If you still have a cell phone that looks like the one Zack Morris pulled out in the middle of class in that Saved by the Bell episode, you should probably think about upgrading. However, new cell phones can be expensive. Even if you’re willing to sign up for a new plan to get big bucks off the sticker price, you can still spend hundreds of dollars on a smart phone. However, just like anything else, there is a smart way to shop for cell phones, and if you practice some smart shopper cellphone buying tips you can save money while still trading in that Zack Morris-style phone for one that is more suited to today’s technological advances. The following tips are just a few ways that you can save big on cell phone purchases.
Buy When Your Contract is Up
With most cell phone plans, you can get a new phone for a fraction of the cost when you are eligible for a contract renewal. Cell phone companies offer these deep discounts in order to keep you as a customer because leaving your current carrier when your contract is up does not mean you will suffer large financial consequences, like you will if you break your contract under any other agreement. In fact, many companies offer you an upgrade a few months before your contract expires if you are willing to sign a new contract — usually for two years — at that point. Some companies also offer early upgrade options where you’ll pay a little more for the phone you want but you still won’t pay full price. The cell phone savings you can wrack up when buying when your contract is up are astronomical. Sometimes you can even get a new phone for free. However, this discount plan has a few major problems. First, sometimes you want out of your contract. You don’t like your carrier, and you feel you don’t get good customer or wireless service. If this is the case, you should not renew just because you want to get a new phone, as you’ll be unhappy with the results in the long run. Second, this discount plan doesn’t work for people who have prepaid phones. Third, if you break your phone or want a new one before your renewal is up, you’re out of luck.
Use Promo Codes
Promo codes offer an option for those who are looking for a new phone and can’t get a discount by renewing their contracts. A number of cell phone companies offer promo codes, which act like virtual coupons. When you use promo codes, you get money off immediately at checkout. However, promo codes can only be used with phones offered by carriers who advertise them. For example, a Sprint promo code can only be used with Sprint phones. On the positive side, however, these codes can be used with prepaid phones, as long as the prepaid phone provider offers them. You can search for promo codes for your particular brand of prepaid phone using Google. For example, you might want to look for a Straight Talk promo code or a Sprint promo code that you can use with Sprint’s prepaid products. If you want to use a promo code, you will probably need to have a debit or bank card so that you can process your order through the Internet. Searching for promo codes can take some time, but once you find one, the savings are hard to beat, especially if you get a promo code on top of an already discounted plan, like a Straight Talk promo code.
Search for Refurbished Models
Many cell phone stores and carriers offer refurbished phones, or phones that have been broken and restored by the company’s tech team. Refurbished phones are guaranteed to work just as well as new phones, and they generally come with warranties similar to those offered by new phones. The only difference is that they are not “new” per say but are factory refurbished. You can save a lot of money by going with refurbished phones, which can be much cheaper than their non-refurbished counterparts.
Cell phones will probably always be expensive, but there are some ways to buy that can help you save money. If you follow the tips above, you can upgrade while keeping some cash in your pocket.