There comes a time in life when you need a new mobile phone. This may be prompted out of need (i.e. your existing phone has broken and needs replacing), or it may be because… well… new phones are incredibly exciting. Few among us would be able to resist the lure of a shiny new phone full of new-to-us features, so you head to browse handsets with an excited gleam in your eye.
There’s just one downside: mobile phones are expensive. Modern phones have prices more akin to a laptop than the mobile phones of old; such is the price of technological advancement. As a result, you may want to buy a new phone, but you also don’t have a king’s ransom to spend— so how can you save yourself some cash?
Read on to find out…
Buy the handset independently
This option is going to require some startup capital, but if you can, it’s definitely an option to consider. Many of us now cover the cost of a new handset with a contract that covers both the cost of the phone and the cost of the usage plan, which seems like a sensible way of spreading the cost.
However, in most cases, if you choose to buy a new phone in this manner, you’re almost certainly going to be overcharged.
- Inspect the contract to see exactly how much you’re being charged for the phone on a monthly basis, and how much for the usage contract.
- Multiply the monthly cost of the phone by the length of the contract (which is primarily 24 months) to find the full figure you’ll be paying for the phone only.
- Compare this amount to the purchase price of the same handset if bought without a contract.
- In almost every case, you’re going to pay more, and you’re going to be paying more for two years.
As a result, if you want to save money on your new phone purchase, buying the handset upfront and then opting for a SIM only deal for usage might be the best bet. You can compare SIM only deals here, and then use price comparison sites to buy the handset itself for the lowest price possible.
Use the “latest but one” strategy
If you don’t have the funds for a full upfront cost of the latest handset, then opting for the “latest but one” strategy could be a useful way to save yourself some cash. This strategy is exactly as it sounds: you opt for the latest model, but one. So if the latest model is the Samsung S8, then you look to buy the S7.
The reason for this is simple: when something is new, the novelty and interest pushes the price to maximum levels. When a device is then replaced by a newer version, the price crashes. Given that the changes between phone versions are relatively small these days, the latest-but-one strategy still allows you to get almost all the latest tech, but for a substantially reduced price.
Wait for three months after the phone is released
If you’re only willing to settle for the very latest handset, then your best bet is to wait for three months after the phone is first released.
Three months might seem like a lifetime but, in financial terms, it’s a period worth waiting. As we’ve discussed, phones are at their most expensive when they are newly released. If you can wait just three months after the release date, the price should have begun to drop to a more affordable level.
Companies literally bank on customers wanting the newest phone as soon as possible when they set their price. They know they will need to lower the price when the initial buzz dies down, and they plot their financial management accordingly. If you buy a new phone close to its release date, then you’re essentially going to be paying a premium for being — for want of a better word — impatient. If you can make yourself wait for just 12 weeks or so, then the price will plummet, and become far more suitable to your budget as a result.
Mobile phones are expensive, but they can be a little more reasonably-priced if you apply one of the ideas above. As you can see from the above, the worst thing you can do, money-wise, is to buy a phone on a contract on the very first day of its release— if you can avoid this, then you should be able to save yourself a small fortune.