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.
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 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.
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 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.
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.
Stores with customer loyalty programs in particular may offer enhanced discounts to cardholding members (though beware of the privacy implications), 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.
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 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.
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.
Whether you use eBay (and if you are, beware of the various security concerns) or one of several eBay alternatives, 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 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.