by Sharon Jones

We’ve all heard the horror stories of phones that explode, need constant repairs or simply stop working due to hardware or software malfunctions. If you’re unlucky, you could end up with a bricked phone that can’t even be used as a doorstop or paperweight.


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Fortunately, phones are becoming more and more accessible thanks to cheaper prices, advancing technology and an abundance of supply. You can pick up cheap smartphones for less than $100 that are functional, albeit slightly less powerful than their expensive counterparts from manufacturers such as Samsung and Apple. There are also thousands of free applications to use, as long as you’re fine with clicking away advertisements now and then. Most of the popular games are free, and widely used applications such as Google’s Chrome browser don’t cost a single penny.


Smartphone Maintenance is Getting Cheaper

Do a quick search for “iphone repair” and you’ll find dozens of repair shops that are willing to repair your expensive phone for a low price. Even if you don’t have an expensive phone, you could fix your cheaper smartphone with easy to source parts that repair shops will have an abundance of. In some cases, you could replace a cheap smartphone by just buying another one. You could get five low-end smartphones for the cost of a single expensive one, which is a bargain if you’re not planning to use it for video games.


Data Services Are Affordable

Phone plans are getting cheaper by the year, and with the accessibility of 3G, 4G and soon 5G services, data prices are set to fall dramatically. You’ll be able to do more with data access, and there are an increasing number of free WiFi hotspots all around the country that you can connect to for free or for a small fee.


The Majority of Popular Apps are Free

Whether you want to listen to music, manage your finances or play a game, many of the best apps are free or have free versions with advertisements. Premium phone apps also don’t cost very much either. It’s usually anywhere from $1-5 to unlock a paid app or remove advertisements, which is extremely low considering the power that many mobile apps have. Smartphones usually come with plenty of built-in apps that’ll serve your needs without a problem, reducing the need to download more apps.


Cloud Storage is Cheap

Many phones use external storage cards to hold data such as games, videos and photos. However, most phones don’t have much built-in storage, so if your smartphone doesn’t have external card support then you need to turn to another option to store your files: the cloud. Whenever you sign up for a Google account on your Android phone, you’re automatically given 15GB of storage for free. That’s enough to store over 4000 high-quality photos, which is plenty for most users. Upgrading is very cheap as well. For just $1.99 a month, you can increase that storage to a whopping 100GB. Apple also gives you a free 5GB of storage which can be expanded to 50GB for just $0.99 a month.

Sharon Jones is a contributor to zenruption and has her B.A. in Political Science from UCLA. As a new mother, she is interested in helping shape the world her daughter will inherit. She likes pina coladas and taking walks in the rain.