You may be able to snag a smartphone for around $200 (or free!) with a one-year service contract, but the cost to operate a smartphone is not free or cheap. Whether you or your parents cover the cost, the monthly cellphone bill can take a bite out of the family budget. However, if you’re a savvy shopper, you can score a great deal.
Check all of the major mobile carriers, smaller carriers and brands, then weigh your options. You can usually find two common smartphone deals. One type offers a discount on the upfront price of a phone. Another comes as a bundle deal when you buy a new plan or trade in a used device.
Plans with talk, text and data can be pricey! A basic smartphone plan with one line might set you back around $75 a month. Plans with multiple lines cost more, but the cost per line is usually less. The price depends on which carrier you use and what’s included in the plan.
• Unlimited plans are the most expensive with unlimited talk, text and data.
• Shared plans may have a monthly limit on the data that can be used by everyone on the plan.
• Plans with limits on talk, text and data are generally the cheapest, but be aware of plan caps to avoid burning through your data each month. Overage fees can add up fast.
• Prepaid plans have no annual service contracts. With this type of plan, you prepay for service.
When you’re ready to manage your own mobile device, be smart about the costs. Start saving money now in your Dinero Teens savings account at Advancial.
One-year cost of a smartphone
If you buy a smartphone with a 12-month service agreement, you’ll pay about $60 a month for a basic plan with 4GB of data. If you use more data for streaming music and videos, the costs may be higher!
Cost to buy a smartphone [2 $100 bills stacked] $200
Yearly cost to operate [7 $100 bills & $20, stacked] $720
Source: Consumer Reports. Hypothetical example based on average monthly cost for a basic smartphone plan with one phone line with 4GB of data per month.