10 Tips for Finding a Cheap Phone

Smartphones have transformed the way we find information, communicate and work. Today, buying a new smartphone is more like investing in convenience. With all that phones are capable of now, it’s no wonder prices are higher than ever. While new smartphones are extremely desirable, they’re increasingly difficult for most people to afford. Luckily, there are a few ways to find a great phone for cheap. 

If you’re looking for ways to find a cheap phone, consider our tips for how to get phones at a cheap price.

How to Find Cheap Phones

Phone prices continue to rise as technology advances, and while prices can fluctuate, it’s challenging to know when you’re getting a good deal. Knowing how to get phones at cheap prices can help you save money while still taking advantage of new technology. If you’re looking for the best phones at the best prices, here are 10 tips for finding the best cheap phones.

1. Shop Online

The convenience of shopping online lets you search for great deals from the comfort of your home on your own time. With various ways to purchase phones today, buyers are no longer limited to the selections offered by local providers. Many retailers run their own promotions or sales, giving you the chance to find the phone you want at an affordable price. Be sure to check out various stores’ clearance sections, as you may be able to get a good phone for cheap. 

Check with your provider’s website when shopping online for a phone. Many carriers and manufacturers offer special online-only discounts. For example, your carrier may offer discounted or waived activation fees when buying through their website. Fees like this can add up quickly when buying a new phone, so anywhere you can save money is beneficial.

2. Get Last Year’s Model

New phones are released every year or close to it. When new models are released, they’re typically more expensive than previous models because they offer newer and better features and updates. However, this doesn’t mean last year’s model isn’t worth buying. When the new phones are released, the prices of older models are reduced because they’re no longer the newest and hottest product. Luckily for anyone trying to buy a cheap phone, this is an effective way to get a great phone at a reasonable price.

This is a great example of how to get iPhones cheaper than the original price. Many iPhone features are capable through the software. Apple software updates regularly, allowing most iPhone users to take advantage of new features despite having an older model iPhone. Depending on the manufacturer and the model, there may only be a few differences between this year’s new phone and last year’s model, giving you great value for your money.

3. Shop Around the Holidays

Holidays are a great time to get a new phone for cheap. Black Friday and Christmas shopping are popular times to find deals on all the name-brand cell phones. While this time of year is when you’re likely shopping for others, consider taking advantage of a phone deal for yourself. 

Many manufacturers, providers and retailers offer sales and promotions around most other holidays too. For example, you will likely find good phone deals around holidays like Memorial Day and the Fourth of July. Like Amazon’s Prime Day, some companies create their own “holidays” full of hard-to-resist sales. Another way to find cheap iPhones is through Apple’s back-to-school sale. 

Being aware of these types of sales gives you more opportunities to find a good phone on a budget.

4. Do Your Research

One of the best ways to find the most affordable prices on cell phones is to do your research. Phone prices can vary from seller to seller, so looking around can help you determine the average prices and the best places to shop for a phone. 

When researching phone prices, one thing to pay attention to is phone features that can affect price, like storage space and battery life. For example, phones with more storage space likely cost more.

Additionally, researching gives you a chance to compare different models, brands and features to determine what you need. If you just need the phone to make occasional calls and texts, lots of storage is something you can likely avoid paying for. 

5. Trade-In Your Current Phone

When debating how to get a cheap new phone, the first option for many is upgrading or trading in their current phone. Many carriers give you money for your old phone to put towards a new one. Some carriers have special promotions where you’re guaranteed money for a trade-in. These promotions are often easiest to take advantage of if you’re trading your phone in at the same store you plan to get a new one.

However, there are other ways to trade in your phone for money. Companies like Gazelle lets you sell your old phones and devices. Gazelle inspects your device to determine how much they’ll pay you for it, depending on the device’s condition. This means you can still get paid for those old, cracked phones stuffed in the back of your closet. 

6. Look for Unlocked Phones

While unlocked phones may not seem like they’re saving you any money upfront, they can in the long run. Unlocked phones let you avoid being locked in to a specific contract or carrier, which often happens when you purchase your phone directly through a carrier. This means you have the freedom to change your phone plan, switch carriers or find new phones whenever you want. 

The freedom of an unlocked phone can be extremely budget-friendly. Rather than being locked in a pricey contract, you can easily jump ship and take your phone with you if you find a more affordable option. Unlocked phones can also be easily sold when you decide to upgrade.

7. Consider Carrier Promotions

It’s common for carriers to offer promotions to attract new customers. For example, new customers can get a free iPhone when they sign up for an unlimited plan. Be sure to check out promotions like this, especially if you’re unhappy with your current carrier. 

