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You want to upgrade your cell phone, but a quick browse of current prices has left you disappointed. Somehow, you just don’t have enough money, and feel priced out of the market. But don’t throw in the towel just yet!

While mainstream suppliers of smartphones peddle overpriced gear, various other retailers have their own thing going on: low-cost cell phone deals for brand-new devices that are aren’t the newest, but will handily get the job done. And if you do want a flagship device, these can invariably be bought for significantly less than the marked price.

It’s all a matter of finding the deals — which is why we’ve decided to share with you just where you can pick up a good deal on new smartphones that won’t break the bank.

What You Should Expect

If you have the funds for a top-of-the-range flagship phone, skip this section. If, however, you don’t, but desire such a device, then you should give yourself an immediate reality check. While we’re going to share with you some good sites, they generally offer deals on cell phones that are a little older than what you might have in mind.

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As such, you should temper your expectations slightly. While the devices on sale might well have good cameras, 4G mobile Internet, perhaps even bells and whistles like thumbprint scanners and SD card Your Next Phone Needs a MicroSD Card Slot -- Here's Why Your Next Phone Needs a MicroSD Card Slot -- Here's Why Some popular phones don't have microSD card slots -- but a lot still do, and you need one! Read More support, they probably don’t offer encryption, a 4K video camera, or the latest in display technology. Your gaming expectations might also be need to be factored down slightly.

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On the whole, however, you will find usable smartphones that will fulfill all but the most extreme expectations.

Contract or Unlocked?

Whether you’re looking for a flagship or midrange device, you need to decide on whether you’re looking for a one-off purchase or an ongoing relationship with monthly payments. While $50 a month might sound more affordable than $500, the latter would be a one-off payment, and cheaper over the course of an 18- or 24-month contract.

Meanwhile, an unlocked phone Never Buy a Phone From Your Carrier! Buy Unlocked Phones and Save Hundreds Never Buy a Phone From Your Carrier! Buy Unlocked Phones and Save Hundreds Never buy a smartphone from a carrier—ever. Most consumers don't know that they can purchase their phones from retailers and pay less than if they did from the carrier. The key word that you're looking... Read More gives you the flexibility of shopping around for a service plan that suits your budget. While many networks ship devices for the full price, contract-free, they’re often not unlocked, which means that you will have to pay to unlock the handset to use the SIM card from another network. This makes networks a less-than-ideal option unless you’re already happy with the service they offer.

Perhaps the best source of unlocked phones is Amazon, so if you’re looking for top-end phones, this is probably the place to start. You can expect to save up to 30% on new models, and that’s before Amazon introduces any of its own discounts.

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You see, Amazon has an almost pathological hatred of selling items at full price, and every few weeks seems to offer a whole host of discounts. Among these cut price items, available for just a few days (or even hours), you will invariably find unlocked smartphones of good quality, reduced to an affordable level or offering cashback.

But it doesn’t end there. Amazon can be tough to search given the vast size of its inventory. Fortunately, various tools are available for you to use to quickly interrogate the database and hopefully find the phone you’re looking for. In the US, use Jungle-Search.com to do this, while in the UK, MoneySavingExpert’s Amazon Discount Finder does the same sort of thing.

You’d be hard pushed not to find an affordable option on Amazon!

Check Offline Deals

Before we start sharing website links, you need to consider your local brick-and-mortar stores. Various hypermarkets and supermarkets now offer low- and mid-range smartphones, typically limited in dimensions and camera quality but otherwise offering a good mobile experience.

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Stores with customer loyalty programs in particular may offer enhanced discounts to cardholding members (though beware of the privacy implications How Marketers Track Your Behaviors When You're Offline How Marketers Track Your Behaviors When You're Offline Did you know that marketers and retailers are monitoring what you do offline, as well as online? Here are some of the interesting strategies they use to connect your online and offline lives. Read More ), a points collection scheme, or discount vouchers in magazine or newspaper ads.

However, if these stores don’t offer a price that you’re comfortable with — and you should never spend more than you can afford! — then it might be preferable to check some of the local pawn shops, or the hardware exchange section of your local video game retailer. Again, prices here may not suit you, but if you have something at home to exchange (such as your old phone) then you may be able to get the price reduced to a more appropriate level.

Finding The Best Online Cell Phone Deals

For remarkable deals on phones of all price points and specifications, you need to track down dedicated discount sites. One such example is BensBargains.com, where you’ll find a combination of discounts, coupons, and price comparison. Once you’ve found the phone (or tablet) you want, click the link to the vendor’s website and complete the purchase, ensuring that the discount is applied.

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Along similar lines is BradsDeals.com, where the latest manufacturer and network deals can be picked up. At the time of writing, the site lists an offer for new customers to get two Samsung Galaxy S7s for the price of one.

Cell Phone Price Comparison Sites

Price comparison websites 7 Price Comparison Websites You Should Bookmark Right Now 7 Price Comparison Websites You Should Bookmark Right Now Price comparison websites help you find the item you want at the lowest price possible. Read More have taken off in the past few years, offering everything from the best prices on mortgages to car insurance. So you should not be surprised to learn that you can also use price comparison sites to get the best price on a new phone.

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Two sites are worth your immediate attention. WhistleOut.com (which also has UK and Australian sites) enables you to set the number of call time minutes, mobile data, and text messages you want to have in your contract, along with the type of phone. You’ll then be provided with a list of results and passed to the network retailer that fits your requirements.

If you want to purchase a phone outright, meanwhile, this is also an option. WireFly.com offers a similar service.

Auction Sites

Whether you use eBay (and if you are, beware of the various security concerns New EBay Security Breach: Time To Reconsider Your Membership? New EBay Security Breach: Time To Reconsider Your Membership? Buyers shopping for new iPhones have found themselves scammed by criminals employing a cross site scripting vulnerability on eBay listings. Find out how to avoid being caught out by the security weakness. Read More ) or one of several eBay alternatives Fed Up With eBay? Here Are Some Worthy (And Cheaper) Alternatives For Sellers Fed Up With eBay? Here Are Some Worthy (And Cheaper) Alternatives For Sellers When you want to sell your excess junk online, where do you go? For most people, the one and only answer is eBay. With millions of daily users, it only seems logical to use the... Read More , there is a good chance that you will find a cell phone in good condition, or even new, and at an affordable price. The trick, of course, is in winning it (Buy it Now auctions notwithstanding)!

If you do opt to shop for a cell phone on an auction site, make sure that the item you’re bidding on is in top condition. Often low-priced options are damaged, a fact only mentioned in the description and not the item title. Use all of the best tricks and tips on eBay 10 Tips to Shop on eBay Like a Boss 10 Tips to Shop on eBay Like a Boss These 10 eBay tips will help you optimize your searching and bidding to save you a lot of money on the items you're looking for. Read More to get the item you want for the price you want without being stung by deceitful sellers.

We’ve given you great options to find the best cell phone deals both online and off. Have you used any of these options to get a cheap smartphone? Perhaps you know of other tricks? Tell us about it in the comments.

Image Credits: PureSolution via Shutterstock, aodaodaodaod via Shutterstock.

  1. ChrisM
    March 29, 2016 at 2:54 pm

    If you know what you're looking for (specifications, not brand) and can wait for sloooooow delivery, there are really cheap phones at everbuying.net.

  2. Eric Stoick
    March 29, 2016 at 12:15 pm

    Check out Swappa.com. Used phones at decent prices and no broken phones, they have a separate site for that. It is easy to filter the results and you can negotiate the price, you have to create an account and log in to do that.

    • Christian Cawley
      March 29, 2016 at 12:41 pm

      Great link, thanks Eric!

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