5 Things to Do the Next Time You Break Your Phone

Aside from buying a brand-new phone

Dropped your cell phone and shattered the whole thing to smithereens? Don’t shell out $650 on a new one just yet. You actually do have options--wireless contracts be damned!

Try To Get It Repaired

In this day and age, busted screens are remarkably easy to fix. Pop by your local smartphone repair shop or check out an online service like iCracked to get an estimate. Depending on the crack, prices can range from $50 to $250--all significantly less than the cost of a new phone.

Go To The Apple Store

There, a tech expert (sorry, genius) will usually help you get your phone repaired for a nominal fee (with Apple Care, it's $99 to get your screen repaired; without Apple Care, it's $149). Note: Should you decide to splurge on an Apple Care warranty--only $99 for two years of coverage when you buy your phone--you'll get the direct line of an iPhone technician which means you can call him to troubleshoot technical issues anytime, plus dirt cheap repair and replacement options for a busted screen, battery, even your earbuds.

Try Selling (or Trading In) Your Phone

You’d be surprised: Even with a broken screen, you can still get a decent amount of money back for a smartphone (your phone can be resold for spare parts). Check out sites like iCracked or Gazelle, or contact your cell phone carrier to find out your options for trading up. Even if all you get is $100, it will help offset the cost of a new phone.

Ask About Refurbished Options

If you decide you do want/need a new phone after all but don’t want to pay top dollar, ask your carrier about buying one that’s been used. Typically, it’s significantly cheaper (we found an iPhone 6 for $399) and functions just as well as a newbie. You can also shop around on eBay for a secondhand phone--just be sure the one you buy is compatible with your carrier.

Lease A New Phone

Worst-case scenario, you can ask your provider about a finance plan--almost all the big guys (Verizon, Sprint, T-Mobile) offer one. For example, a standard lease rate for an iPhone 6 would be about $25 a month for 24 months. But before you sign on the dotted line, just be sure you’ve read (and re-read) all the details about the interest rate. Some carriers offer interest-free finance plans. Others do not.