saving on cell phones http://www.wisebread.com/taxonomy/term/11768/all en-US Frugal Advice for the Gadget Addicted http://www.wisebread.com/frugal-advice-for-the-gadget-addicted <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/frugal-advice-for-the-gadget-addicted" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/iStock_000008601342Small.jpg" alt="Boy with electronics" title="Boy with electronics" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="153" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Hi, my name is Jesse, and I&rsquo;m a gadget-aholic. But I&rsquo;m also a believer in frugal living, and new toys can add up quick. Small handheld gadgets are my weakness, but I&rsquo;m&nbsp;learning to control the addiction. Here&rsquo;s some advice to live frugally and enjoy your tech without compromising your financial goals.</p> <h3>1. Admit That You Have a Problem</h3> <p>Stop justifying every iPod, iPad, smartphone, or new laptop you buy. You know you don&rsquo;t &ldquo;need&rdquo; them. You want them. And sometimes a want is OK, just don&rsquo;t kid yourself.</p> <h3>2. Address Your Needs</h3> <p>Now that you know what you want, assess your tech needs. Is this new gizmo really going to improve your life? Is it really an upgrade from your earlier gadget? Are the features worth it? Do you need more memory and a front-facing camera? If not, maybe you can wait.</p> <p>Also, make sure you are not overspending to buy features that you won&rsquo;t use. For example, if you live in a small apartment, you probably don&rsquo;t need a TV bigger than 42&rdquo;.</p> <h3>3. Buy Used When Possible</h3> <p>Maybe you won&rsquo;t get the newest and greatest thing on the market, but you can save a lot of money and still have a great time with your new purchase. Check out <a href="http://www.ebay.com">eBay</a> and <a href="http://www.craigslist.org">Craigslist</a>.</p> <h3>4. Sell Your Old Gadgets When You Do Upgrade</h3> <p>Why leave a used phone, MP3 player, or digital camera collecting dust in a drawer? You&rsquo;d be surprised how much people are willing to pay for some used gadgets. It helps if you take care of your current stuff to preserve resale value. In addition to <a href="http://www.craigslist.org">Craigslist</a> and <a href="http://www.ebay.com">eBay</a>, sites like <a href="http://www.gazelle.com">Gazelle</a> specialize in buying old electronics, and they&rsquo;ll even pay for shipping.</p> <h3>5. Buy Manufacturer-Refurbished Items</h3> <p>Apple and Dell sell refurbished products on their websites,&nbsp;complete with warranties. I&rsquo;ve had a lot of luck buying items that were for all intents and purposes new. Often &ldquo;refurbished&rdquo; means returned and re-boxed.&nbsp;</p> <h3>6. Capitalize on the Serial Upgrader</h3> <p>We all have friends who buy a new phone or the latest and greatest gadget every few months. Capitalize on their addiction by buying their only slightly old stuff. I scored an iPad this way when a friend decided to upgrade to the 3G version. And usually your friends will be willing to cut you a deal.</p> <h3>7. Set Time Frames</h3> <p>Set a time frame for purchases and upgrades. Like every three years for a computer or two years for a phone. If it&rsquo;s a new item, wait for the second generation if possible. First generation items are notoriously buggy.</p> <h3>8. Buy a Generation Older</h3> <p>While they might not be the latest and greatest, you can score older items at a big discount. This is an especially great option when the latest generation doesn&rsquo;t offer any big bump in features. Older models can often be found at a discount when stores clear their shelf for the current generation.</p> <h3>9. Upgrade Parts in Your Old Stuff</h3> <p>I&rsquo;ve gotten big improvements out of older computers by upgrading the RAM and hard drives myself. New batteries, a new hard drive, and more RAM can be easy to install can make your current device as good as a new one.</p> <h3>10. Think Multi-Purpose</h3> <p>Buy devices that can do more than one thing. If your new phone plays MP3s, maybe you can skip the latest iPod Nano. And why buy an e-reader and a handheld video game system when you can get a tablet that lets you read, play games, and surf the web?</p> <h3>11. Recognize That There&rsquo;s Always Something Newer Around the Corner</h3> <p>Just like death and taxes, you can count on new &ldquo;must have&rdquo; gadgets every few months. And the longer you wait to buy, generally the better the next tech product will be in terms of features, specifications, and mostly importantly, price.