In recent years mobile phones have been getting more and more advanced, with fingerprint readers and lightning fast processors now the norm. Not only are they your camera, mp3 player and web browser, but also your bank, your airline ticket and even your central heating manager. But with all this extra technology comes higher costs, with most handsets now setting you back between £35-45 per month, as part of a 24 month contract.
But you don't have to break the bank to get the most from your phone or even to get your hands on the latest technology.
Here are our top tips on what you can do to save money on your phone contract.
How much of your tariff do you actually use?
When was the last time you assessed how much of your data, minutes and texts allowance you use in an average month? Chances are that there are savings to be made here. If you are exceeding your allowances than additional costs can be huge. Likewise if you are well under your allowance then there are large savings to be had. First things first, log in to your network providers website, give them a call or pop into a branch and find out how much you use. If you are midway through a contract, most operators will let you switch to a different tariff without changing the length of your current deal.
Do you really need the latest handset?
Phone networks are very good at getting you to upgrade to the latest handset on the market and tying you in for another 24 months, usually on a higher tariff. But wait. Before you get drawn in by the latest bells and whistles, take your time and assess whether you need to get a new handset, or is your current model still serving you well? Usually you will be on the same operating system that is running on the new phones anyway, so unless your handset is really holding you up, do you need to tie yourself in for another 24 months?
Have a problem with your current handset? Why not look at solving that first rather than jumping straight into a new deal. Quite a common issue among slightly older handsets is lack of storage space left on the phone - why not look at cloud storage such as DropBox or Google Drive, buying an SD card if your phone supports one or backing up your files on your PC and removing them from your phone?
There are some fantastic rolling monthly deals available on the market that could save you up to £30 a month on your current deal! For example GiffGaff have SIM-only deals from £5 a month for light users and go up to £20 a month for completely unlimited minutes, texts and data.
Shop around for the big win
If you are dead set on upgrading your handset then here are some top tips to make sure you get the best deal:
- Educate yourself - arm yourself with your average monthly data, minutes and texts usage. Once you know this then it is simple to know what tariff you need and you can compare deals easily. Don't be pushed into a bigger tariff if you know you don't need it.
- The right phone - read reviews, go in store to play with test handsets, and ask your friends and family. Just make sure you think through all of the phones strengths and weaknesses and how it fits with your specific wants and needs. Once you've made your mind up, don't let anyone change it!
- Compare, compare, compare - first speak to your current provider and see what they will offer you to upgrade. Then hit the comparison sites online, the big high street stores, even supermarkets. Find the best deal on the market then go back to your current provider and see if they can better it.
Follow these steps and you can be confident that you are getting a deal that is right for you.
Avoid contracts and save big
Big savings can be made if you are in a position where you can buy your handset outright and move to a SIM-only plan. There are some fantastic deals on the market for rolling monthly deals and even heavy phone users should be able to find a deal that suits them for not much more than the £10 a month mark. This is also a great option if you struggle to get credit - having no fixed address like some military personnel can often cause issues here.
There has also been a new trend amongst manufactures of producing high-spec phones at more affordable prices. You can pick up the brand new Google Nexus 5x for £299, the highly customisable Moto X Play for £279 and the widely acclaimed OnePlus Two for £239. These are by no means budget handsets in performance either - they hold their own with some of the biggest phones of 2015.
Compared to an average 24 month contract of £35 a month, buying your handset outright (using the OnePlus Two as an example) and switching to a £10 a month rolling contract could save you £361 across 2 years!
If this advice has helped you in any way we would love to hear from you. Likewise, if you have any additional tips on how you can save money on not just your mobile phone, but household bills, items or belongings drop us a line in the comments below.