Going Mobile: The Cell Phone for Your Budget

You need a new cell phone. Well, everyone needs a new cell phone these days because of two reasons. First, land lines are an ancient fad more than a requirement. Second, the technology moves so fast these days your newish phone purchased a few months ago is now old news. You need something that helps you in work and leisure, has a decent data plan and gives you the opportunity to surf the web and social media with ease. Oh, and it has the capability to make calls as well.

Here’s the thing — choosing a phone, yet alone a phone plan, isn’t easy these days. There are many things to consider. How much data do you want on your plan? Are any accessories needed? Do you need additional abilities to surf the net and make calls in international areas? Plus, do you want a smartphone, a feature phone or a simple cell phone that allows you to make or receive calls? And then there’s the most important question…what can your budget handle?

In other words, purchasing a phone in these times is almost as difficult as selecting a new vehicle, negotiation included. Here are a few items to consider in order to prepare an appropriate budget.

What type of phone

Smartphones are the current technology. For those who are just coming out of their caves, smartphones are like small computers. Actually, some are better with HD screens, large amounts of storage, and the ability to perform multiple activities at once. Those looking for smartphone capabilities but not the technology may wish to purchase a feature phone, which is an in-between model. Of course, manufacturers still produce basic cell phones with the simple capability of making calls. Yes, shocking.

What type of plan

In many cases it’s not the phone that costs the most — it’s the plan associated with the device. It comes down to how much call and data time you request. Unlimited local and long distance calls as well as the use of many gigabytes of data may cost over $100 a month. Add more phones via a family plan and the cost increases. Some options also provide options for wireless land lines in your home or free tablets with the purchase of service. Before you know it, the first bill runs somewhere in the area of $200 or above.

Plan or pay-as-you-go

There’s another option to service other than a monthly contract — the pay-as-you-go plan. Companies like Tracfone and Net10 offer opportunities to purchase phones at retailers like Walmart or Target and select a card with a certain amount of usage time. When the time expires or is used up a new card must be purchased. The upside to this is the ability to choose a lower-cost time limit should you not use the phone as much. The downside is you could be out of minutes at a critical moment.

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