How to save around $1,000 by keeping your current smartphone

SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) -- With the latest flagship phones from Apple and Samsung priced at $1,000 and up, consumers are looking for ways to save. Consumer Reports offers some ideas you may not have considered before.

Anyone who has shopped for a new smart phone recently knows they're not cheap.

Consumer Reports' top-rated phones are Samsung's Galaxy Note9 for a $1,000, Apple's iPhone XS Max for $1,100, and XS for a $1,000.

But the experts at Consumer Reports know not everyone is running out to buy the latest and greatest. "There's nothing cheaper than keeping the phone you already have," said Bree Fowler, Consumer Reports Tech Editor.

Start off by giving your phone a tune-up.

First, make sure the operating system is updated. That can help speed up a sluggish phone. You can also swap the battery if it's not holding a charge. A new one can cost you less than $100.

Also, if your screen has seen better days, you can replace one on many older phones for about $150 or less.

But, if your old phone is beyond saving, there are ways to pay less when buying a new one. "You should think about phones like you think about cars. If you wait a year and you buy last year's model, then you're going to save a lot of money," said Fowler.

Consumer Reports says since smart phones are evolving more slowly than they used to with each new generation, you can get an even better deal by buying one that's two years old. Another thing to consider? "Samsung and Apple do sell the vast majority of phones out there, but they're not the only players in the game," said Fowler.

LG, Sony, Google, and OnePlus all have recommended models in Consumer Reports' ratings. Another way to save? "Our readers really like refurbished phones," Fowler added.

In fact, 67 percent of people in Consumer Reports' survey with refurbished phones had no problems. That's roughly the same as people who bought new models.

Take a look at all of 7 On Your Side's stories with Consumer Reports here.

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