As cell phone technology continues to advance, manufacturers are adding more and more features. Unfortunately, better technology also means higher prices. Below, we look at five factors you should consider to make sure you are getting the best deal.

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There are two size factors to look at: physical size and internal memory size. Affordable phones can be found in almost any size, but the larger they are, the more expensive they will be. Fortunately, price does not increase significantly with the size, so it’s really a matter of personal choice. What does have a big effect on the price is the size of the internal memory. Memory for mobile devices is expensive, so if you want to save money you shouldn’t buy one with more storage than you need.

Most affordable phones run on the Android operating system. There are more basic platforms available, but they are not much cheaper. Basic Android phones can be quite cheap, but watch out for unneeded customizations by the manufacturer that may raise the price. Cheaper phones often have low-quality cameras, so if taking pictures is important to you, it’s worthwhile to spend a little more. Other issues with low-priced phones are battery life and durability. Check out what others are saying about their phones to make sure you don’t get one that will die before you can recharge it or break and force you to replace it.

Outside of the phone itself, your plan is something you need to put a lot of thought into. The first thing you’ll want to consider is whether you want to be on a contract or not. Pay-as-you-go plans are good if you won’t be using your phone much for calls or texts. If you will be, look for an unlimited plan. These may be available for both prepaid and contracted plans. Mobile internet can be expensive, so unless you are sure you will use it often, you can start with a cheap plan that offers limited data use. You can also consider getting a Wi-Fi plan if you will be using it in locations where your carrier offers Wi-Fi coverage.

Even the large carriers have dead zones, so make sure that your home and the places you intend to travel are within their service area. This is especially important when using a budget carrier as these often cover a more limited area.

For most people, price is the most important factor when choosing a phone. If you sign on to a contracted plan, the carrier may offer you a free or discounted phone. Just make sure your monthly cost doesn’t turn this into a bad deal. You also have the option of buying a new phone. Before you buy one from the carrier, shop around for a better deal. If you really want to save money, consider buying a used or refurbished phone. Used phones are the cheapest and can be as good as a new one.

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