The world has fallen in love with smartphones, dropping billions of dollars every month on hardware, services plans, applications, accessories, and more.
Smartphones supply the method of choice for tech-savvy individuals to do everything from accessing digital media, to communicating socially and professionally. While it may seem like a necessity, the costs of owning a smartphone can often be just about more than the average budget can bear. If you are finally ready to join the smartphone revolution, or are frustrated by your burdensome bill, consider these six wise ways to save on the cost of a smartphone.
1. DISCOUNT THE DEVICE
It's funny how you can happily transition from an old-fashioned flip phone to a recently released smartphone, and then a few months later feel suddenly unsatisfied as the newer version hits the streets. While you ultimately pay more on cellular service than the actual device, purchasing a new smartphone is a sizable expenditure for most average consumers—and is also the first place you can save a nice chunk of change.
Make a "smarter" investment by shopping around before purchasing a smartphone, not only by assessing the performance and features that you desire most, but also by comparing prices and identifying discounts or sales. By placing your realistic need over superficial desires you'll end up with an excellent option for a few hundred dollars less than the over-hyped flavor of the month.
- Consider a certified used or factory refurbished smartphone that comes with a warranty to get the device you want at a deep discount.
- Realize that the next big thing is always just around the corner. Wait for the price cut on the smartphone you desire, while resisting the marketing allure of the marked-up new release.
2. GET THE RIGHT PLAN
Even more important than finding a deal on a device is identifying the cell phone plan that offers everything you need at the lowest overall cost. In order to locate the most economical solution, it's important to analyze your current cellphone usage, taking into account how it might change over the length of a contract or if you are switching to a smartphone for the first time.
Studies show the majority of smartphone users actually overpay for their cell service, leaving valuable minutes, data, and features unused every month. By realistically calculating your usage, you can accurately comparison-shop for the plan that most efficiently suits your specific needs.
- Use a source such as CompareCellular.com, a one-stop for Canadian consumers to compare cell phone plans and also review side-by-sides of the latest smartphones.
- Find out whether your employer or school offers a discount with a major provider, or if you can cut overall costs by signing up for a group or family plan.
3. DON'T GO OVER
One of the most common, frustrating, and painful ways that consumers get hurt on smartphone charges is by going over on minutes or data. Luckily, for those who are serious about reducing smartphone costs, there are numerous strategies to avoid going over.
By monitoring your data usage and minutes on a weekly basis, you can identify areas where you need to conserve and more effectively manage your usage. Whether it means sending texts rather than making calls during peak hours, using your computer to check your email and update your Facebook status, or waiting for wifi access before downloading media, you can not only make sure you stay within limits, but also reduce your needs to fit into a less expensive plan.
- Make sure when you are at home, in the office, or at the coffee shop that you log into the available wifi network to avoid running up your data usage.
- Take advantage or apps such as Viber or Skype to send texts and make free calls over your wifi connection.
4. SKIP THE EXTRAS
Do you really require insurance that costs as much as 50% the cost of your device if you plan to buy a quality protective case and have never lost a cellphone before? By staying focused on what you need, will use, and makes sense, you can save hundreds when you buy a smartphone and initiate a new contract.
From high-tech features and services you may never know you are paying for, to pricey ringtones and superficial accessories that do little to enhance your experience, by looking at your smartphone as a communications necessity— rather than a toy or status symbol—you can avoid all the little expenses that add up over time.
- Trim the fat by getting rid of the roadside assistance, navigation, or entertainment features you never use.
- Be sensible about accessorizing your phone, utilizing the perfectly suitable charger and ear buds that are included in your purchase.
5. TAME YOUR APP APPETITE
The Apple iTunes store alone has gone beyond 50 billion app downloads, emphasizing the fact that modern smartphone users have an insatiable appetite of mobile applications. The plain trust is most modern devices come with some pretty amazing features built-in, and there are literally thousands of fun, useful, and entertaining apps available for free.
It's easy, especially for new smartphone users, to get a little "app happy" with a direct credit line to the iTunes or Android store, but by limiting your purchases to that which you genuinely want and need, you can tame a line of spending that can easily get out of control.
- Manually turn off in-app purchases to avoid impulse spending and keep the kids from running up the tab when using your phone for entertainment.
- Download apps that actually help you manage your finances such as Mint, or ones designed for thrifty shoppers and deal-hunters such as ShopSavvy and Groupon.
Like many aspects of modern technology, the smartphone industry continues to change and evolve. In order to make sure you are getting the best deal, using your service plan efficiently, and keeping up with the latest trends, continually track and analyze all of these factors. The plan you chose when you first switched to a smartphone may no longer make sense as your usage changes, or there could be another provider out there offering dramatic saving for new subscribers. By keeping an eye on your bill and your finger on the pulse of the market, you can stay in step with effectively controlling costs.
- Analyze your usage on an ongoing basis to identify areas where you can make adjustments to lower your expenses.
- Contact your current provider to learn what deals or discounts are available to you as a loyal customer before renewing a contract.
Most experts agree that smartphones are the wave of the future, and will continue to keep rolling for a long time to come. By shopping smart and comparing your options, while monitoring your usage and focusing on the necessities, you can stay on telecom's cutting edge while keeping costs at a minimum.