iPhones are expensive, but for so many people staying connected with a smartphone is a necessity. For those that don’t ‘need’ a smartphone, many find they do come in handy whether it’s getting directions, looking up phone numbers, or keeping yourself (or the kids) entertained while you wait in the doctor’s office for an hour or they have to sit through a business meeting. Whatever your reason for owning an iPhone, it doesn’t have to cost you a fortune. I’ll outline some ways you can save on your purchase, and stay connected.
Should you buy an iPhone?
First you have to figure out if you ‘need’ and iPhone or other smartphone. If it’s a ‘want’ and you can afford it, then you can skip this section. 😉
Do you travel or run around a lot during the day? Do you stay at home or at work most of the day? Do you need a cell phone for your job or are you desk bound?
If you are desk bound or home a great deal it may make more financial sense to purchase an iPod Touch which has many of the same features an iPhone does, and with apps can even be used for texting or making phone calls from a WiFi hotspot. The downside: you still may find you need a cell phone if only for emergencies. The upside: you can save $60-$100/month by not locking into a contract.
Say you do decide it’s a need for you, or maybe it’s just a want that you can afford, how do you save on your purchase?
While there are a lot of options on the market now and you should definitely play around with various models before buying, the iPhone offers many things other phones just can’t beat. The user friendly interface (if a 2 year old can use it anyone can), and design make it a top pick for many consumers.
For me it comes down to not just design (though it is sleek and comfortable), but also the ability to easily access everything I need in an intuitive way. For the record though, I’m a ‘Mac Mom’ (a fangirl seems to juvenile for me). I love all my Apple products, and have never had any issues with the hardware or software from Apple. (a vast improvement over my mega frustration with most things Windows)
Check Your Rates
Make sure you only purchase what you need for coverage, texting and data. AT&T is great about letting you ‘backdate’ your bill so if you do start going over your limit (which happened to me when I started making and taking more calls for work on my iPhone) you can backdate your plan so you aren’t charged overages.
Check with your provider to see if they offer business rates for your company. If you are a small business owner it’s worth a call to see if you can save on your plan by bundling with your employees or partners.
Texting and data plans can be pricey-so assess what you truly need. Some people use apps like TextFree to text at no cost. It’s not the same number as your cell phone is, so make sure your contacts know that so you avoid pricey texts.
Sell or Reuse your Old Phone
Once you own an iPhone upgrading can seem pricey, but that old model is far from obsolete! If you’re ready to buy the latest version sell your old one! You can actually earn a profit on your old iPhone depending on when you purchase and the market at the time. The best place to sell is eBay or Craig’s List though you may find a friend or family member who is looking to buy.
For instance when my husband purchased his iPhone 4 several months ago we were able to sell his old phone on eBay for $250 after fees. since the new phone cost $200 we actually came out ahead!
Turn your old phone into a Touch
You can also keep your old phone and turn it into an iPod Touch (though the camera is better ;)). My iPhone 3GS has a hairline crack in the back from dropping it one too many times, so I couldn’t sell it. Instead I turned it into an iPod Touch for the kids to use when we need a screen to keep busy. It connects to my iTunes account so every app I download they can get too. (I disabled the settings that allow them to purchase over our WiFi network)
Do you have any tips for saving money on an iPhone purchase? Do you feel like smartphones are worth the cost or too pricey? Let me know in the comments.
Next up I’ll talk money saving apps for iPhone. Have a favorite? Let me know!