If you’re like me, you prefer to have everything brand new. Whether it is golf clubs, cell phones, or cars, you’ll do whatever it takes to keep up with the newest trends. To live this sort of lifestyle, one must have a hefty bank account. With Apple expected to announce the release date of the iPhone 5 soon, what’s a person on a tight budget supposed to do?
I didn’t make the transition from a regular phone to a smartphone until about four years ago. Reluctant to take on the extra cost of a data plan, I wasn’t sure if a smartphone was for me. Fast forward to the present, and I’d tell you purchasing a smartphone was a great decision. I’m able to keep up with all my favorite sports teams no matter where I’m at. For a person that’s absolutely terrible when it comes to driving directions, my GPS app has saved me on many occasions. There are even money management apps that come in handy.
Before you run out and purchase a new smartphone, let me forewarn you: they can be expensive. At the time I purchased my first smartphone, I was eligible for an upgrade. Thinking I’d save a significant amount of money on the purchase of a new phone due to my ability to upgrade, I wasn’t too happy when I discovered it’d cost me a little over $200 just to buy the phone. Tack on the data plan that I was forced to buy, and that amounts to about $920 after you consider I had signed up for a two year contract. That money only paid for the phone and my data plan, not my texting or calling plans, which you would need to add an approximate $1,440 more to account for.
By now, you get the point: smartphones aren’t cheap. For people looking to save some cash without sacrificing their smartphones, there are other options. Just like particular carriers allow customers to purchase prepaid plans for regular phones, prepaid plans for smartphones are becoming more and more common. There must be a catch, right?
Of course there is. But, in the long run, you’ll still save money. Instead of paying in the $200-$300 range for a new phone, you pay the full retail price, which could be as much as $649.99. So how do you end up saving money when you’re spending close to $700 right off the bat? You make up for it in the monthly payments. Some carriers, such as Virgin Mobile, offer plans starting at $30 per month for 2.5 GB of data, unlimited texting and 300 minutes.
If you’re looking for something cheaper, Cricket has phones that can be purchased for as much as $199.99, while others can be yours for as low as $19.99. The monthly cost is a little more expensive, starting at $50 for unlimited talk, text and data.
Another option includes the Samsung Galaxy S2 from Boost Mobile. The phone can be yours for $369. Its features include Android 4.0, an 8-megapixel camera with 1080P full HD video and 16 GB of internal memory. Plans start at $55 per month for unlimited talk, text, web and email.
One final option to consider is RadioShack Mobile. After months of speculation, RadioShack Mobile is up and running. For now, only one smartphone (Muve Music) is available, although more options will be added for customers in the coming weeks. The cheapest plan is $50 per month with unlimited everything except for data. You’re allowed 1 GB of 3G data on this plan. If you’re willing to spend $60 per month, you’re given 2.5 GB of 3G data, with everything else remaining unlimited. Rumored smart phones to be added to the line-up include the HTC One V and the Huawei Mercury Ice.
It’s important to keep in mind that when it comes to the newest phones, there’s usually a waiting period that exists before they are eligible to be offered as prepaid contracts. You won’t be able to get the iPhone 5 on a prepaid plan right away, but if you give it some time, you’ll end up paying less in the long run.
So, what do you think? Is it worth saving some extra dough and waiting for the cell phone you want to be offered on a prepaid plan? Or are you the type of person that has to go out and get your phone the day it comes out? Let us know in the comments section below!