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How to Get an iPhone 6 for Less

There are ways to avoid paying the full retail price for Apple's newest smart phone.

If you haven’t already pre-ordered the new iPhone 6 or iPhone 6 Plus, you might be doing yourself a favor by taking a little extra time to compare all the offers available on Apple’s latest smart phone. The standard price on the iPhone 6 starts at $199 with a two-year contract, and the iPhone 6 Plus starts at $299 with a two-year contract. Without a contract, the phones start at $649 and $749, respectively. But discounts, trade-in credits and other incentives can reduce the price you pay for your iPhone.

SEE ALSO: Best Time to Sell Your Old iPhone

Be prepared to wait, though, to actually get your hands on an iPhone 6 or iPhone 6 Plus. Apple announced that demand for the new phones exceeded the initial pre-order supply. The phones were supposed to be delivered to pre-order customers September 19, but many won’t arrive until October, according to Apple. However, the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus should be available in stores -- for people who are willing to wait in long lines, that is.

So before you place an order or get in line, here’s what you need to know about getting a deal on a new iPhone.

Discount pricing

Walmart is offering the iPhone 6 with 16GB of storage (the minimum amount available) for $179 with a two-year contract through AT&T, Sprint or Verizon. That's $20 less than Apple's price. Plus, those who pre-order will get a $15 Walmart gift card when they pick up their phone, which should be available September 19. Walmart also will be selling the iPhone 6 Plus in stores September 19 for $279 ($20 off) with a two-year contract.

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Sam’s Club, which is owned by Walmart, will be selling the iPhone 6 (16GB) in stores September 19 for $177 ($22 less than Apple) with a two-year contract with AT&T, Sprint or Verizon, and the iPhone 6 Plus with a contract for $277 ($22 less).

Trade-in credits

If you already have an iPhone, you can trade it in to get a credit to lower the price of a new phone. Walmart has a calculator you can use to estimate how much you’ll get for your trade-in. For example, a working 16GB iPhone 5s with an AT&T service plan could net you $250 from Walmart, according to the calculator.

AT&T, Sprint, T-Mobile and Verizon are offering up to a $300 credit for trading in an iPhone 5s in good condition – which technically would make the purchase of a new iPhone 6 or iPhone 6 Plus at $199 or $299, respectively, free excluding the cost of the contract. The trade-in value for older iPhones is lower. (Sprint, however, is guaranteeing a minimum trade-in credit of $200).

No-money-down plans

The four major wireless carriers have installment options that allow you to pay nothing upfront for the phone when you sign up for a service agreement. The full no-contract cost of the device is spread over several months. In exchange for agreeing to pay full price over time for your new phone -- $649, in the case of the 16GB iPhone 6 -- your monthly service charges are lower than they would be with a standard two-year service agreement.

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AT&T. Pay $0 down then $27.09 a month for 24 months ($32.50 for 20 months) for an iPhone 6 and $31.25 a month for 24 months ($37.50 for 20 months) for an iPhone 6 Plus. Service plans start at $60 a month, but you can save $15 to $25 a month depending on the data plan you choose with AT&T's Mobile Share value plans. Pre-ordered iPhone 6 devices will ship in 21 to 35 business days, and iPhone 6 Plus devices will ship between November 9 and November 27.

T-Mobile. Pay $0 down then $27.08 a month for 24 months. Service plans start at $45. T-Mobile will pay up to $350 to cover early termination fees if you switch carriers. Pre-ordered iPhone 6 devices will ship in one to four weeks, and iPhone 6 Plus devices will ship in one to six weeks.

Verizon. Pay $0 down then $32.49 a month for 20 months for an iPhone 6 and $37.49 a month for an iPhone 6 Plus. Service plans start at $55 a month, but you can get a monthly discount of $10 to $25 depending on the data plan you choose with the Verizon Edge plan. Pre-ordered iPhone 6 devices will be delivered by October 7; iPhone 6 Plus devices will be delivered by October 28.

Sprint. In addition to installment plans similar to other carriers, Sprint unveiled a new "iPhone for Life" leasing plan that requires no money down. The leasing cost for the base model iPhone 6 is $20 a month for 24 months, plus $50 a month for service. The leasing cost for the base model iPhone 6 Plus is $25 a month for 24 months plus monthly service charges. After two years those on a leasing plan can upgrade to a new lease on a new iPhone, purchase the leased iPhone 6 or continue leasing the iPhone 6 on a month-to-month basis. If the leasing agreement is cancelled early, remaining lease payments are due immediately and the phone must be returned. (There's also an option to buy out the lease.) Sprint also will pay up to $350 if you switch from another carrier. Pre-ordered iPhone 6 devices will be delivered in up to three weeks. Pre-ordered iPhone 6 Plus devices will be shipped in up to four to six weeks.

You can compare the costs of carriers' installment plans with two-year contracts that require an upfront payment for an iPhone 6 or iPhone 6 Plus with a new calculator from WalletHub, a site that provides financial tools and information.