How To Save Money When Shopping For A New Smartphone

With the cost of living crisis that we’re going through at the moment, you might be looking for ways to save on your monthly bills.

In the UK, one of the things we waste the most money on is our smartphones. It’s always tempting to upgrade to the latest flagship handset, and get a data plan with lots of bonuses and other benefits that you might not actually need.

In this guide, we’ve explained how to save money when shopping for a new smartphone.

Avoid buying a flagship phone

In this day and age, flagship phones, which are the top-of-the-line devices sold by companies like Apple and Samsung, are extremely expensive.

In most cases, having a flagship phone is much more of a luxury than a necessity. These handsets might have a bigger screen with a higher refresh rate, but most of the time you’ll be perfectly fine with a cheaper phone.

And if you do want a really high-spec device with a large screen for watching movies, consider buying last year’s flagship, rather than this year’s one. Most of the time, newer devices only have small, incremental improvements on the old model.

Consider buying a refurbished phone

In the UK, we’re lucky to have a thriving second-hand phone market, with a lot of great-quality phones available for a reasonable price.

Most of the time, these refurbished phones are handsets that people have traded in by people upgrading to the latest device – they’re not broken phones that have been repaired. And when a phone has signs of use, like scuffing on the frame, the component will be replaced during the refurbishment process.

You can buy refurbished smartphones:

  • From the manufacturer directly. Apple for example sells refurbished phones on their website. The benefit of this is you know that the refurbishment will have been done to a very high standard. However, you’ll have to buy a SIM card separately most of the time, and refurbished phones from the manufacturer direct are often more expensive.
  • From a smartphone reseller, like These refurbished phones will be cheaper than buying from a manufacturer, and you can easily bundle them with a SIM card and data plan. However, you need to be careful to check how the phone has been repaired.

The added benefit of buying a refurbished phone is you’ll be saving the environment. Producing a brand new phone produces a massive amount of carbon emissions, because of all the rare earth metals and other materials required to make the device.

Read: 5 Ideal Ways To Save Money (& The Planet) When Buying Clothes

Don’t buy your phone upfront, if possible

The profit margins available on smartphones are very small. Most telecommunications companies make most of their money selling you a data plan.

Therefore, these companies are normally willing to offer quite good prices on phones, if you commit to the device with a data plan on a 12-24 month contract. It normally makes the most sense to choose one of these plans if you can, rather than buying the device upfront.

By doing this, you can also keep your cash for longer, and possibly make a small return on it by investing the money or keeping it in the bank.

Of course, for some people, you will want the flexibility to pay as you go with your data plan. In this case, you’ll need to buy the phone upfront.

Don’t buy an expensive data plan

Before buying, carefully consider how much data you’re going to be using each month. 

Apple and Android devices give you the ability to check your previous data usage in their settings. This is a great place to start when calculating how much data you need.

Also, avoid data plans with extras, like free Netflix or Apple Music. Most of the time, you’ll save money by going for a basic SIM plan, especially one from a smaller mobile network like GiffGaff, rather than buying direct from Three, O2, Vodafone, or EE.

Sell your old phone for the best price possible

Once you get your new phone, you’ll need to think about how you’ll sell your old phone, and get the best price for it.

If your phone is relatively new, you could consider selling it on an auction site like eBay.

There are also websites that will buy used smartphones – this is how refurbishers get their hands on old devices. These sites will also accept broken and old phones, albeit for a lower price.

Just remember to sign out of all your Google or iCloud accounts, and do a full factory reset of your phone before shipping it off, to prevent its new owner from accessing your data. Most smartphone refurbishers will wipe your phone’s data, but it’s also important to do this yourself just in case the wrong person gets ahold of your phone.

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