I’ve already written an extensive Ting Review but there really are two pieces to having any smartphone: the plan and the device. Since I recently was in the market for a used phone I thought I’d look back and see how I did on my previous device to see exactly what the cost per month was on the device. Since a lot of carriers hide the actual cost of a device into an incentive or 2-year contract it’s often hard to know how much the plan is versus the phone, but this is not the case with Ting.
The beauty of being able to BYOD or bring your own device to Ting is that you can buy a quality used phone. Not only can you save significantly over new, but the market for phones can be inefficient, especially if shopping on your local Craigslist. Deals can still be found on eBay, but it is generally more work. I use eBay as a gauge to know what phones are actually worth. And if you’re an iPhone lover like me, it’s worth noting that they tend to hold their value pretty well over time. Now let’s get to the numbers.
After looking back in my email, I found that I purchased my 16 GB iPhone 5c in November 2014 for $125. Now, I don’t recall what they were going for on eBay at the time, but likely around $150 – $200. By knowing what a phone is worth you can capture immediate savings right off the bat. It also ensures that you don’t make the mistake of overpaying.
Before we get to what I sold my old iPhone for, I want to quickly touch on my decision to stick with Ting. It’s now June 2016 and I strongly considered Ting’s competitors, namely Republic Wireless and Google Fi. Although Google Fi’s international network was enticing for my international travels, I realized it is such a small portion of my usage. I would also be paying more for my plan (our average bill is around $33 for 2 phones). Republic Wireless is also compelling and competes better on price, but I decided that I didn’t want to move over to Android. I plan to do a review on best practices when buying a used phone, but I ultimately decided on purchasing a lightly used iPhone 6s 64 GB for $400. I knew this was a great deal since they go for $500 on eBay. Again, I captured immediate savings right off the bat which will help significantly when I decide to upgrade.
It was now time to sell my iPhone 5c. I looked at sold listings on eBay and saw an interesting trend. While some phones that were being listed as auctions were selling for $70-$80, I noticed some buy it now listings that were selling for over $100. Digging into the listings I found they were in no better condition than my 19 month old iPhone 5c and some didn’t include accessories, which I hadn’t planned on including as well.
I decided I’d first try to see just how much the iPhone could fetch and set my sights high. I listed the phone as a buy it now for $115 with $4.99 shipping, just above what others had recently sold for. Just a few hours went buy and my phone had sold! I was astonished. After owning a phone for 19 months, I sold it for just under what I bought it for. After accounting for shipping, Paypal and eBay fees I netted $101.61. Total cost per month for my iPhone over 19 months: $1.23.
It’s amazing just how affordable smartphone ownership can be. This strategy can be replicated for any phone at any price point. Your own cost of ownership will certainly depend on many different factors, but this is the best way I’ve found to keep cell phone costs down. Even though I spent significantly more on my most recent phone, the cost of ownership will still be a fraction of what most people would pay for the same phone with a different carrier. If you’re looking to join Ting, you can use my Ting promo code and get a $25 credit to your account when you activate. I continue to believe Ting is an excellent choice for those wanting to save money on cell phones.
Have a similar story to tell or questions? Let me know in the comments!