How To Get A New Cell Phone At The Cheapest Price

In the past, you'd be lucky if a new, faster computer or cell phone came out every few years. Nowadays, a new smartphone is being released every few months. When these new models are released, stores need to lower their prices to get rid of their old phone inventory which means you can get a new phone for a fraction of what it cost just a few months ago.

If you want the latest and greatest smartphone, you could find yourself out at least a thousand dollars. That’s only if you’re paying MSRP too, as scalpers tend to make things even trickier.

Once you do have your device in hand, you still have to keep your wallet open. Flagship devices these days don’t come with chargers in the box. On top of other physical accessories like earbuds and cases, you’ll also need to pay your monthly bill and possibly device insurance.

That all will add up, but don’t worry. Saving money on a smartphone doesn’t mean buying the cheapest unit available. Here are some tips to get a fantastic device for a great price.

Watch the Timing

While prices tend to be very stable around launch days, that doesn’t stay the norm for long. With promotions, new models on the horizon, and overstock, the cost of a phone will fluctuate throughout the year. If you are willing to shop around and wait for the right deal, you could get an expensive phone at a deep discount.

Just keep in mind that these price drops might not last very long. This is especially true of the larger discounts, which may be reserved for flash sales or other short-term promotions. Also, keep your eyes on multiple retailers to ensure you secure the best deal.

Of course, it helps to know what times of the year are most likely to cause sales.

Shop During the Holidays

Everyone knows about Black Friday, but there are many other celebrations that tend to trigger low prices. Carriers and retailers alike will unleash deals around bigger holidays such as July 4th or Labor Day. There are also annual shopping events that happen at the same time every year, such as Amazon’s Prime Day or back-to-school sales in the summer.

Check Carrier Promotions

Carriers are in constant battle for new customers, and will offer attractive promotions for potential clients. They may even have deals that specifically target someone under contract with a rival to steal them away. The important thing here is to always read the fine print before signing a contract. Be aware of how or even when you receive bonuses. For instance, a lot of cashback deals pay you back in the form of bill credit over time.

Consider Unlocked

Buying an unlocked phone might seem counterintuitive to saving money, but that’s the power of flexibility. By not signing a contract with a carrier, you are free to jump ship whenever you want. That way, you can follow the best service plans for your lifestyle instead of being locked into a particular rate.

Online vs In-Store

Be aware that final prices can vary between a carrier’s website and their brick-and-mortar locations. For example, you might get a free activation by purchasing online but not have that option when buying in-person. There will also be promotional gifts or credits on the website that may not be available if you drive to the store. While this might only save you 50 dollars, every penny counts.

Get an Older Model

If you have your heart set on a particular brand, you could save big bucks by turning back the clock. Much like with car dealerships, electronic stores have to get rid of old stock to make room for the incoming models. A newly released mid-tier phone might cost as much as last year’s discounted flagship. You can use this information to your advantage by buying when they have to put the older phones on sale.

Go Refurbished

Buying a refurbished phone is not the same as buying second hand from a person. Stores will make repairs or replace the battery before listing units as refurbished. They’ll also put them through testing to make sure everything is working correctly. Most importantly, refurbs often come with warranties so that you can get another device in case something goes wrong. If you buy a used phone from a stranger, you won’t have those kinds of guarantees.

One thing to watch out for is that you are buying a model of phone that can support the carrier you are on. Look up the exact model on the internet and double check that it can connect on the appropriate band. Also, you’ll want to go through the original manufacturer or big box stores.

Trade In Value

Something that is offered at most places are trade-in promotions. By trading in your old phone, you can get credit that will go towards a new device. In general, devices by Apple, Google, and Samsung will garner the most value.

While dedicated trade-in sites aren’t as easy to use, they will generally give you more value than what you would get with a carrier. It all depends on whether ultimate savings is more important than convenience to you. It’s also important to read the fine print to see if you’ll be getting the credit in a lump sum or in installments against your monthly bill.