Got More Stimulus Money? Get a New Phone and New Plan

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Young woman excited by her new phone
Roman Samborskyi /

If you’ve been looking for an excuse to upgrade your cellphone and data plan, the recent stimulus check could be a perfectly good reason. The economy gets stimulated, you get a new phone with more data, everyone wins.

But just because you have some money to throw around, that doesn’t mean you should make an uninformed purchase and miss out on a good deal.

Here are the best cellphone deals available right now that are worth spending your leftover stimulus money on.

T-Mobile Deal: Free iPhone 12 with trade-in

The best deal for a new iPhone 12 comes from T-Mobile, which can hook you up with a completely free iPhone 12 device. To qualify for the deal, you’ll need to currently be using a carrier that isn’t T-Mobile.

If you switch over to T-Mobile from your previous carrier, trade in your old phone and buy a new iPhone 12 or 12 mini on a 24-month installment plan, you’ll get up to $830 credited to your account.

That’s enough to completely pay off an iPhone 12 (64GB). Your credit will be divvied out over the course of 24 months until your device is completely paid off.

For the next two years, you won’t need to worry about making cellphone device payments, and at the end of the contract, you’ll outright own the iPhone 12.

Here’s a look at what T-Mobile currently offers in terms of unlimited data plans.

AT&T Deal: All iPhone 12 series devices

If you trade in an eligible device and sign up or upgrade to an AT&T unlimited plan, you will get up to $700 off any iPhone 12 device.

This deal from AT&T is actually so good that I just took advantage of it last weekend. I traded in my old iPhone X and took $700 off a brand new iPhone 12 Max.

You can hit up your local AT&T store and see if your phone qualifies for the deal. If you decide to go ahead with the deal, you’ll need to pay taxes on your new device (I paid around $80) and, after that, you can walk out of the store with a brand new iPhone 12.

The remaining balance on your new phone will be bundled together with your monthly cellphone payment until you pay off the device.

Check out the AT&T unlimited plans available now to see if you’d be interested in signing up for a new plan to get the iPhone 12 discount.

Verizon Deal: Free iPhone SE with a new unlimited line

If you want to snag a brand new iPhone SE for free, you can get one by signing up for a new unlimited plan with Verizon. To qualify for this deal, you’ll just need to sign up for a qualified Verizon unlimited plan and then purchase an iPhone SE (64GB) on a monthly installment payment plan.

Once you activate that phone on Verizon’s network with your unlimited plan, your phone payment will be discounted from your monthly bill over the course of 24 months.

Technically, you won’t own the phone until all those monthly payment discounts are processed, but in the meantime, you won’t have a device payment charged on top of your cellphone plan. For what it’s worth, the iPhone SE has the same processor as the iPhone 11 and has the classic iPhone home button that we’ve all grown to miss.

Here’s where Verizon unlimited data plans start:

Verizon Deal: Get $800 off a Galaxy S21 phone

To get $800 off on a brand-new Galaxy S21 phone, you’ll need to trade in your old device and get up to $800 back when you add a new Verizon line, or up to $440 back if you’re just upgrading your existing current Verizon data plan.

After trading in your old device and upgrading or starting your line of service, make sure to purchase your new Galaxy S21 phone with the monthly payments option. Your trade-in money will automatically cover the cost of your device payment installments.

Oh, and on top of everything else, Verizon will also sweeten the deal and give you another $200 back on an eGift card for switching to Verizon and a Verizon streaming device for free.

Take a look below and find out which Verizon data plans will work best for you.

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