Why do you need the phone?
If you need a new cell phone but you’re wary of the cost, there are a few things to keep in mind that should help you stick with your budget while getting exactly what you need in a phone. The most important thing to consider prior to your purchase is why you need the phone. What will you use the phone for? Calls? Texting? Taking pictures and movies to share with others? Surfing the Internet or checking email? Cell phones can have an array of endless features, but you have to decide which ones are truly necessary. A great place to start is the interactive cell phone quiz that helps you choose the best phone for your needs, and even allows you to pick a phone based on your particular cell phone provider.
Estimate how many minutes you will use per month
When you’re on a budget, the safest decision might be to choose the least amount of minutes because that particular plan costs the least. However, if you go over those minutes, most providers will charge much more per minute, so choose a plan that you can live with financially and reasonably, as well.
Consider phones with extra monthly data charges
It’s a temptation to pick a phone with impressive applications, such as an html browser to check Facebook or all of your personal and business email accounts. However, monthly data charges add an extra expense that might not be necessary for you. If you don’t particularly need Internet or email access, carefully consider buying a phone that demands a minimum data package fee. This can be an extra $15 to $30, at least. If you text often, cell phones are available that are equipped with ‘QWERTY’ keyboards, video and photo capabilities, and plenty of other bells and whistles without the data package fee requirements.
Pricing: Pay as you go versus a traditional contract
Compare the monthly fees of ‘pay as you go’ cell phones against the cost of a two year contract phone. This depends on your preferences and requirements for using a cell phone. If you only plan to use the phone a few times a month to make phone calls and you think you might not even use a twenty minute phone card in thirty days, then it would be better to use a pay as you go service. If you text, take and send pictures, and use the phone for internet and checking email, carefully compare the pricing of a contract and a pay as you go phone. Some pay as you go services have a locked in monthly fee for unlimited usage, then again, a traditional contract cell phone might provide more data usage allowances for less money.
Although a particular cell phone brand might be a bit more of an expensive purchase upfront, a device that’s proven to be reliable will save you time and money in the long run, especially if you intend to use your phone for professional purposes as well as personal. Reviews for your cell phone model might be on your cell phone provider’s page, as well as other places on the Internet.
“Cell Phones,” cnet.com
Eric Bernatchez, “Confused? Let Us Find Your 5 Best Cell Phones,” About.com