Can you use coupons or get discounts when buying a smartphone? This is the number one question asked by those who would like to save money when purchasing this oh-so-necessary device. In today’s tech-obsessed world, almost everyone cannot live without a smartphone because they use it for calling, texting, browsing, sending e-mail messages, taking pictures, organizing their day, and performing a whole lot of other functionalities.
If you want to do all these yet still save money when buying a smartphone, what are you supposed to do? That is exactly what we will learn more about here.
A Preview of the Sales of Smartphones in the US
Before dishing out the frugal ways to buy a smartphone, let us first take a quick look at the way that the gadget performs in the US in terms of sales. According to Statista.com:
- In February 2013, 51.7% of smartphone subscribers were using a Google Android device while Apple’s popular smartphone has 38.95 of the market share.
- Android is the most used operating system in the world, with a market share of 81.1% during the first quarter of 2014. For August 2014, Apple’s iOS had a 42% market share for the same category.
- For 2014, the total sales value of smartphones in different parts of the world are as follows (in million US dollars):
- 99 = China
- 8 = North America
- 8 = Western Europe
- 4 = Middle East and Africa
- 1 = Developed APAC
- 4 = Latin America
- 4 = Emerging APAC
- 2 = Central and Eastern Europe
Furthermore, in an article published by Forbes entitled “The Real Cost of a Smartphone”, it shows that in the US, the average price for unlocked premium phones is $585, while carrier-locked devices can set subscribers back as much as $578. The high-end phones naturally cost more, while the average price for unlocked ‘cheap’ smartphones is $398 and carrier-locked phones are around $478.
Save Money when Buying Smartphones with these Top 10 Tips
The good thing about buying a smartphone is that you have an all-in-one device that fits the palm of your hand. Instead of carrying a separate mobile phone, digital camera, electronic organizer, calendar, watch, and MP3 player, you can simply use your smartphone. You can even use it as a more convenient substitute for your laptop or desktop computer because you can e-mail and browse the Internet using your smartphone.
So what are the top ten frugal ways for you to buy a smartphone? Take a look at the following tips:
1. Buy a smartphone directly from the manufacturer.
If you have a smartphone brand that you’re particularly loyal to, you might save money by purchasing a unit directly from the manufacturer. An iPhone from the Apple Store or an HTC One X from their official websites are typically sold on a SIM-free basis. Although purchasing a smartphone directly from a manufacturer may look expensive at first – there are additional perks like having twice the amount of storage, getting straightforward support, being assured of returns and the trustworthiness of the brand.
2. Purchase from an online retailer.
Just like pretty much everything else under the sun, you can buy a smartphone from an online retailer. Some of the most popular and not-so-well-known, but equally trustworthy sites, are Amazon, Play, John Lewis, Clove, Expansys, and Handtec. Buying smartphones online is an excellent way to save money, especially if you have online coupons, vouchers or codes for discounts. You can go comparison shopping and online retailers usually offer cheaper prices than other sources of mobile phones. The main draw is the competition between these third-party retailers, and the fact that you can compare prices, as well as features, will help you decide which unit will give you the best value for your money, with dozens of options, to boot.
3. Get a unit from a mobile operator.
Buying directly from the manufacturer or an online retailer are only applicable if you would like to have a SIM-free handset. However, if you want to purchase a unit while also paying for a plan, you can simply get a smartphone from a mobile operator. Most carriers offer free handsets along with their plans, although the downside is that you might be forced to agree to a lengthy two-year contract.
To save money when buying a mobile phone this way, make sure to compare the contract, price, and coverage. In the US, the “Big Four” carriers are AT&T, Verizon, Sprint and T-Mobile. There are plenty of sources online which compares the plans typically offered by these four mobile phone carriers which you can use as reference when deciding which plan and smartphone unit to get. Aside from the Big Four, there are smaller carriers that you might also want to consider including Boost Mobile, Cricket, MetroPCS and Virgin Mobile.
4. Choose the right operating system for your mobile phone handling needs.
More than just saving money when buying a smartphone, you’d want to get a unit that exactly suits your needs as a mobile phone user. One of the most important things to consider for this is the right operating system. With Blackberry struggling in the market, your top three picks are Android, iOS or Windows Phone operating systems.
Google’s Android is the most popular smartphone platform which gives you many advantages. However, if you’re an Apple loyalist, you might want to go with the iOS platform. For those who would like to try something new, there’s the Windows Phone platform to consider as well.
5. Save money by not overpaying on mobile phone plans.
If you’re a texter instead of a caller, choose a mobile phone plan which includes unlimited SMS. If you frequently call your contacts, look for a plan which has plenty of minutes for your monthly usage. If you don’t use mobile browsing that much, you don’t have to pay extra for unlimited data. Remember that in order for you to have a frugal mobile phone plan, you simply need to pay for the features that you frequently use and actually need – so you don’t have to pay extra
6. Know when to get the best smartphone deals.
Apple, Samsung, Motorola and Sony phones usually introduce new smartphones during the month of September. Just remember that carriers will usually push for you to sign two-year contracts to get the latest smartphone unit from specific manufacturers. If you wait three or six months after the latest Samsung mobile phone is released in the market, you can definitely get it at a lower price.
7. Consider an installment or a family plan.
Ask your carrier about installment plan options to save money when buying a smartphone. Most offer plans where you will pay off the value of your new device in monthly installments in exchange for a two-year contract. Just make sure that there are no activation or upgrade fees. Mobile carriers also offer family plans where the cost of each line is cheaper than individual line plans. The more family members you have, the cheaper each line becomes.
8. Don’t pay for features that you do not necessarily need.
If you don’t even have an Instagram account and you do not take tons of selfies, you might want to skip on that amazing phone which has a 20-megapixel camera. To save money, skip the features that you do not necessarily use but will be paying more for in the long run. If you’re a photography buff, you wouldn’t mind paying extra for features like a mode that filters out photobombers from your images, or things like optical image stabilization.
9. Never settle for a phone with low battery life.
There’s no sense in having tons of GB of data in your mobile browsing plan if your phone’s juice will give out after barely 24 hours. To get the best value for your money, check how much juice your smartphone will provide in one charge. A good standard to look for is a smartphone with 3,000 mAh of battery life, which will give you more than 13 hours of power. The average phone lasts for six hours and forty-six minutes, so anything below that will not give you the best bang for your buck.
10. Recycle your old smartphone.
Finally, consider recycling your old smartphone. If you simply want to upgrade and the old phone that you have is still in good condition, trade it through sites like Glyde, Gazelle, NextWorth and even Amazon.com. Manufacturers like Apple and retailers like Best Buy, Walmart and Target also offer gift cards in exchange for old devices like smartphones.
This is the best way to dispose of old electronics properly while getting perks for yourself at the same time. There are also trade-in deals that you can consider agreeing to, where you can get anywhere from $100 to $300, depending on the brand of smartphone that you have.
As you can see, there are plenty of frugal ways for you to buy a smartphone. This handy piece of technology is definitely something that most people cannot live without. But just because it’s a necessity does not mean that you have to pay luxury prices for it. With these tips, you can save money when buying a smartphone.