The iPhone is the hottest phone on the market, everyone has one from Beyonce and Kim Kardashian, to the poorest student. Although, the reality is they are the most expensive handsets out there. If you really want one (there are great alternatives that cost a lot less), we can show you how to bag yourself an iPhone bargain.
Don’t get the latest model
Think about it. Do you really need the newest iPhone on the market? Older models often drop in price following the launch of a new model, so think about what features are important to you.
Sure, real tech geeks may well want the very latest handset model on the market, but the rest of us could probably choose one released a year ago and not notice the difference.
Negotiate extras, not the iPhone itself
iPhones are seriously expensive, not just for you, but the company too. Apple are notoriously strict in their price setting and they have a bottom line price that they almost never budge on. This means that the amount your service provider can knock off an iPhone is significantly less than any of their major rivals’ handsets.
However, this doesn't mean that you can't get some money knocked off (they are able to budge a little bit). Once you get that, ask for them to throw in some extras, such as cases, Apple TV - anything!
Buy a handset upfront
If you can afford it (and it’s tough going for a student), buying a handset outright is the cheapest option. Getting a sim only deal (we love GiffGaff for example) will provide you with a cheap rolling contract, and you won't be locked into an expensive contract for years while you pay off your phone.
Haggle, Haggle, Haggle!
If you can’t afford to buy a handset up front, make sure you haggle, haggle, haggle. Never accept the initial price they are offering you. If you haggle on monthly mobile phone contracts you can slash the price you pay.
- Check your usage - Look at your bills, and find out exactly how much of your monthly allowance you actually use. Like, do you really need unlimited calls, text and internet? Know exactly what you need before you go into negotiations.
- Look around, and tell the provider how much you want to pay.
- Call rather than go into the shop - If you find situations like this a little intimidating (like most of us!), then you’re better off getting on the phone rather than going into your local branch. You want to be as comfortable and confident as possible when going into negotiations with trained sales people.
- Don’t feel obliged to make a decision there and then - If you reach a dead-end and it seems like cancelling your contract is all that’s left, don’t feel like you have to. Tell the advisor you need more time to think, make a note of the best deal they can offer and ask for an extension.
Check out our Ultimate Guide to Haggling to make sure you bag yourself an awesome deal.
Sell your old phone to fund your new one
It’s probably not going to do the whole job, but selling your old mobile could help you recoup the cost of your new one.
If possible, don’t trade in your phone, sell it on eBay. It’s probably worth more than you think, and more than your carrier is willing to fork over through a trade-in. People on eBay will pay far more for the same device as long as it’s in good condition, or even if it’s not, people are willing to purchase it for parts.
Head over to eBay and plug in the search term for the device you are looking to sell. Make sure to tailor the search so that it will only show listings that have sold, either through auction or Buy it Now. This will let you see devices identical to your own, so you can gauge the right listing price. Make sure you list all items you have with your device. The more you have the better. This includes old cases, the box it came in screen protectors etc.
WARNING: Make sure you wipe the device. You do not want strangers to have any of your details or access into your private life. Back up the phone to your computer and at the very least, restore the phone to factory settings. Take out any external storage in the device and if you include an external storage card, make sure format it so it is cleared of any data. Just deleting files will not remove them completely from those who know how to find them. Make sure you unregister your device from your Apple account, so that its new owner will not be able to get into your account in any way.
You could recycle your phone if it’s junk - there’s no need to let it gather dust. Most service providers offer a recycling centre. So when you call about your contract, ask if they will buy back your old phone.
Buy second hand
Buying a used smartphone can save you some money, but it obviously involves a few risks - like making sure it’s in good condition - and isn't stolen! Apple releases a new model every year or so, and since people always have the itch to upgrade, you can get a fantastic deal on a used Apple smartphone.
- Research the right price - The point of buying a used Apple phone is to get a good price, so make sure you get your research in first. To get the best deal, you need to see how many people are selling that smartphone right now and at what price.
- Pick an unlocked phone over a slightly cheaper locked phone
- On eBay, check only the Buy It Now prices, not the current bids.
- Ignore the median price, not the prices of what you are looking for. Used smartphones come in various levels of condition, so you need to actually click those links and read the description to know whether the condition meets what you are looking for. Once you find such items, note their prices as that’s what your reference is, not items which are in better or worse condition.
- Try buying a phone on social media - That way, you’re less likely to be ripped off if it's from a friend, or a friend of a friend.
- Try and meet in person - You don’t really want to buy a used smartphone online and have it shipped to you, without checking it out in person. Whatever photos you see, even if the other party is willing to do a video call, are not a guarantee of what you are finally going to receive in the mail.
- Weed out honest sellers from the dodgy ones, by letting them know you plan to thoroughly check the phone first, inserting your SIM, checking the cables etc. The more detailed you get about the checks you are going to run, the better. The scammer usually runs away at this point while the honest seller is fine with everything.
Currently with Topcashback you can get up to £170.50 with a package, while with Quidco there is a package with £93 cashback (but don’t assume the more cashback you have, the better the deal).
HOWEVER, use caution. Sometimes, short-term incentives like cashback are often added on to mask the poor overall value of a contract.
If you're new to cashback and are not sure what you're doing, not to worry - check out our Ultimate Guide to Cashback.
Use a comparison tool
When looking for a cheap mobile contract, the single most important thing you can do is to shop around. Have a thorough search through currents deals using specialist comparison sites. We hate to brag, but the best one out there is our Mobile Price Comparison tool.
Oh and don’t fall into the trap of signing up for a new contract in a high street shop, the same contract will usually be available for much less online.
Apple Finance - 0%
Every now and then Apple offer 0% financing in the hope that you will take advantage of the lack of interest to pay and the ability to offset the price payable over a number of months.
However, there are some caveats to this (of course!). The 0% financing that Apple offers from time to time is restricted to a ten month period and for orders over the price of £449 (these figures have and will change, so make sure you check).
If after 10 months the you find yourself still paying for the purchase (which is pretty likely eh?), then the interest will no longer be at that original rate.
Also, financing needs approval - there will be financial background checks to make sure you are able to pay off the installments. If you know you'll be able to pay it off in time, go for it - if not, don't touch it with a bargepole.
It's also worth checking our Mobile Phones page, as we list the very best handset and contract deals out there.
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