Personal Finance

Tips for Buying a Mobile Phone on a Low Budget

Mobile phones are the way of the future and almost everyone owns one these days. If you are living on a low-income, you may think that a mobile phone is out of your reach. However, if you are careful about what type of phone and what type of plan you use, owning a mobile phone can be very manageable. In addition, most employers, schools and other agencies assume that most of the workers, students, or clients have a mobile phone and will expect you to be easy to contact no matter where you are located.
There are several tips below that will help you purchase a mobile phone on a budget, and stay up-to-date with the latest technology.

Set Limit before Shopping
One of the most important things you can do is to set a limit before you even start shopping for a mobile phone. You should know how much you can spend to purchase a phone and how much you can pay towards a mobile phone plan. Take a good look at your current budget and determine how much money you have available after you take care of all your major household bills. Make a commitment to yourself to not go over this budget, so you do not put yourself in financial debt.

Prepaid or Contract Plan
You will need to determine if you want to purchase a prepaid plan or a contract plan. A prepaid plan is one where you pay for the mobile service prior to using it. You will pay for a set number of minutes, text messages, and data, and when your time runs out for the month, you will no longer be able to use your phone. The main benefit of a prepaid plan is that you will never be overcharged for your mobile services.

A contract plan requires you to make an agreement to pay a set amount of money each month for a certain mobile service for a set period of time, which is typically between 12 and 36 months. With a contract plan, you will be given so many talk minutes, text, and data each month, but if you go over these set amounts, you will be charged for these, and usually at a higher rate. These plans are generally less expensive per month than prepaid plans, but they are also riskier because you could have extra charges added to your bill and you may not notice until your next bill comes.

Check out any number of comparison sites to see who has the most competitive plan for you. Also, keep in mind that the cheapest plan isn’t always the best plan – really think about your phone usage and then pick the best priced plan based on this.

Things to Look for in a Mobile Phone
When shopping for a mobile phone, you will find a wide variety of options available to you. You first need to narrow down the selection to those offered by the phone carrier of the mobile phone plan you have decided to use. You should also realize that you will pay more for mobile phones with added features, so be sure you find a mobile phone that only has the features that you need.

Consider how much memory you need for your phone because more memory will cost more. You also want to make sure that the mobile phone comes with a phone charger or otherwise you will have to purchase one yourself. Phone that have internet capabilities are also more expensive than just standard phones. It is important that you determine what features are important to you and how much you are willing to pay for them.

Things to think about when buying the actual phone set:
– Many mobile providers will give you a free phone based on the plan you sign up for.
– ebay is a great place to buy unlocked smart phones for low prices
– See if your work will cover the costs of your phone or partial costs, especially if you use it for work
– Discount websites like dealsdirect, oo and others may have great deals
– As mentioned before when looking for a mobile plan, visit comparison sites to see if you can find a deal.

It is important to take your time and shop around for the right mobile phone and the right phone plan. After all, you may be stuck in this plan for the next several years, so you need to make sure you can afford it. Be sure to always read over the entire contract, especially the small print, before making any final decision. This can help you save a lot of money down the road by not getting stuck with the wrong plan.

Read about other great money saving tips in our personal finance and lifestyles sections!

Image courtesy of scottchan /

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