How to Reduce the Cost of iPhone Ownership

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Smartphones have taken the country by storm. Over half of all Americans now own one, and more iPhones are sold each day than babies are born. What’s not so popular, however, are the increased costs associated with ownership. However, if you do just a bit of research and exercise a little restraint, you’re going to find that there are a number of ways to save. For those of you particularly interested in an iPhone, read on to learn how you can cut your costs.

1. Get a Free Upgrade
Instead of letting that old device collect dust, sell it. A fully functional 16GB iPhone 4S goes for roughly $200 on the electronics-buying website Gazelle. Take that money and purchase an iPhone 5 from one of a number of retailers. If you get one from Target or Walmart you can pay less than $200, which means you end up walking away with a profit.

2. Get One on the Cheap
If you don’t currently own an iPhone, sign up at a deal-sharing website like SlickDeals or FatWallet. They let you know via email when sales and discounts for iPhones are in effect. Just beware that many of these devices sell out quickly, so be prepared to pull the trigger when you spot one.

3. Research Your Data Plan
According to Billshrink, many American households pay for as much as 8GB of data yet only use a fraction of that. Take a look at your current smartphone usage and be sure to get a plan in line with your needs – unless you’re an iPhone addict, there’s just no need for an unlimited plan. If you’re new to smartphone ownership, check the websites of all the major providers and see if there’s a calculator function that can help you get an idea of your iPhone data needs – Verizon is just one that offers this feature. Overpay on your data by just $15 per month and you’re wasting $165 a year, so be sure to get this right.

4. Save on Accessories
If you’ve never owned an iPhone before, you probably have no idea how many accessories you need to maximize your experience and keep your device safe. For starters, a protective cover is always a good idea. You’re probably going to want multiple chargers as well (wall, car, and USB), and let’s not forget a Bluetooth device and possibly a colored skin. Skip buying these items from your carrier where they usually cost the most. Instead, Amazon and eBay are always good bets, or keep an eye on those deal-sharing emails.

5. Consider the Insurance Prudently
If you’re generally good at caring for your devices, you may not need cell phone insurance. Just remember that iPhones are small, which means they’re easier to lose, drop, and get stolen. Give the insurance some serious thought and look closely at the terms of the plan to see if it’s actually a good investment for you. Balance the premiums versus what a replacement device would cost, and the likelihood that you’d ever need one.

Once you have your device in hand, download your apps cautiously. Always look for free alternatives to paid apps that may interest you, and be careful with purchase pop-ups that appear during games. Drop the ball here and you may find yourself with a hefty bill at the end of the month. Saving money on the purchase of an iPhone is important, just don’t forget to keep costs in line once you start using it.

What ways can you think of to save on an iPhone?

Rich Hobbs is a tech writer who focuses on saving money and getting the most bang for your buck.

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