Smartphones are just a normal part of life in the modern age. Sometimes I wonder how any of us got anything done without having access to a small computer in our pockets at all times.

That being said, a new phone can be a pricey investment and having to deal with people on Gumtree or eBay to cop a second-hand unit can be a real pain in the ass. So how can you have a decent tiny computer without having to fork out heaps for a brand new one?

There are a few ways, folks.

1. Go with an older model phone

These days, new phones only really come with one or two new features, some slightly faster internals, and a few more megapixels tacked onto the camera(s). What I’m saying is, you’re generally paying a premium for not much at all, and avoiding this could save you heaps.

A brand new top-of-the-line iPhone XS, for example, will set you back $1,629 from Apple themselves, whereas a new iPhone 8 will cost you $1,149, which is a pretty decent saving. Of course, the further back you venture, the cheaper things get and with iPhones, you can still run the majority of the apps and things you need on older models.

animated mobile phone GIF
Don’t worry, you don’t have travel that far back.

In fact, that latest software – iOS 12.3 – is supported all the way back to the iPhone 5S, which you can pick up for less than $200 these days. Similar rules apply for other brands, too, so if you can find an older model you don’t mind using, why not save yourself the money?

2. You don’t have to have a top-name brand

You can get plenty of good functionality out of a phone which may not be considered a top-name brand, like, again, Apple or its contemporaries. If you can’t justify the cash, branch out into some lesser-known brands.

Oppo, for example, have plenty of handset options at a heap of different price points, so if you can hit a happy medium, go for it. The Oppo R17 Pro goes for a little over $700 and has dual sim capabilities, a 6.4-inch display, a 20-megapixel camera, and 128GB of storage. Not bhed.

3. Hit up that one mate who has a drawer full of old phones

We all have that one friend who keeps every phone they ever owned in a weird drawer which contains nothing else. Now’s the time to use them to your advantage.

Me trying to get old mate on the blower.

See what they have sitting around that they’re not using and ask if you can take it off their hands. Maybe they’ll ask you for a bit of money, maybe they won’t, I guess it depends on the mate. Maybe you could buy them a case of beer or something, whatever works.

At the very least, they should let you borrow something until you can work out a more permanent solution. It’s not like they’re using it.

4. Buy a pre-owned phone directly

You can save yourself so much money buying pre-owned smartphones directly through a manufacturer or authorised third-party reseller, particularly if you time your purchase with the release or announcement of a new model.

The best part about going through a legitimate channel is that you still get a lot of the same guarantees offered on brand new devices. Pre-owned phones bundled with numobile plans, for example, come in a new box with a new charger and data cable (these are Apple certified if we’re talking about iPhones) and even a one year warranty. All of the phones are thoroughly tested and can be paid off over the course of the plan, which will save you from having to fork out heaps on the spot. 

You can also buy directly from brands like Apple, and most of them will have authorised resellers who can offer similar guarantees on pre-owned products. This way, you get the best possible pre-owned product and you don’t have to deal with any creeps. It’s win-win.

phone winning brad keselowski GIF by NASCAR

So if you need a new phone, are sick of forking out more than $1,000, and are tired of the usual pre-owned channels, give one of these alternatives a whirl.

Image: iStock / AntonioGuillem