If you really want to buy the new iPhone 8 or iPhone X handset when they go on sale, it won’t be cheap. But it can be less expensive. I’ve a few tricks to help you save money on the latest Apple mobile phones.
You probably either love or hate Apple, but if you love Apple you probably waited excitedly to see what the new iPhone 8 and iPhone X handsets would be like when announced at the new Steve Jobs Theatre in California.
Well, the biggest changes were with the X (or 10). It’s pretty much a whole new phone. It’s lost the familiar home button and you’ll now use facial recognition to unlock it. I’m not sure how easy that’ll be to use on the London Underground! There are also a number of gimmicks such as animated emojis.
The iPhone 8 looks pretty similar to the iPhone 7 but is meant to be faster and have a better camera. Both new models can be charged wirelessly (if you buy the charging pad separately!), and there’s still no standard headphone socket.
As ever, these improvements don’t come cheap. The iPhone X starts at £999 for the 64GB model and hits a massive £1,149 for the 256GB model. You’ll be able to preorder this phone from 27th October and buy from the 3rd of November.
The iPhone 8 is priced similarly to how the iPhone 7 was last year (by the way the 7 is now cheaper). You’ll pay £699 for the 64GB phone or £849 for the 256GB phone. These go on sale 22nd September 2017 with pre-orders starting 15th September.
For me, the biggest barrier to upgrading (other than price!) is that headphone socket. I’m often charging my phone with a portable battery and listening to music at the same time, meaning I’d need an extra dongle, which I’d no doubt lose!
I used to upgrade every couple of years, but last year I kept hold of my two-year old iPhone 6 rather than get the 7. And you know what? My phone still works fine. It’s done everything I need it to. So I’ll be holding out for as long as I can before changing handsets – and that’s the best value for money!
But if you’re adamant you want (or need) to upgrade your phone when the new iPhones are available, well here’s how to save some cash.
1. Avoid upgrading or buying on a contract and go SIM only
One of the most expensive ways to buy any new phone, not just the iPhone, is to buy it through your mobile network. I’m not even going to bother comparing contract prices at the different networks as there are far cheaper ways to get your hands on the new phones.
Why mobile contracts are bad for your pocket
You’d normally upgrade as part of a 24-month contract. By doing this you’ll essentially be taking out a loan on the handset and paying interest each month. The extra they charge can easily be hundreds of pounds.
If your monthly charge is a combination of handset and tariff then it’s also easy to get caught in the trap of continuing to pay for the handset after the contract ends. Again, quickly adding up if you don’t switch straight away.
The cheaper alternative
Your cheapest option is to buy the handset outright (more on this below) then get a 30-day or 12-month SIM with a network like GiffGaff or Three. You should be able to get by paying less than £12 a month for your minutes, texts and data.
Pick of the SIM only deals
- Three offer 4GB and unlimited minutes for £10 a month, though you need to pay £3 more a month if you want the Feel At Home feature.
- GiffGaff offers 750 minutes and 3GB of data for £12 a month
- BT Mobile has decent SIM only deals for existing broadband customers. You can currently get 5GB for £11 a month, plus a £40 Amazon voucher.
2. Bring down the cost of the handset
If you struggle to find the new iPhone 8 or 8 Plus in stock, then this iStock website is fantastic. It has near real-time updates on all the different models in available in official Apple shops. You can also try Currys or John Lewis,
Even so, you’re probably thinking, how the hell can I afford a £700 phone?! Here are a few ways to make it more affordable:
Watch out for “upfront” that costs more
If you buy the handset only from Apple or another store, you’ll pay the real price. However some networks, including O2, have the cheek to charge you even more when you do this alongside a contract.
Be careful too of 0% interest deals on handsets that still work out more expensive. Tesco Mobile for example charges £648 for an iPhone 7 32GB over two years – that’s £49 more than the handset’s price. Go figure.
Pay with a 0% interest spending credit card
As long as you make the minimum repayment each month and know you can afford to pay the card off before the 0% period ends, you can again spread the cost out with a specialist 0% purchase credit card.
Get cashback on a contract
Buy it abroad
This one won’t be possible for everyone, but it’s a goody if you can. Though exchange rates aren’t as favourable as they have been, you can still save on an iPhone if you buy it in the States.
Of course, you need to be going there anyway, but if you do have a holiday planned, wait until then and you’ll make a decent saving. I did this two years ago when buying Becky’s iPhone 6s, saving us £100.
At the time of writing, buying $699 (the price of a basic iPhone 8) is around £526. You’ve got to add tax on top, which varies depending on the state you visit, but even adding on 9% will still save you around £125.
That’s actually the price you could pay for one leg of a flight to New York with Norwegian Air!
If you are going to do this, make sure you pay with a specialist travel card, and if it’s on a credit card, pay it off in full ASAP to avoid interest charges. Monzo is a good free-fee option if you don’t want a credit card or have a poor credit rating,
3. Sell your old phone to fund the new one
If you really do want the new phone, then try to offset it through selling your old phone. From my experience you’ll get the most money from eBay.
However as soon as a new phone is announced prices for older handsets fall in value, so don’t leave it too long.
4. Don’t sign up for the Apple Upgrade Programme
I’d stay clear of Apple’s scheme where you can get a new handset every 11 months. It works out far cheaper to save up each month for a year and combine that cash with any money you raise from selling your handset.
I’ve discussed this more in a recent episode of my Cash Chats podcast.