I have a friend, who will remain nameless – you know they won’t be my friend anymore if I blog about them – who for many, many years past the “life expectancy” of her cell phone carried it around shamelessly pecking on number “2” for “A-B-C” to send a text message. Yes, it’s true. Yes, it was in 2013. We – my group of wonderful gals in our unit at Fort Sill – had a phone party for her to welcome her to the great land of technology and communication the day she announced that she and her husband had headed to AT&T and she had purchased a bright and shiny iPhone 5. I don’t know that any of us have had that good of a belly laugh. We love her but that old phone, well, it had to go.
Are you one of those flip-phone from the dark ages carrying people? Or are you one of those that stands in line when they release the next big thing? I’m somewhere in between. I like the new technology. I won’t lie. I just don’t like paying for it.
I have some tips for you, much like I and my group of gals had for my friend when she headed to upgrade, that should help you navigate the thought process of whether it’s time to trade in your old phone for something new.
The best advice I can give you is to know your contract. We have been with AT&T since the day that Albert Einstein turned on a light bulb. Seriously though, when we signed up with our original phones they were AllTel, then Cingular, then AT&T. I honestly don’t know if they even offer the plan they do to us to anyone else because it’s that old. If you’re like us, remind your carrier than you’re loyal. Longevity speaks volumes and years of paying your bill on time does too.
The second best advice I can offer is to know your needs. How much do you use your phone? I am permanently attached to mine. I run a social media network. I check my email. I take photos. It is my navigation system, my MP3 player, my online banking system, my coupon reference point, and much more. Point is, I rely on this phone a lot. When I choose a new phone I look for those things that are important to me. For instance, when iPhone 5 came out with a new camera and all the upgrades I decided it was time. Recently they released it in color – I don’t need color. I have a case. You get my point, know what you need and if it’s worth the money.
Go into the store prepared. Research and know what you want before you walk into the door and can be “upsold”. Check online first. There can be a difference between in store and online upgrading, especially in regard to rebates. Also research what carrier you want. If you’re loyal and want to stay, great, but know what others are offering so you can drive a bargain. If you’re ready for a change, see what other networks have to offer. For U.S. coverage, PCMag runs an independent annual test called Fastest Mobile Networks in which they find out which networks have the best service.
Last, don’t forget that your old phone holds value. You can trade it in. There are in-store options as well as online. I’ve found the best deals online but they do not have instant gratification. Take that into consideration when you trade.
Here are some places to see what your phone might be worth:
How do you decide when it’s time to upgrade?
What is the most amount you’ve ever spent on an upgrade? Was it worth it?