Are you tired of hearing about how your friend scored the exact same phone as you for half the price? Does the thought of spending hours performing online research on bargain sites make you feel exhausted before you being?
The reality is that if you spend 24 hours doing research, but only save a hundred dollars (or even $500), you need to ask yourself: Are you really saving anything?
Your time is worth something. Consider your hourly rate (or what you believe you’re worth) and compare that to the time you spend bouncing from site to site.
There are some great and reputable sites that offer low prices for quality phones, and they’re not hard to find. Ask for recommendations, use your SEO savviness to weed out the best ones, and don’t waste your time digging into the dregs of Google for spam-riddled “bargain sites.”
That’s your foundation, but here’s where your frugalista can really kick in.
Timing is everything
’Tis the season for new phone releases, and it’s right around the corner. Autumn is famously the time when companies release their newest phones in preparation for the holidays.
If you’re up for scoring a “not quite the latest generation but close enough” phone, September and October is the best time to act. Used phones can be scored for a steal, while new phones from legit businesses go on clearance. If you can hold out for the fall, you’re golden.
Another option, of course, is a trade-in. There’s a small window of time when businesses will offer you top dollar for your old phone as a trade-in. This is like investing in the stock market, and there’s no guarantee the offer price will go higher or even stay at that amount.
Keep a watch on the offers and trade yours in when you’re impressed by the dollar amount (but don’t get greedy).
Use Uncle Sam
If you miss out on the best trade-ins but still want to get something out of your old phone to offset the cost of a new one, consider making a donation.
If you donate a phone to one of the many tax-deductible programs, you’ll be paying less in taxes this year. But make sure you document the value of the phone in case of an audit.
Finally, think long and hard before risking a used phone purchase from the likes of Craigslist or eBay. Does it sound too good to be true? Well, you have a pretty good idea how that story will end.