whether you’re trying to get out of debt, or simply can’t justify spending four figures on the newest item, there are still options for you.
Buy last year’s model
Apple often knocks $100 off the price of last year’s model when it releases its new phone each September. With the launch of the $999 iPhone X, an iPhone 7 now sells for $449, and an iPhone 8 for $599. Apple is known for extending support for its older phones for a few years (the 5-year-old iPhone 5s is still upgradable to iOS 12), so you can feel confident that your phone will be supported.
Apple sells refurbished phones at a reduced-price on their website. Refurbished generally means it was opened and returned, so can’t be sold as new. The discount is around $100 – $200 off the full price, and there is limited choice, but the phone will come with the manufacturer’s full warranty.
Consider a second-hand phone
Buying second-hand electronics is fraught with concerns. Are you getting a stolen device? Will it work properly? What happens if it breaks a week after you buy it? Thankfully, services such as Gazelle have emerged to help address some of these concerns. If saving a lot of money outweighs these potential issues for you, then this is the best option for buying a smartphone on a budget. Consider these reputable sites when buying your new-to-you phone:
- Swappa is an Android-based phone buying site. The seller sets the price and the buyer pays a small fee (around $20) to Swappa. All sales are through PayPal, giving the buyer some protection, but there is no warranty.
- Gazelle buys phones from sellers, inspects them to make sure they’re in working order, and then sells them to you along with a 30-day guarantee. Financing is also available.
- eBay, the online auction site, is full of people selling used (and new) smartphones. This is going to be the best option for finding a real deal, however although eBay offers a guarantee for anything bought on its site, the resolution process can be complicated, and it’s not risk free.
Be smart when buying your next smartphone and don’t feel pressured to buy the latest and greatest. These tips can help you find a device that fits your needs as well as your budget.
Author Bio: Jennifer Pattison Tuohy is a freelance writer and contributor for Xfinity Mobile. She covers the intersection of sustainability and technology and writes for a variety of newspapers, magazine, and other online publications.