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Save Money Buying Your Cell Phone Online

By Erik Folgate

I wrote an article a few days ago about the possibility of the FCC changing the way that cell phone companies rope you into contracts with exorbitant early termination fees. One of the ways that cell phone companies try to rope you into signing a new contract extension is by heavily subsidizing an upgrade to a new phone. Most people want to upgrade their phone after a year or two, so they sign the new 2 year contract extension, and get a phone for cheap. If you don’t want to sign a new contract and save money on a new or newer phone, try looking for a lightly used phone.

eBay and Craigslist. You can usually pick up a new or newer cell phone for much cheaper than buying it retail directly from your cell phone carrier. Right now on eBay, you can find the popular Blackberry Curve for $299 rather than the $399 you would pay from the cell phone company. AT&T will give it to you for $99.99 dollars right now, but that’s only for new contracts. You have to make the decision about getting locked into the contract again or paying a little more to have the flexibility of leaving whenever you want. I am personally going to stop renewing my contracts to buy a new phone, because I hate being locked into T-Mobile for life. Just watch out for the scammers when you purchase on eBay and Craigslist!

LetsTalk.com. This is a pretty cool site. If you’re searching for a new carrier or looking to upgrade your phone, you may want to check this site out and compare it with the deals that the individual carriers are offering. Because of the letstalk.com rebate offers plus the mail-in rebates that the carrier will offer, you can actually MAKE money on some of the most popular phone models.

Cell phones are like microwaves. Everyone has one these days, and if you don’t, you’re wondering why you don’t have one. I used to think that it was silly for us to be so dependent on cell phones, but they serve so many different purposes. Just for the sake of being safer and being able to communicate with your family better makes it worth to pay for the service. Could someone live a normal life without one? Of course, but my point is that they are worth the money you put into them. Look for every way possible to save money on a service that is quickly becoming a necessity in our society.

Erik Folgate
Erik and his wife, Lindzee, live in Orlando, Florida with a baby boy on the way. Erik works as an account manager for a marketing company, and considers counseling friends, family and the readers of Money Crashers his personal ministry to others. Erik became passionate about personal finance and helping others make wise financial decisions after racking up over $20k in credit card and student loan debt within the first two years of college.

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  • http://andrewanddaryl.blogspot.com Mandrix

    Hi, this is about the Making money online is tough, but you don’t have to make the same mistakes. Make money online guide can help you get started in the right direction.

  • ekrabs

    I don’t know anything about buying cellphones online, but if you don’t have any preferences as to what kind of cellphone you want, then they can be had for very cheap if you look hard enough.

    My personal favorite is this Motorola flip phone that is essentially “free” from TracPhone. Well, ok, it costs $40, but it also includes the double minutes rate plan, which is $50 if you had to buy it separately. So, you end up spending $40 for $90 worth of cellphone and rates.

    Why is that good? With the double minutes… and with the larger minutes deals such as their one-year plan, I once calculated the rate to be around $0.11 per minute. To me, that’s an extremely good deal since you’ll be saving from then on past the up-front cost of the cellphone and double minutes….

    From what I can tell, the minutes and the rate plan is the hardest part in keeping your cellphone cost down. Many practically give away their cellphones, but more than make up for it the rate plans. Class razor / razor blade model.

    For those that don’t care about their cellphones anyway, I think focusing on the rates per minute is the best way to go. However, I think you have specific cellphone tastes, so… perhaps this won’t help you after all.

  • http://madsaver.com Mac

    Sounds good, and something we’ve done as well. My last phone (before my iPhone) I purchased via LetsTalk which had the best deal around and though the rebate was a pain, it was worth it in the end. These days Amazon.com has just as good of deals too. We also bought a phone outright on ebay to replace another that somehow went through the wash. Painless and worked w/o a hitch with our sim card.

    • http://madsaver.com Mac

      Also wanted to mention that sometimes there are really good deals available that may save up to 35% off any phone. When I bought my iPhone, I purchased through Bing Cashback (http://bing.com/cashback) as they were having a 35% off sale if you clicked through their link. Saved $105! Sure hope they offer the same deal when I’m in the market for a new phone again. I also save 15% off my bill each month via a corporate discount my company has with AT&T.

  • Sam Soong

    Great post!

    I’ve been looking for ways to economize and when my cell contract was up, I got a Net10 phone. I pay 10¢ a minute and 3¢ for texts. It’s a terrific value and there’s no contract or overages.

    Check it out! You can get ‘em online at net10.com or at Target, Walmart, Best Buy etc.

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