New year, new phone? How to upgrade without breaking the bank in 2023

A young lady with pink hair sits in her apartment and smiles at the camera while holding her phone.

Want a new mobile phone without spending too much right before Christmas? 

There are plenty of ways you could save on upgrading your mobile devices that won’t break the bank before the holiday season arrives. 

This year, like many before it, was marked by exciting new releases from some of the big guns of the mobile world, like the Apple iPhone 14 and Google Pixel 7 in the second half of 2022. 

With each new phone that comes out, the tech inside them generally gets better. Whether that’s new and improved smartphone cameras, fast 5G network connectivity, or even the recent innovations in foldable phones, like the Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 3. 

So, if you’ve had your phone for over three years, there’s a good chance it’s outdated – in terms of its hardware capabilities, anyway. 

With holidays on the horizon, and rumours swirling around all the exciting mobile things to look forward to in 2023, you might be tempted to give yourself the gift of a new handset in time for family photos and New Year’s Eve celebrations. 

But new phones, especially new releases, can cost as much as a laptop. So, how can you score an upgrade to your mobile phone without breaking the bank at Christmas time?

Phone contracts remove the barrier of paying up-front 

When you buy a new mobile phone plan, you won’t be paying for the handset up-front. Instead, you’ll be paying it off in monthly instalments over the life of the contract. 

By the end of the contract period (which can be anywhere from 12 to 36 months), you’ll have paid off the phone and will be free to do what you want with it (see the section on trading in your old phone for credit).  

It’s best to compare mobile phone plans to find the latest devices on contract, keeping a keen eye on any sales, discounts, or deals that may be available. 

When getting a mobile phone plan on a contract, it’s important to consider what you’ll actually need from your plan ie. choosing the right amount of data for your needs. There’s no point paying for data that you won’t end up using! 

The big three telcos are usually the first to have the latest mobile phones on contracts, which you can see a selection of below.

Trade in your old phone for credit 

Some telcos let you trade in your existing mobile phone for credit to put towards your bill. 

Otherwise, you may be able to trade in your old phone through other retailers, who will give you in-store credit or cash for your devices. 

Retailers like JB Hi-Fi, Apple, Samsung, and Mobile Monster (among a variety of others) are all places that offer mobile trade-ins.

While the prices you get will differ from retailer to retailer and depend largely on the make, model, and condition of your phone, you’ll usually be able to knock a little of the cost off your next purchase. 

Don’t want to be locked in? Rent a phone instead 

If you’re after a new phone, but don’t like the sound of committing to two or three years of repayments, there’s a new option on the market – smartphone rental. 

Aside from offering SIM-only plans, Australian telco numobile also lets you rent out refurbished or recycled smartphones. This is a good way to save the money you’d typically spend on a brand-new handset and keep perfectly usable phones out of landfill. 

‘Refurbished’ is not a dirty word 

Refurbished phones are like-new, without the new phone price tag. 

While you won’t necessarily be getting the latest brand-new models, buying refurbished mobile phones is another viable way to save cash. 

Plus, depending on their condition, some refurbished phones come in at a significantly lower price than brand-new ones. In other cases, you might not even be able to tell it’s a refurb. 

Not ready or waiting for next year’s new releases?

If you’re not ready to take the leap into buying a new phone just yet, but you’re still looking to save a bit of money, then compare some of the SIM-only plans currently available below.