Tips to Save Money When Buying a Smartphone

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Tech is always a big investment, be it corporate or personal. If you're looking to upgrade your smartphone, you probably also want to save on the purchase. Here are five ways to achieve that.


Do your research

Compare the offers from different manufacturers and dealers. More often than not, you can find devices that offer basically the same capabilities at wildly different prices. The art of choosing the best smartphone comes down to getting the most bang for your buck. Shop around, ask for recommendations, and read both positive and negative reviews.

Don't be blinded by brand names, either. There are many lesser-known manufacturers offering some great devices. They usually boast quality features at much more reasonable prices. For example, give a chance to ZTE, Oppo, or such before you jump to Samsung or iPhone.

Once you have an idea of the make and model you want, start comparing dealerships. Most of the time, a device manufacturer will partner with a few different carriers to distribute their product. These dealers will put different prices on the phones, based on their own location, market, etc. Don't buy until you're sure you found the best deal available.




Compare features

This ties into the overall research, but is important on its own. Modern smartphones come with a plethora of features and it's easy to get overwhelmed. Take a critical look at what each model boasts. The catch with features is that they all sound nice, but may just take up space. In other words, they are a waste of your funds. Why pay for something you don't need and will never use? Make a list of features you want in your new smartphone.

What do you absolutely require? What do you need, but could do without in a pinch? What types of apps do you use most frequently and what does your device need for them to run smoothly? The newest models often include fun and enjoyable features. They can also often turn irritating. Forgo anything that will just take up valuable memory and battery. Remember, at the end of the day, you are purchasing a tool. Always prioritize functionality over cosmetics.


Renting vs. purchase

Did you know that you can save even more by renting a device? Let's say you decide to save on brand names and look to buy Oppo mobile phones online instead of going to a brick-and-mortar Apple dealership.

See with the dealers you're considering if they do phone rentals. Some will let you rent a device for a set period of time (usually six months to a year). After the time is up, you can choose to either buy the phone or rent a different one.

If you are happy with the rental, you can usually buy it before the rent period is up. But, in case you decide that it isn't working for you after all, you won't be wasting money on a suboptimal model.




Sell your old phone

You can indirectly reduce the amount you spend on the new phone if you sell the old one. Many of us keep our old devices “just in case”. It's okay to want a backup or to hand the old phone down to someone who also needs a replacement.

However, consider how realistic your “just in case” is. Does someone need your old phone right now or is it a “well they might some day” case? Do you really need a backup device if you buy a fully functioning better one?Your old phone still has some monetary value; take advantage of that. If there is physical damage or system faults, fix them first.

The better the condition your old device is in, the higher the price you can put on it. You can list it on a website dedicated to selling second-hand tech, in social media groups, or on a general sellers' site like Craigslist. Just remember to stay safe from fraud. Scrub the phone clean of all your data before you go looking for a buyer.


Buy unlocked devices

Unlocked phones are not restricted to a single service provider. Buying a new device from a carrier often means that it can only be used on their network. This costs you more because you're bound to a potentially suboptimal contract.

With unlocked phones, you're free to change carriers to anyone whose network is compatible. That way, you don't have to buy a new one every time you switch service providers. It also saves you money if you travel and your “native” carrier doesn't service your destination.

You can save quite a bit on a new smartphone if you're clever about it. Shop around between dealers and manufacturers. Have a clear idea of what features you really want vs. what would be a waste of money. Sell your old device to recoup some funds, and look into phone renting and unlocked phones to save in the long-term.


By Brigitte Evans

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