Buying a phone without a contract – making it easier.

It’s Christmas, and mobile phones are high on a lot of gift lists. However, unless you’re going to take on the monthly payments and enter into a contract for someone else, it’s definitely quite an expensive gift.

So how do you afford a phone and pay for it out-right? Well, there’s a few ways.

I brought down the cost for my son’s phone by getting a reconditioned one and simply saving up for the thing.

As a way of saving, I simply pretended that I was paying for a monthly contract – putting about £25 away each month before he received his first ever phone. This was soon enough to pay for the phone, which I got reconditioned (more on that shortly), and then it was just a matter of getting a monthly SIM-only deal to get him connected. Pop the SIM-card in and, boom, it’s all done.

Get a reconditioned phone
If you don’t mind receiving your phone in a plain box, having a reconditioned or refurbished phone can save you a whole load of cash. These are usually sold in various conditions, categorised depending on the way they look. If you get an “excellent” one then you’d really find it impossible to tell the difference between the phone you unbox and a brand new handset.

Take a look at these if you’re looking to save some cash, as there’s more and more handsets being kept in high-quality cases. This is good for the reconditioned market and the for the initial owners. It’s worth more when sold (because it’s in such good condition) and it means there’s more unspoiled handsets on the market.

Trading in and selling old kit
Older phones can either be sold on eBay or sold to handset recycling companies too. Indeed, some handset manufacturers, such as Samsung and Apple, will offer money off a new phone if you have a phone to trade-in. Even if you don’t think it’s worth a great deal, off-loading handsets from that secret drawer in the kitchen could see you earn a little money towards a new handset.

Start with your newest and most scratch-free phone, then just head to a phone recycling website to see how much you can expect to receive. It’s a quick way to earn cash and usually you’ll just need to send the phone off via Freepost. However, if you want to potentially earn a bit more, you can head to eBay and sell your phone there instead.

Paying in instalments
Buying a phone without entering into a monthly contract is a big cost and yes, even the companies selling phones this way realise that fact. It’s for this reason that many are offering monthly payment options to finance the phone. Some use PayPal credit or their own credit facilities. Whilst the mere mention of a loan might be off-putting to some, it’s no different to the traditional phone contract.

Getting a phone via any of the above methods also means you’re not tied into one supplier. You can switch networks easily depending on cost, coverage and benefits. As an example, in recent months I’ve switched my son twice and – with 30 day deals available – you have that freedom to move without any contract clauses or payments.

Don’t forget, however you fund your next phone, do keep a case on your new handset and treat it well. You can use it as a trade-in or to sell when you want to upgrade to the next shiny phone.