These promotions are often enticing and may seem too good to be true, which they often actually are. If you’re considering getting a phone for cheap through a carrier promotion, be sure to look into the terms of the promotion to ensure it’s actually something you want. There may be hidden fees or stipulations that make the deal less desirable. 

8. Get a New Phone on a Contract

While top-of-the-line phones are most desirable, they also cost the most — sometimes more than $1,000. Like many others, you may find this an unrealistic amount of money to spend on a new phone every year. If you foresee yourself being with the same carrier for an extended time, consider getting that top-of-the-line new phone on a contract. While contracts vary between carriers, most let you make smaller payments on a phone throughout the contract. 

By the end of the contract, you’ll have paid off your phone and can either continue your plan or sell the phone and begin a new contract. While you need to be cautious when entering carrier contracts, this is a great example of how to get cheap mobile phones.

9. Switch to a Cheaper Phone Plan

Part of what makes phones so expensive is the cost of having a phone plan. You could save a lot on the device itself and have to put the money you saved right into paying for your plan. Unlimited data plans are the most expensive because users can use endless amounts of data, though these plans are unnecessary for many people. 

Depending on how you use your phone, you may not need an unlimited plan. For many people, unlimited data is too much, and they’re paying for more than they need. Instead, opt for a smaller plan that costs less. There are many options available to help you save money. 

10. Buy Refurbished Phones

One of the best ways to get a cheap phone is to buy one refurbished. Refurbished phones are typically used phones that have been cleaned up and repaired to operate like new. Despite looking and operating like new, refurbished phones are significantly more affordable. Refurbished phones may have updated or replaced parts like a new screen or battery. Depending on where you buy from, you may be able to get a warranty on the phone.

When purchasing refurbished phones, it’s important to buy from trustworthy sellers like Gazelle. Doing so ensures the phone is properly refurbished and inspected, and you’re sure to get a quality phone that comes as described. You’ll find a wide range of refurbished devices, including iPhones and Samsungs, as well as phones that are unlocked or compatible with specific carriers.

Other Considerations When Buying a Used Phone

Buying a used phone can be extremely cost-effective, though it’s important to understand what you’re getting. There’s a bit of a difference between a used phone and a refurbished phone, and it usually has to do with the condition of the phone. While refurbished phones are repaired, used phones typically show signs of wear and tear. Here are a few important considerations to make before buying a used phone.

Pay Attention to the Phone’s Condition

When buying any used phone, it’s crucial to note the condition. Used phones for sale should include a description of the phone, including its physical condition, operating condition and any other details disclosing wear and tear on the phone. It’s common for used devices to have scratches or dents. Even if you’re OK with that, you want to be aware of those things before buying.

Unfortunately, many people and places try to sell used phones without disclosing the phone’s condition. This can be frustrating if you pay for a phone, thinking it’s in better shape. Another aspect that makes a big difference is knowing who you’re buying the phone from. Be sure to buy from trustworthy sources. Know what to look for and how to determine if something is worth your money.

Check for a Return Policy

If you’re buying a used or refurbished phone from any type of reseller, be sure to check for a return policy. If you get your phone and it unknowingly has scratches on it, you may consider returning it. Understanding the return policy, if there is one, ensures you know the available window of time you can return the phone and the process for getting a refund or replacement. 

While you can typically detect scratches and physical damage immediately, issues with the software or internal components of the phone may take more time to notice. 

Take note of the return window in case issues like this would arise, so you have a chance to make the return if needed. The last thing you want is to be stuck with a broken phone and unable to get your money back. 

Gazelle offers shoppers a 30-day return policy — an optimal amount of time to decide whether the phone is right for you or to detect any unknown issues and make the return. 

Does Anything Come With the Phone?

We’ve mentioned several times that it’s important to understand what you’re getting when it comes to buying any phone. Another aspect of that includes phone accessories. 

Find out if anything comes with your phone. Depending on who you buy a used or refurbished phone from, things like chargers, cases, stylus pens and screen protectors could be included in the price. In other cases, you may have to pay separately for these items. Most sellers include a compatible charger for the phone, at the very least, though it’s worth checking to be sure. 

Shop Budget Phones Through Gazelle

iPhones and other name-brand phones are often thought of as must-haves, though they come at a high price. Luckily, sellers like Gazelle make it possible for people to get great phones and other devices for affordable prices. 

At Gazelle, we thoroughly inspect all our used phones, checking features like charging ports, cameras and WiFi connection. We include honest descriptions of each phone, so you know the phone’s condition from the start. Gazelle makes the phone-buying experience easy — with no contracts and guaranteed lower prices, we take pride in providing a good experience for our customers. 

If you’re considering buying a new phone and want to avoid manufacturer-suggested retail prices (MSRP), explore our selection of used phones to find the right model for your needs. For more information on how to get a phone for cheap or regarding our products, contact us today!