</p> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-guestpost-blurb"> <div class="field-label">Guest Post Blurb:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <p>This is a guest post by Jesse Lynch. Jesse is a Chicago-based marketing professional and freelance writer. When not plotting ways to save money, he writes for his food blog&nbsp;<a href="http://www.google.com/url?q=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.fastfoodreviewed.com&amp;sa=D&amp;sntz=1&amp;usg=AFQjCNHBAUBShaX79wIma26u8XecRzQrWA">Fast Food Reviewed</a>&nbsp;and his&nbsp;<a href="http://www.jessemlynch.com/">personal blog</a>. Read more by Jesse:</p> <ul> <li><a href="http://www.ehow.com/how_5716102_advertising.html">How to Get Into Advertising</a></li> <li><a href="http://fastfoodreviewed.com/in-n-out-vs-five-guys/">East Coast vs. West Coast Burger Throw Down. In-N-Out Burger vs. Five Guys Burgers and Fries</a></li> <li><a href="http://fastfoodreviewed.com/burger-wars-burger-kings-1-double-cheese-burger-vs-mcdonalds-mcdouble-throw-down/">Burger Wars! Burger King&rsquo;s $1 Double Cheeseburger vs. McDonald&rsquo;s McDouble Throw Down</a></li> </ul> <p>&nbsp;</p> </div> </div> </div> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/jesse-lynch">Jesse Lynch</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/frugal-advice-for-the-gadget-addicted">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-5"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-5-best-waterproof-laptop-cases">The 5 Best Waterproof Laptop Cases</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-tech-gadgets-with-the-best-resale-value">8 Tech Gadgets With the Best Resale Value</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-buy-a-new-computer-without-breaking-your-budget">How to Buy a New Computer Without Breaking Your Budget</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-ways-being-late-on-tech-trends-saves-you-money">5 Ways Being Late on Tech Trends Saves You Money</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-buy-a-laptop-computer">How to Buy a Laptop Computer</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Shopping Technology avoiding impulse buys gadgets ipod laptops saving on cell phones Fri, 25 Feb 2011 14:00:10 +0000 Jesse Lynch 495633 at http://www.wisebread.com Buying a New Smartphone Without Extending Your Contract http://www.wisebread.com/buying-a-new-smartphone-without-extending-your-contract <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/buying-a-new-smartphone-without-extending-your-contract" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/new_smartphone.jpg" alt="Smartphone" title="Smartphone" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="167" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Buying a new phone is great, especially since&nbsp;most carriers will give you a hefty discount ($199 vs. $529 for retail) in exchange for extending your contract for two years.</p> <p>Why would anyone hesitate to trade two years for a $329 discount? There are lots of reasons:</p> <ul> <li>They hate their service but love their phone (iPhone anyone?)<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>They're waiting for the phone they want to become available on a &quot;better&quot; carrier (Verizon<em>-cough-cough</em>)<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>They don't like being tied down</li> </ul> <p>I was recently forced to go this route because I am on <a href="http://www.thewriterscoin.com/2010/12/22/my-cellphone-plan-better-than-yours/">a sweet plan</a> that is so heavily discounted, I <em>had</em> to pay retail.</p> <p>I upgraded to a newer, better, faster phone without extending my contract and only paid $215. If you include the taxes and activation fees that come with extending your contract for two years, I actually paid less than most people would!</p> <p>Here are four tips I followed to&nbsp;buy a new phone without giving those evil carriers what they want:</p> <h2>Research</h2> <p>It all starts with research. The carriers will tout the newest phones with the latest features, but they aren't necessarily <em>that </em>much better. When a carrier says stuff like &quot;this phone will keep you connected to your friends via Facebook,&quot; you know they're talking crap. Most smartphones can do most tasks, so don't fall for carriers' marketing spin.</p> <p>You have to rely on yourself to know the facts. Read reviews on sites like <a href="http://www.engadget.com/">Engadget</a> and <a href="http://www.gizmodo.com">Gizmodo</a>. See what <em>Consumer Reports</em> has to say. Ask your friends what features they use and like. Ask the people who follow you on Twitter.</p> <p>Just don't walk into a carrier's store and ask the person behind the counter what the best phone is...it isn't in your best interest.