I’ve never paid full price for a new smartphone. Of course, I thought no one ever paid “full price” for a new smartphone. $649 for a phone when you could get it for $200 by waiting a few months for your contract to expire? No-brainer.
Well, not anymore. Wireless carriers are moving away from contracts that subsidized prices, and thrifty shoppers will face a dilemma. The analysis says that forking over $700 for your phone upfront is actually a smart way to save money in the long run, but parting with that much cash at once will surely hit your wallet—and psyche—harder right now.
Before you buy that new iPhone 6s for full price, think about whether you want or need it. Here are a couple questions that can help you tell the difference.
Does Your Current Phone Still Work?
I remember when I upgraded to a Galaxy S3. I was coming from a Droid Eres, one of the first Droids and a “smartphone” by name only at that point. It didn’t keep a charge, wouldn’t load web pages and couldn’t even play podcasts. Upgrading was like going from night to day.
I then went from a Galaxy S3 to a Galaxy S5, primarily because I’ve been conditioned to want a new phone after two years. Don’t get me wrong: the S5 is a nicer, faster phone with a better display. But I could have kept using my S3, which was slow but far from broken.
If your phone is like mine was—working but lagging—look for other ways to boost its performance before upgrading. Buy a new battery to give it more life. Get an SD card and offload some apps to speed things up. Invest in a cloud storage account and move your photos and videos there. These options are a cost-savings in the long run.
Do You Need the “Newest” New Phone?
If your phone is broken, you’ll likely feel the temptation to upgrade to the latest version. But you might not need it – or want to pay the price.
Instead of upgrading from an iPhone 4 to an iPhone 6s, jump to the iPhone 5 or iPhone 6 instead. Prices on older handsets drop when new versions come out, and you can save a lot of money. Your new iPhone won’t have all the minor bells and whistles of the latest handset, but you’ll cash-in on the biggest benefit of upgrading – saving.
To save even more money, consider buying a certified pre-owned iPhone. It’s guaranteed to work like a new phone, but will only cost you a fraction of the price.