If you think increasing mobile phone costs are just par for the course, you’re wrong. There is no reason why you should be paying more every time you upgrade.
If you are happy to forgo the latest smartphone and prepared to do a little negotiation, you can make some serious savings every month. In fact, you can get a really good SIM-only tariff for less than £10 a month and a handset contract for less than £20. Here we share 7 quick tips for saving money on your mobile phone contract.
- Set a Data Cap
Exceeding your data allowance can lead to some very hefty charges on your phone bill. Vodafone, for example, charge £6.50 for every 250MB of UK data you use outside your allowance. For reference, 250MB of data will buy you just 3 hours of internet browsing or 30 minutes of video streaming.
If you have a limited data allowance, set a data cap. You may be able to do this in your phone settings (depending on the device) or you can simply call customer services and request a cap.
Some networks have automatic caps so you can’t continue using data when you reach your limit. Instead you can buy add-ons or simply stick to browsing on Wi-Fi.
- Haggle with your network
Due an upgrade? Never accept the first deal you’re offered by the network. Haggling with mobile phone providers is now fairly common practice, and it works! According to research by Money Saving Expert, the average saving is around £72 a year. Here are some tips for negotiating:
– Call customer services to ask for a better deal around 30 days before your current contract ends.
– Tell them you’re unhappy with your current tariff and are thinking of switching to an alternative provider.
– Conduct some research before you call. Being able to say “X provider offers a better deal” and have the facts to back it up gives you more bargaining power.
- Opt for a budget smartphone
If you really need to keep costs low, avoid signing up for the latest iPhone or Samsung. Your monthly bill will be far higher for a top end model, and you may even have some upfront costs. At time of writing, a contract for the iPhone XS Max (256 GB) comes in at £74 a month for 4GB of data. Oh, and you’ll also need to pay £80 upfront for the phone.
Compare that to £23 a month (with no upfront cost) for a Huawei Y6 2019 (32GB), also with 4GB of data, and you can see the difference a budget smartphone makes. If you don’t need that much data, you can even get an iPhone 6S for less than £20 a month.
- SIM-only is always affordable
For (sometimes significantly) less than £10 a month you can get a great bundle of data, minutes and texts. How can you do this? By choosing SIM-only! You won’t receive a handset, but if you already have one that functions perfectly well, SIM-only is an excellent way to reduce your monthly phone bill.
Some SIM-only deals include awesome benefits like data rollover and buy back or cheap international calls, so it’s worth shopping around and using the comparison sites like TigerMobiles.com or uSwitch.
- Trade-in your smartphone
There are a number of phone retailers who offer some kind of phone trade-in service, including Tesco Mobile, Carphone Warehouse, EE, Three, Vodafone, Samsung and Apple.
You can trade in your existing phone for cash or a discount towards your next handset or contract. Choosing the latter option will save you money in the long-run while the first option gives you an immediate cash boost.
Often the best value insurance policy is no insurance policy. We understand wanting to protect your expensive tech in the event of damage or theft, but most insurance policies are expensive and restricted.
A good alternative to traditional insurance is to self-insure. That is, putting a little money into a savings pot each month just for phone expenses. You only have to pay in what you can afford and the money is yours to use exactly how you want.
- Match the tariff to your usage
Lots of people pay too much for their mobile phone contracts because they take on tariffs with more allowance than they could ever use in a month.
If you never use your full tariff of minutes, texts and data you could be paying hundreds more than you need to every year.
To avoid this, simply choose a tariff that matches your usage next time you upgrade. To find out your usage, check past bills. If you routinely use around 3GB of data a month, don’t choose a tariff with 10GB ‘just in case’. It is cheaper to buy add-ons on the rare occasions you need them than pay for more than you need every month.