</p> <h2>Hold the Phone</h2> <p>After you've done your research and narrowed it down to two or three phones, it's essential that you actually hold them in your hand and test them out.</p> <p>You're trying to answer crucial questions like:</p> <ul> <li>How does it feel in your hand?</li> <li>Do you need a keyboard?</li> <li>How is the screen's responsiveness?</li> <li>How does the interface work for you?</li> <li>Will other people think you're cool if you have this phone?</li> </ul> <p>I went into two different T-Mobile stores a couple of times to play with two different phones: the <a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B003TXSKNE?ie=UTF8&amp;tag=thwrsco-20&amp;linkCode=xm2&amp;camp=1789&amp;creativeASIN=B003TXSKNE">Samsung Vibrant</a> and the <a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0042RUOFI?ie=UTF8&amp;tag=thwrsco-20&amp;linkCode=xm2&amp;camp=1789&amp;creativeASIN=B0042RUOFI">HTC G2</a>. The screen on the Vibrant was amazing, but the G2 had a keyboard. They were two totally different phones with their own pluses and minuses.</p> <p>Reviews help, but the best way to know if a phone works for you is by holding it and testing it.</p> <h2>Buying It: Use Craigslist and eBay</h2> <p>Craigslist and eBay are a great way to&nbsp;find phones that are in great condition at heavy discounts.</p> <p>Ideally you'll find a phone that has been well taken care of. That means you may have to buy a phone that has been out there for a few months already. Nobody said this was going to be a free ride.</p> <p>Also, make sure to ask your local carrier's store if they have any refurbished or returned phones. These are practically new but have to be sold for less because they've been opened and used.</p> <p>I was lucky enough to find a guy online selling a <a href="http://www.google.com/phone/detail/nexus-one">Nexus One</a> for $365 that looked brand new. He had put a screen protector and body glove on it from day one so it was almost like I was buying a new phone at a used price.</p> <h2>Sell Your Old Phone</h2> <p>Selling your old phone will help you offset the price of the phone you just bought. Lots of people sell their old phones on eBay and Craigslist, so making yours stand out is important if you want to get top dollar. Some things you can do to make your listing stand out:</p> <ul> <li>Include any extra chargers, car chargers, docks, or batteries you have</li> <li>Include the original box and manual if you have them</li> <li>Lots of close-up, quality pictures</li> <li><a href="http://www.thewriterscoin.com/2010/11/05/buying-a-new-cellphone-an-obsession/">Upgrade the software on your own</a></li> <li>Use spell-check so you don't come off like a psycho</li> </ul> <p>See what other people are selling the phone for, and if you can make your listing stand out, you might get top dollar to offset the purchase of your new phone.</p> <p>I sold my two-and-a-half-year-old G1 for $150 because I included every accessory I had, took time to craft a good listing, and upgraded it to the latest Android version. That made my phone stand out, and I listed it for a relatively high price.</p> <h2>Enjoy Your New Phone!</h2> <p>Now you have a new(ish) phone and you don't have to commit to another two years with your carrier. So when Verizon finally comes out with the iPhone, you'll be ready to jump ship and enjoy the latest iPhone without being on the worst network, according to <a href="http://blogs.consumerreports.org/electronics/2010/12/consumer-reports-cell-phone-survey-att-worst.html"><em>Consumer Reports</em></a>.</p> <p><em>Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links, and I will earn a commission for any purchase made through these links.</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/carlos-portocarrero">Carlos Portocarrero</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/buying-a-new-smartphone-without-extending-your-contract">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-5"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-apps-that-actually-pay-you-to-shop">7 Apps That Actually Pay You to Shop</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-10-best-couponing-apps">The 10 Best Couponing Apps</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/frugal-advice-for-the-gadget-addicted">Frugal Advice for the Gadget Addicted</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/cheap-smartphones-which-ones-are-worth-it">Cheap Smartphones: Which Ones Are Worth It?</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-ways-google-wallet-can-save-you-money">5 Ways Google Wallet Can Save You Money</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Shopping Technology cell phones contracts saving on cell phones smartphones Wed, 05 Jan 2011 14:00:11 +0000 Carlos Portocarrero 418132 at http://www.wisebread.com