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

CEE Standard: Buying Goods and Services

Many parents pay for their teens’ cell phones, but you might have students who are responsible for paying for their own phone. If so, this article will help you teach them how they can afford it!

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.Does it feel like everyone has a cell phone except you? The average American gets his or her first cell phone around the age of 10, according to Inc.. So, if you’re still waiting, you just might be right.

If finances are tight at home or your parents want you to pay for at least part of the cost of your new phone, you’ll need to strategize on finding an affordable one that won’t break the bank. Here are a few 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.

You should look for the following:

  • Is the service offered at a flat rate each month? If you love to text or livestream, will your bill increase after a certain amount of phone usage?
  • 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?
  • Does the company that you plan to buy from have good cell phone coverage?
  • Do your parents need to be listed on the contract for you to get this phone?
  • Is there a “family plan” option? If so, how much will it cost to add your phone to your parents’ plan?

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?

Cost of Services

You’ve done your research, and now it’s time to discuss the costs with your parents. 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, 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. And reimbursing your parents for adding you to their plan may be much less expensive than getting your own plan. Again, look at the possibility of purchasing your phone outright to avoid paying for it monthly via contract.

Phone Price Range

Maybe you have your heart set on getting an iPhone, but that might be outside of your budget. Fortunately, we’ve hit a point when there are a ton of different smartphones to choose from. The price can range from zero more than $1,000, depending on what kind you choose and what kind of plan is offered by the provider.

How Much Is Too Much?

Tech Rader gave their top picks for phones for teens — and yes, it includes iPhones. They found many reasonably priced phones from $130 to over $450 for the teen on a budget.

Make sure to do your research and buy a phone that is within your budget. Don’t go overboard for the sake of looking “cool.”

Do You Need a Warranty?

In a word: yes. Everyone ends up dropping their phone, stepping on it, 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 per 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.

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.

Check List

  • What kind of phone do you want?
  • What research have you done?
  • What is your price range?
  • Can you be on your parents’ family plan?
  • What are other ways you can save money on a cell phone?