Most people today use cell phones for work and for play. When a person locks into a contract, they usually have to wait two years for a new phone. However, there are now early upgrade deals for people who want to trade in their current phone.
When weighing this decision, however, consumers should really think about the benefits and costs of upgrading. After all, timing is everything. Sometimes, it is beneficial to take the plunge and other times it could do more harm than good. Smart consumers should think about how they use their current phone, the possible benefits of an upgrade, and what the financial cost will be. Various carriers have early upgrade plans, but they vary when it comes to cost and details,. The following is a guide for when to upgrade early.
What Exactly Is an Upgrade?
First off, people need to understand what an upgrade is. This is when a person trades their current phone in for an advanced one earlier than scheduled. Most people have to wait two years from when their contract is opened to upgrade. An early upgrade is a deal offered by carriers so that consumers can invest in the latest models from companies like Apple and Google. The first company to start the early upgrade trend was T-Mobile with their JUMP! program. The major carriers followed suit, with different fees and repayment details.
How Does It Work?
Consumers who want to trade in their phone pay a monthly fee to upgrade early. Often, this amount is a percentage of the retail price. Thus, most people do not have to pay an upfront amount when they trade their own model in for a new one. The exception would be T-Mobile’s program that asks for an initial down payment followed by the monthly ones.
Trade the Old Phone In
When people upgrade early, they are asked to trade their old model in for the new one. This can happen in person at the store or via a mail-in. However, if a consumer forgets to trade in their old phone, they could end up paying full price for the new model. A new upgrade cycle is then put in place once the trade and payments are complete.
Be Aware of Hidden Charges
Smart account holders will ask about hidden fees and how the new model affects their monthly bill. When people buy a cheaper phone thanks to a contract, the cost is included in the monthly bill. An early upgrade could include hidden charges. Smart consumers should take the time to compare different carries before they invest in the upgrade. It can be easy to succumb to the allure of a new phone. However, it is important to really weigh all of the options.
People upgrade for a variety of reasons. For example, someone who has had a phone for over a year may be tired of this model or have experienced some bothersome wear and tear. A slow operating phone can also make it hard to use the GPS or to use the phone for work. Service plans for a phone are costly, so some people may just decide to go with the early upgrade if they have been having issues. A smart professional does not want to be left behind when new phones are released with faster systems and better features. New models are constantly being released. Some people just want to try out the new technology.
Compare the Rates of Different Carriers
Smart consumers can compare early upgrade plans online. This is a chance to see what T-Mobile’s plan looks like in comparison to Verizon’s Edge program. Some people are incredibly loyal to their carrier whereas others may decide to invest in a new plan if the benefits are there. Understanding how different groups do business helps people make smart financial decisions when weighing whether or not to trade their old phone in. And of course, one should make sure the new model is really needed.
Know Your Budget
The worst thing a person can do is invest in an early upgrade only to see their new monthly bill be beyond their means. Asking specific questions of carriers is important. Consumers should know if they have to put money down on an early upgrade, and they should know how this might change their monthly bill too.
Consider the Work Life Benefits
Consumers should upgrade early if it will improve their professional life. Some of the latest apps work better on new models. Exploring the work-related benefits helps a person decide if there is some bang for their buck in this decision. For example, if there are new ways to collaborate with coworkers or improved calendar and organizational tools, then this decision could have benefits outside of wanting a new phone.
Consider How the Phone is Used
Different people use their phones for different purposes. Some people only use the model for calling and texting whereas others make use of a range of apps and tools. Someone who does not use their phone for much more than calling may not benefit from an upgrade. This comes down to needs versus wants. Does a person want a new phone because it is the trendy thing, or could they really benefit from the latest technology?
Research the Different Phones and Related Deals
Carriers sometimes offer deals not just on an early upgrade but on specific types of phones too. This could happen because they have a deal with a company or because they have stock they want to unload. Consumers could save a lot of money with an early upgrade if they invest in such a deal. To do this, one should think about their current phone's features, which phones are available for a discount, and if the new model will add anything special to his or her life.
It Could Change Your Daily Life
You don’t think about how much of your life is spent on your phone. People use these models for everything from calling and texting to emailing, playing games, using GPS technology, and more. It can be boring to sometimes have a phone for over a year. Investing in an early upgrade is a chance to jump-start a person's professional and personal life. Of course, this should be a financially smart decision. A new phone can be a great present for the holidays or for a birthday, among other things. Life can seem a little different with a new model in place.
Cell phones are an integral piece of a person's life today. An early upgrade can be a great decision for someone who has an old phone or has had some issues with this model. However, there are very real costs to this decision. One should think about the down payment, if there is one, and how this will affect the monthly bill. Different plans have different details about the length of additional fees. Asking questions and considering the benefits helps consumers make a smart decision for themselves. New phones are released all of the time. It is important to think about how upgrading would affect one's professional and personal life. If the benefits outweigh the cons, then it is time to dive in and make use of an early upgrade plan.
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