When the time comes to pick out a new cell phone, way too many people let advertising do their research for them. They see the newest model brand name phone, and decide that, because it’s the hottest phone available, it must be the one to buy.

However, there are tons of other phones that are worth considering. Don’t be convinced that you must have the latest model of a brand name phone – instead, ask yourself the following four questions before buying yet another pricey cell phone.

1. Do You Really Need a Flagship Phone?

The two biggest names in cell phone technology have worked hard to convince consumers that there’s only one or two phones available – or worth buying. If you’ve only turned to Samsung or Apple phones in years past, you’ve missed out on an entire world of cell phones that come with excellent features and lower prices.

While Apple and Samsung are the flagship phones every consumer wants, there are equally excellent cell phones available for far less. Mid-range phones like the Moto G5 Plus and the Nexus 5 offer the same processing speed as the Samsung Galaxy S8, but these cell phones start at $300, while the Galaxy retails for $800. Flagship phones will always cost more – so ask yourself if you really want to pay hundreds of additional dollars just to carry a brand-name phone.

2. Do You Really Need to Buy an iPhone?

Since its release in 2007, everyone has longed to carry the latest iPhone. But year after year, the iPhone increases in price and adds barely any new features. If you use your phone for talking, texting, and surfing the web alone, and would have a hard time picking out the difference between an AMOLED and an LCD display, you may not need the priciest, newest iPhone.

Unless you’re a die-hard tech fan, you should ask yourself what benefits you’re getting from buying a new iPhone every year. There are so many great non-Apple cell phones as well as sensible, mid-range phones made by companies like Motorola, Honor, and Huawei, which retail for between $300 and $500. Many of these phones have similar features to an iPhone, like the Honor View 10, which has a fingerprint reader, 6GB of RAM, and 128 GB of storage – the same features you’ll find on the $1,000 or more iPhone X.

3. Can You Avoid Getting Locked into a Contract?

Failing to do your research can cost you a lot of money when it comes to cell phone contracts. Cell phone carriers want to get the most money possible off you and your service plan, so it’s common for carriers to push costly plans with long contracts onto customers. However, there are a few different ways you can purchase a new phone, with or without a contract.

You can buy an unlocked phone and pay upfront, which means your monthly bills will be lower. Having an unlocked phone you’ve bought means you can switch providers whenever you want and keep your cell phone. If you want to pay for your new phone over time, your carrier will divide the cost of your phone into 24 monthly installments, locking you into a 2-year contract until your phone is paid off. If you want to cancel this plan, or don’t like its requirements, you’ll have to pay an expensive fee to cancel.

4. Is Now the Right Time to Buy?

When a new cell phone is released, people literally line up to be one of the first to buy that exciting new model. However, buying a phone when it’s just gone on sale – or is being heavily advertised as the best new cell phone – means you aren’t going to get a deal. Purchasing a phone at the time of its release means you’re guaranteed to pay the absolute highest price.

According to Mobile Industry Review1, you’ll find that most new smartphone prices drop by 30% within six months of their release. When it comes to Apple and Samsung phones in particular, it’s possible to find great deals on the model that’s about to be replaced in the months right before and right after the launch of the newest generation model. So, wait a little longer, or opt for an older cell phone if you want to save. You can also do some research online to see which cell phones are seeing lower prices when you’re ready to buy.

Additionally, there’s one season each year when you’ll want to consider buying a new cell phone: Black Friday. Make sure to look out for deals around this annual holiday shopping day because cell phone companies will work to undercut each other to maximize their sales until the end of the winter holiday season. And this mean you can score deep discounts on some of the year’s best phones.

How to Find the Best Deals on Cell Phones and Plans

There are many different ways to find a great deal on a phone you love. Once you’ve done your research and compared a few phones from different brands and carriers, all that remains is to get the best deal possible on the price. It’s not a great idea to go into a carrier’s store with the intent of purchasing a phone before you’ve done your research; the carrier’s goal is to sell you the most expensive phone and lock you into an expensive plan. As long as you do your research first, you’ll be able to find a phone and plan that work for you.

Like anything, it’s always a good idea to be aware of the latest research. We recommend comparing at least 3 or 4 options before making a final decision. Doing a search online is typically the quickest, most thorough way to discover all the pros and cons you need to keep in mind.

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