Consider this when buying your next cell phone.

Joe Kramer
Director of Wireless Services
| January 30, 2007

Many people have asked me for advice on how to save money when shopping for their next cell phone. I always tell them to follow a couple of simple rules.

  • Don't buy "more" phone than you are going to use
  • Don't buy ?less? phone than you need
  • Consider the cost and availability of the accessories
  • Consider purchasing used phone

Don't buy more phone than you need or going to use? Yes, some people have the tendency to be lured into making that purchase of the latest and greatest ?10 mega pixel, remote car starting, video conferencing, internet surfing, WiFi, Bluetooth enable phone?, simply because the person selling you the phone has convinced you that you won't be able to live without it!

I can almost guarantee you that you will not use even a tenth of the features offered by many of the more sophisticated cell phones on the market today. (Except for the remote car starting ? that would be pretty cool). Remember when you got your first camera phone? You were taking pictures of everything for the first couple of days until the novelty wore off and you realized very few cell phone cameras can produce quality pictures. Again, don't make the mistake of purchasing a phone with features you don't need or ever going to use.

Now for the flip side of the coin, purchasing a phone that is not capable of doing what is required will end up costing you more money in the end. I find the biggest mistake most consumers make is not realizing that you need a ?Bluetooth enabled? phone to use a wireless headset/car-kits(some cars have this feature already installed). There are Bluetooth adaptors on the market today that will allow you to "convert" your non Bluetooth phone, but that of course will cost you more money, not to mention the inconvenience of carrying around yet another device attached to your phone. Another mistake is not realizing the phone you have settled for does not have the basic ?assumed features? that you were accustomed to using on a daily basis. Both of these common mistakes will have you returning the phone to the store (hopefully before its too late) or simply purchasing yet another phone thereby costing you even more money.

Considering the cost and availability of accessories is often overlooked when shopping for a new or used cell phone. Unfortunately the price of a typical car charger for a Motorola RIZR can be significantly different than that of a Blackberry 8703, Sony Ericsson W710 or Samsung D900. Now let's say you don't like the headset that came with your phone and need to find an adaptor that will allow you to use your own pair. Are you going to be able to locate the necessary adaptor? How well is it going to work? How much is it going to cost? These are some of the questions you should have the answers to before making your final purchasing decision.

Between upgrades, switching carries, new releases, sheer boredom and the fact that the prices of new phones continue to drop, there is a steady supply of good quality used phones on the market today. Think about it; you can probably get a used phone with all of the accessories included for about ¼ the cost of a new phone alone. Not to mention there should be numerous reviews about the phones features, ease of use, and most importantly ?Durability?. You will however want to limit your search to phones 6 months and newer to avoid having to purchase a new battery.

Following a couple simple guidelines combined with a little online research can save you a lot of time and money in the long run. If you need advise on new or used phones join our new forum and post your questions.