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Smartphones & gadgets

5 smart money moves every smartphone owner can make to save some cash

Like it or not, smartphones have become a necessity for most people. They are useful for keeping up with work, school, hobbies, finances, the news and pretty much anything else you can think of. Long gone are the days when a phone is simply a phone.

Modern smartphones are generally highly resistant to water damage, but that doesn’t mean you can go swimming with yours. If the worst happens and your phone does get a dunking, there are right ways and wrong ways to rescue it. Tap or click here to find out how tough your phone is and what to do if it gets wet.

Your phone can be considered a big investment, so it should be taken care of. That’s why we’ve put together some tips to save money and keep your phone working as long as possible.

1. Save money on your bill

Before we get to your actual phone, let’s discuss how much you’re paying to keep it in service. When was the last time you checked up on available plans? An out-of-date plan can cost you more than newer ones. While you’re at it, tap or click here to see how you can save by determining how much internet you truly need.

Many carriers offer a discount if you set up autopay. The same goes for going paperless. You may find a discount based on where you work, what you do for a living (first responder, for example), your age and your status as a student or service member. Contact your carrier to find out.

You can usually get a big discount for having more lines. T-Mobile’s Magenta plan charges you less for each line you add to your plan. One line costs $70 per month, while five lines cost just $32 each per month.

2. Is phone insurance worth the money?

Phone insurance is tricky, as some folks need it before others. Do you misplace your phone on a regular basis? Tap or click here to use Google Assistant to find your iPhone.

Are you constantly replacing screen protectors or cracked screens? Do you work in an environment where your phone is at greater risk of damage? Construction, for example. Tap or click here for the best options of screen protectors.

While a good case can save your phone, you may want a backup plan just in case. And there are many ways to find your phone remotely, but sometimes gone is truly gone. In these cases you may want to opt for insurance.

Did you know that you can get phone insurance from sources other than your service provider? Your credit card company may offer it as well, so check with them. The rates could be better than what your provider offers.

Before you make a decision, do your research on how much you’ll pay per month and whether or not it’s worth it. Check out the cost of repair or replacement and whether or not there’s a deductible involved. If you upgrade your phone often, the cost-effectiveness of insurance goes down.

3. Emergency fund

Whether or not you get phone insurance, you never know what’s going to happen. Consider setting aside some money in case you need quick repairs, such as a broken screen, or even a full replacement.

You don’t need to stop eating or cancel your Netflix to have an emergency fund. Put a little bit aside when you can. Spare change, a few bucks you found in your pocket — it all adds up.

4. Phone maintenance

Your smartphone is a sophisticated machine and it needs maintenance both inside and out. A car that is kept clean and regularly serviced will last a lifetime. While you likely won’t keep your phone as long, the sentiment stands.

Let’s start with the exterior. Remove any accessories and cases from your phone and get started on cleaning. You can find cleaning clothes designed for phone screens and other bits of tech online. You want a wipe that is scratch-free and anti-static that works on fingerprints, dust and oil. Don’t forget to clean out the ports as well. Tap or click here for the proper way to clean a smartphone.

Now for the software. Do an app audit — go through your phone and delete all those unused and unwanted apps. How long has it been since you opened Candy Crush? Get rid of it!

Clear your phone’s cache regularly. You don’t need information from every website you visit to be stored on your phone. Too much data will slow your phone down.

Tap or click here to learn how to clear your iPhone cache.

Tap or click here to learn how to clear your Android phone cache.

Always be updating. Keep your phone’s operating system up to date to optimize performance and protect it from bugs, malware, hacks and more.

5. Keep your battery going strong

A weak or old battery can be a real pain. Your phone doesn’t hold a charge and it seems like it always dies when you need it most. Replacing the battery or the phone will solve this problem, but it’s not cheap.

You can extend the life of your battery with some basic care:

  • Don’t let your battery drain to 0%.
  • Keep your phone charged between 30% and 80%.
  • Don’t leave your phone charging overnight.
  • If you do happen to hit 100%, unplug your phone right away.
  • Avoid exposing your phone to heat or sunlight.
  • Install all your manufacturer’s updates and patches.
  • Use your phone’s battery optimization app to enable smart charging and other methods to keep your battery healthy.

Follow these simple tips and you’ll get the most out of your smartphone, both performance and value.

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