With my growing list of subscriptions steadily depleting my bank balance through direct debits, I have found myself living week to week. Sure – I could give up my $4 daily coffee expense or limit my Netflix, Stan and Foxtel accounts to one paying subscription but I like to be the one who has her bases covered for a lonely Friday night. This however doesn’t serve me well when my work phone stops functioning and I need to find one I can pay for without breaking the bank. Hoping that once again AfterPay would come to my rescue, I visited Harvey Norman to see their extensive range of prepaid and unlocked mobile phones. Looking at the words prepaid and AfterPay together made me hopeful that I would be able to get this phone while it paid for itself. However, the people at AfterPay saw fiends like me coming with $7.35 in my bank account trying to purchase phones so understandably it isn’t actually an option. Defeated, I started to look properly at my options and try to see which choice would be most economically viable. Up until now, I had been using an unlocked phone which I bought upfront as well as paying roughly $50 a month for the call and data plan. The majority of the well-known smartphones start around at least $1000. However, after a bit of filtering, I found a number of smartphones that landed me at around $500. The earlier Samsung Galaxies as well as the Huawei Nova brings to light multifunctional devices with a powerful performance. The LG Q Stylus Phone is real value for money with an IP68 water-resistance rating and compatibility with the stylus to optimise note-taking and illustrating. With an average 3GB RAM these devices give you all the features you need in a smartphone without flooding you with unnecessary elements. While the upfront cost of the phones is validated by the quality of product you receive, it is important to note the ongoing cost of a monthly plan these phones require. Convinced I could get a better deal, I switched to look at prepaid mobiles. With the most expensive model hitting $169, I knew this is where I should be looking. The Optus 4G Optus X Smart Pre-Paid Smartphone provided me with a happy medium between my old flip phone from 2010 and the out of reach smart phones fetching over thousands of dollars. Surprised by what it had to offer, I found the Optus X-Smart concealed a 1.1GHz quad-core processing system and well as an expandable memory, and twin cameras. Its modest 2500 mAh battery meant I could make it through a day at work comfortably without having to string my charger along with me. The other pro of prepaid phones meant that if I didn’t use my phone a great deal in the month, I wasn’t stuck paying for the use of it regardless. I could monitor my own usage and top up on credit, only when I needed to. This is at the sacrifice of having endless talking and text privileges with phones on a plan, however topping-up is an easy 5 minute process that ends up saving me money in the long run. Depending on what you’d like your phone to do for you, you’re faced with varying options. Prepaid phones give you a basic yet sound device that will execute fundamental uses with ease. For a fraction of the price, prepaid phones offer you an alternative to paying hundreds or thousands of dollars on a phone to then only be hit with the monthly charges as well. While I was unable to convince AfterPay to help me on this occasion, I found that a good quality phone doesn’t have to be as expensive as I thought.