Okay, you can’t do without a cell phone. We get it. Here are some things that you can do to get one if you are low on funds.

How to Buy a Cell Phone When Your Parents Won’t Buy One for You

How to Buy a Cell Phone When Your Parents Won’t Buy One for You

It feels like everyone has a cell phone except you. In fact, the average American child gets his or her first cell phone around the age of seven, according to Child Guide . So, if you’re still waiting, you just might be right.

Some students have to pay for their own cell phone and it's a great opportunity for them to learn the finer points of comparison shopping and how to get the best deals.If finances are tight at home or your parents want you to pay for part of the cost of your new phone, you’ll need to strategize on how to find an affordable phone that won’t break the bank. Here are a couple of things that you can do to make sure that you’ll be able to afford your first phone:

I know, it’s painful, but you’ll be able to figure out the ins and outs of the different types of phone plans out there.Click To Tweet


You should look for the following:

  • Is the service offered at a flat rate each month? If you love to text or live stream, will your bill change after a certain amount of phone use?
  • Is it possible to purchase a refurbished – i.e. used – phone?
  • If you pay for your phone in full, will you get a discount?
  • Do you pay month to month?
  • Do you have to purchase a card and then apply points to the phone?
  • Range of service: does the company that you plan to buy from have good cell phone coverage?
  • Do your parents need to be in a contract for you to get this phone?
  • Is there a “family plan” option? If so, how much will it cost to add your phone?

Once you’ve done your research, the next issue may be how you will pay for your service. Have you been saving your allowance since you were small? Are you willing to work part-time in order to cover the costs?


You’ve done your research, and now it’s time to share the costs with your parents. Maybe you have your heart set on getting an iPhone, but that might be outside of your budget. But monthly services can range anywhere from $5 to $40 with service providers such as Republic Wireless. Many of the larger companies now offer pay-as-you-go, no-contract services, which should suit you just fine.

There are also companies that will offer you cash back on services that you didn’t use. If this is the case, the money will typically be credited to your account.

Family Plans

Your parents might not be aware of the different family plans available to them, or they may be concerned that there will be some additional hidden fees associated with these plans.

But these family plans are generally pretty reasonable. Again, look at the possibility of purchasing your phone outright to avoid paying for it monthly via contract. According to the Pew Research Center, around 69 percent of teens get phone service via their parent’s family plan.

Phone Price Range

Fortunately, we’ve hit a point when there are a ton of different smart phones to choose from. The price can range from zero more than $750, depending on what kind of phone you choose and what kind of plan is offered by the provider.

How Much is Too Much?

Digital Trends recently shared their top five picks for phones for teens – a list that included the Moto E2 and the Nokia Lumia 550.

They found many reasonably priced phones from $90 to $150 for the teen on a budget.Click To Tweet

Meanwhile, Verizon’s list of phones geared towards trendier teens are pricier, some as much as three times more than those chosen by Digital Trends.

Do You Need a Warranty?

In a word: yes. Everyone ends up dropping their phone, stepping on, or cracking their screen by accident. If you add a warranty to your service, be aware that you will be charged between $3 and $9 a month, depending on your cell phone provider.

How Will You Use Your Phone?

Figuring out how you plan on using your phone on a daily basis will help you manage the costs and know which package is right for you.Click To Tweet

If you plan on using Snapchat a lot, or enjoy watching YouTube videos, then you will need a phone package that takes streaming into account.

Remember, buying your phone is just the beginning – it’s the recurring expenses of keeping the phone that you need to pay attention to.