One cost that many of us deal with, often without even thinking much about it, is that of the mobile phones that we carry with us each and every day. However, with the recent costs of living, many of us have had to go back to create a budget for the family, and no costs can be left out, including our phones. So, what can you do if you’re worried you’re paying too much for your phone? Here are a few examples of ways you can cut your costs.
Do you need a contract at all?
Of course, the first thing you should ask yourself if you’re looking at getting a new phone contract, is asking yourself if you should be on a contract phone in the first place. Contract phones tend to lock you into certain payment plans which might not suit everyone. You should make sure to compare them with getting a Pay-as-you-Go SIM, which can be a little bit more flexible. If you use your phone’s data and calls frequently enough that you would be topping up more than £20 a month, however, there is a good chance that you could get a better deal on contract than sticking to Pay-As-You-Go, but it doesn’t hurt to try it out, at the very least.
Shop around instead of sticking with just one
One of the biggest issues in the phone contract market is that people tend to believe that their loyalty is going to be rewarded by sticking with certain phone providers. There’s no denying that you can occasionally get exclusive deals or offers from a smartphone provider that you have been with for a long while. However, the honest truth is that you can tend to get better or at least equivalent deals from new providers who offer incentives for customers to switch with them. What’s more, the rewards they give are never going to outweigh the economic benefits of getting a better contract for yourself. As such, you shouldn’t stick too closely to the idea of being a loyal customer. Shop around and shop using your head and the numbers, not your heart.
Be careful with data
One of the aspects of phone use that people tend to get upsold on, a lot, is the inclusion of data in your contracts. It’s a lot easier to see and understand how many minutes we take up through calls than it is to understand how much data we use. As such, a lot of phone contract suppliers will tend to offer much more data than you’re making use of. If you do things like listening to podcasts online, posting Snaps, or other travelling web activities on a regular basis, you’re not likely to need more than 2GB of data. You can even check your past data use in your phone’s settings, so make sure that you’re not paying for way more data than you tend to use on any given month.
If you got a good phone, keep it
A lot of people do look at the moment when you switch or upgrade contracts as an opportunity to get a new phone, as well. Sometimes, this can be an economically sound decision, if your older phone is beginning to become a lot less efficient, you can upgrade to make sure that your device stays useful. However, even if you do upgrade, it shouldn’t always be to the newest generation of phones. You can get significant savings by hanging back a generation or two. Of course, you can save a lot more with a no credit check sim only contract. You can keep your old phone, but make sure that you’re getting a better deal on how you use it.
Don’t automatically buy insurance
One of the biggest conundrums when trying to save money on your phone is the question of whether or not it’s worth shelling out to buy insurance for your phone, which is typically upsold by the phone contract provider. The truth is that the answer is not always a clear cut “yes.” You want to make sure that it’s affordable, yes, but you also want to make sure that you are aware of any exclusions the policy has, meaning reasons they can say no to giving a payout on a claim, as well as how much you might have to pay in excess if you use the insurance to claim a new phone. Sometimes, the excess can cost more than opening up a new contract with a new phone.
Avoid upselling in general
It’s not just insurance that a phone salesperson can try to encourage you to spend further on. Most of them are going to try and upsell you one way or another, whether it’s with some kind of ongoing deal or with accessories that come with the phone. If there are any that truly sounds interesting to you, don’t be rushed into it, take the time to look up the prices online to see if you can get them for cheaper. Otherwise, be firm in saying no, even if the salesperson is being very friendly and polite.
Bill when it best suits you
It’s not just about the costs of the phone bills that you should be thinking about, but how you manage them as part of your greater finances, as well. If you have had trouble paying your phone bill in the past, then when and how you pay it might make as much of a difference as how much you are paying. For instance, it might help you to schedule your phone bills to come out at the same day of the month as some of your other bills so that you’re able to get it all out of the way at once. Direct debiting your bills can also ensure that you don’t forget to pay them.
Don’t be afraid to negotiate
Whether you’re hoping to stick with your current provider or you’re making the switch to another one, you should always keep in mind that they’re a lot more likely to be able to offer some wiggle room in their contracts than they tell you upfront. You’re not always going to be able to haggle them from a higher price, but you should at least make the effort. This is especially true if you’re negotiating with your current provider, since phone companies tend to make the most effort when they’re trying to retain a customer that’s likely to leave them. If you’re doing so, then you should try to negotiate closer to when your contract is ending, as well, so that the threat of you leaving is a lot more imminent.
Mind your overseas tariffs
Just like with your data, you should think about how you really use your phone and how your usage contributes to the costs of your phone tariffs. If you practically never use your phone overseas, then it might not make a lot of sense to take a more expensive deal that, in turn, offers lower overseas tariffs. However, if you travel regularly, then you should pay a little more to make sure that you’re saving on your future tariffs. Given that there’s no legal guarantee in the future that more phones aren’t going to introduce roaming charges for people leaving the UK to visit the EU, you have to think about how and where you travel a lot more, as well.
You need to figure out how you make use of your phone and ensure you get a contract that allows you to meet your needs cost-effectively. Hopefully, the tips above help with that.