The Best Place To Buy Your New Cell Phone Isn’t Where You Would Think

I’m happy to say I’m the owner of a brand new cell phone! Yippee! My old contract had expired and I knew I’d be staying with my current carrier for another two years, mainly due to circumstance outside of my control, so it was time to upgrade my phone.

After all, why should I continue paying the same price for two years and not get a new phone? I’d be shooting myself in the foot!

I did want to make sure I was being responsible with my money, so I followed my own advice and bought technology that is one generation out of date to find some great savings.

Last time I bought myself a new cell phone, I managed to get a $100 phone with a two year contract for free after some negotiation directly with AT&T. I thought I’d have to follow the same methodology as last time to get my phone for free. Was this time different?

I Was Shocked!

Rather than calling and haggling with AT&T, I performed some market research prior to my contract expiration. I looked online at to find out which phone I wanted then I started shopping around.

Everywhere I went, the phone was listed for $99 with a two year contract. The AT&T store, Wal-mart, Best Buy and AT& all had the same price for the brand new phone I wanted.

Of course, I could have had a refurbished version of the phone for free, but I didn’t want to open that box of worms. I’m sure it would have been fine, but I didn’t want to risk it.

It was disappointing, but it looked like I was going to have to battle with the phone reps to get another phone I wanted for free. Luckily, on one of our regular shopping trips I found out that I could get the phone for just $0.96 (plus tax) AND I wouldn’t have to pay the annoying $36 upgrade fee!

Where did I find this great deal that no where else was offering? I found it at a place I never even thought to look at for cell phones.

I Bought My Most Recent Cell Phone At Sam’s Club

Honestly, I never even considered buying a cell phone at Sam’s Club. I’ve seen the display before, but it never registered that their prices would be any different than anywhere else. Boy was I wrong!

Instead of paying $135 plus tax for the phone and upgrade fee, I ended up getting my most recent cell phone for just $1.04, tax included! I will have to wait a couple of bills for my upgrade fee to be credited to my account, but I don’t really care because I get to save the $36 in the long run!

So, next time you’re looking to upgrade to a new phone on a major carrier like AT&T, Verizon, Sprint or T-Mobile, make sure you stop by your local warehouse club and see if you can find an amazing deal! I was shocked at what I found, but I saved myself a ton of money in the process!

Next time my contract is up, I’ll likely be switching to a new carrier to save even more money! We’ve recently tested out Republic Wireless, a newer cell phone company that has monthly bills as low as $5 a month!

The more normal packages that include unlimited minutes, texts and data do run a bit higher than $5 at about $25 per month. Check out our detailed review that will show you how you can save hundreds of dollars per year on your cell phone bill with Republic Wireless.

What are your cell phone buying habits? Have you ever thought to look at warehouse clubs to save money on your cell phone upgrade? If you haven’t, you should definitely consider it! 

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About Lance Cothern

Lance Cothern, a Certified Public Accountant (CPA) licensed in the Commonwealth of Virginia, is the founder of Money Manifesto. You can read more about him here or connect with him on Facebook, Twitter, Google+ or Pinterest.


  1. Naomi @ Rising Net Worth says:

    I’ve been hearing and seeing so much buzz about that Rebublic Witeless company. I’m definitely going I give it a go in a couple of months when my current contract is over. The prices are amazingly low. I held my breath while I looked at the coverage area but thankfully my state looks like it’s completely 4G. I’ll keep an eye out for your updates & thoughts on the service.

    • The 4G coverage costs $40 a month, which still isn’t a bad deal. I’ll let you know how it goes when we do our review! We’re only testing 3G though, not 4G.

  2. Great job, Lance. I also have Republic Wireless and love it! =)

  3. This is very helpful. I don’t normally shop for new mobile carriers but you’ve proven that a little effort to compare prices and checking out new companies can save a whole lot of money.

  4. Thank YOU so much

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