Make us your home page
Instagram

How to save $20 a month on your smartphone bill

It is possible to buy smartphones with an eye to longevity rather than upgrading every two years. This strategy will save money and global resources and give you the snooty self-satisfaction of knowing you're shunning gadget consumerism. Here's how.

KEEP YOUR PHONE LONGER.

High-end phones seem to have hit an innovation plateau, with each new iPhone or Samsung Galaxy just slightly better than the last. This is great for people who just want a nice phone.

The latest phones might offer nice extras like a fingerprint scanner or a better camera flash, but few of these are really necessary. The main thing to worry about in an older phone is a dying battery; after two years, you'll notice your phone struggling to keep a charge. Some phones, like Samsung's Galaxy line, let owners swap the battery; you can just buy a new one and pop it in. Replacing the iPhone's battery requires special tools, but it's a relatively cheap and easy fix. IFixit's iPhone 5 battery kit, for example, sells for $30, including tools. There are also thousands of phone repair techs across the country who'll do it for a small fee.

TRADE IT IN.

Apple, Samsung and other smartphone manufacturers sell their top phones for more than $600 each without a contract. But with a two-year mobile contract, that price gets baked in to the cost of the commitment. So many people don't understand the true cost of their smartphones — or their true value.

Demand for the best phones far outstrips supply, so devices that seem outdated in the United States still carry cachet in the developing world.

The global demand for old smartphones has prompted a boom in trade-in services like Gazelle. Yet the supply of used phones remains low; only a quarter of smartphone users trade in their devices.

BUY A USED PHONE.

America's largest mobile carriers are now offering contract-free wireless plans that separate the price of your device from the price of your service.

These plans offer incentives to buy from the secondary market; if you get a cheap used phone, you might save a bundle on your monthly bill.

How to save $20 a month on your smartphone bill 04/04/14 [Last modified: Friday, April 4, 2014 7:42pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

Copyright: For copyright information, please check with the distributor of this item, New York Times.
    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. FBI probes fraudster's alleged church scam following Tampa Bay Times report

    Real Estate

    PLANT CITY — Once again, the FBI is investigating felon fraudster Victor Thomas Clavizzao.

    The FBI is investigating convicted mortgage fraudster Victor Thomas Clavizzao on new allegations following a Tampa Bay Times report.
[TImes file photo]

  2. Tampa Bay is ground-zero for assignment of benefits cases over broken auto glass

    Banking

    When Rachel Thorpe tried to renew her auto insurance last year for her Toyta RAV4, she was stunned to see her monthly premium had nearly doubled to $600. The Sarasota driver was baffled since her only recent claim was over a broken windshield.

    Auto glass lawsuits filed by a third party (through what's known as assignment of benefits) are skyrocketing in Tampa Bay.
[Times file photo]
  3. Siesta Beach tops Dr. Beach's rankings of best locations in America

    Tourism

    Three beaches in Florida made it on a highly coveted list of the top 10 in America this year, ranked by Dr. Stephen Leatherman, a.k.a. "Dr. Beach."

    This May 18, 2017 photo shows Siesta Beach on Siesta Key in Sarasota, Fla. Siesta Beach is No. 1 on the list of best beaches for the summer of 2017 compiled by Stephen Leatherman, also known as Dr. Beach, a professor at Florida International University. [Chris O'Meara | Associated Press]
  4. Brooksville's popular Florida Cracker Kitchen aims at statewide expansion

    Retail

    BROOKSVILLE — Florida Cracker Kitchen's inverted cowboy boot logo — seemingly plastered on every pickup truck in Hernando County — may someday be just as ubiquitous across the state.

    Shrimp and grits is a signature dish at Florida Cracker Kitchen, which plans to open more restaurants in the state.
  5. Alison Barlow named director to spur creative economy, jobs of St. Pete Innovation District

    Economic Development

    After an extensive search, the recently created St. Pete Innovation District now has its first executive director. Alison Barlow on Thursday was named to the position in which she will help recruit and facilitate a designated downtown St. Petersburg area whose assets and members range from USF St. Petersburg, Johns …

    Alison Barlow has been named the first executive director of the recently created St. Pete Innovation District, a designated downtown St. Petersburg area whose assets and members range from USF St. Petersburg, Johns Hopkins All Children's Hospital and Poynter Institute to SRI International and the USF College of Marine Science, among many other organizations. Barlow, who most recently served as manager of the Collaborative Labs at St. Petersburg College, starts her new job June 16.[Photo courtesy of LinkedIn]