Mobile phones have become almost essential to everyday life. Work, communication, internet, music — all of this is done through phones. Could you imagine a world where you couldn’t easily use Google Maps to find your way?
So when owning a mobile phone is a necessary expense and other bills are already piling high, it’s important you know the best ways to save money on your phone bills.
Does my mobile phone plan suit my needs?
Your first and most important thing to figure out is whether your phone plan fits your usage. Are you paying for 8GB of data but only using 2GB? Do you only use the internet when you’re connected to Wifi? Perhaps you’re paying for unlimited minutes and only using two a month. If so, that money is going to waste.
On the other hand, if you’re a big-time data user who finds yourself having to pay inflated fees when you go over the limit, a plan with more data will be more cost-effective, even if the plan itself is more expensive. Take a look at your lifestyle and decide what data usage you need based on that.
Nowadays, data can be the big differentiator between an expensive contract and a cheaper one. Check how much data you have left at the end of the month. You can likely find the info on your provider's website, app, or in your phone itself. And if it doesn’t add up, you might want to consider upgrading or downgrading.
How can I get a better deal on my phone contract?
If you think you would be better off with a different contract, the good news is that you’re not stuck with it forever. Changing your plan could be as simple as going on your provider’s website and switching from there. Do a little bit of digging and see what your options are.
Out of contract? Get in contact!
Once your contract is up, you might notice your phone bill going up. Alternatively, you may be paying the same price at the end of your contract, even if you’ve already paid off the money for the handset, which you now own. According to Ofcom, over 20 million people are out of their contract period and may be paying more than they need to.
Your provider needs you. They’ll want to keep your business, so they may offer you some sweet deals when it looks like you’ll be taking your custom elsewhere. Get in touch with them when your contract runs out. They’re obligated to let you know when your contract is up, and also to tell you about their best deals. Mobile providers may try to upsell to get you to pay for a more expensive plan, so you may have to stand your ground.
Switching mobile provider
Sometimes, things just don’t work out between a mobile provider and their customer. Maybe their signal in your area isn’t good enough. Or perhaps you think you might be able to get a better deal elsewhere. If that’s the case, you can shop around for a new mobile provider and potentially switch. Luckily, the internet makes this easy as pie. Check out Ofcom’s list of accredited price comparison websites or do some quick research yourself to compare your current deal with what you could be getting.
Watch out — if your contract isn’t up yet, then you might find yourself facing some substantial cancellation fees. But even if you have a few months to wait, it’s never too early to start looking.
Is SIM only cheaper than contract?
A SIM only plan is a contract where you only pay for the minutes, texts, and data. The biggest difference is the lack of new phone, sometimes referred to as a handset. Because you don’t have to shell out for a shiny new piece of equipment, SIM only plans are often a lot cheaper than a monthly contract with the handset included.
Similarly to a phone contract, whether it’s cheaper or not will depend on your lifestyle. Do you really need the latest handset on the market, or is your current one still working?
If it’s still in good condition and you don’t feel any need to change it up, then you can easily switch the old SIM out for the new one on a different contract. Not only is this far cheaper, it’s also more sustainable — the less electronic waste we create, the better!
If you use your phone infrequently, a pay as you go SIM might be the way to go. You can top up what you need so you only pay for exactly what you use. But if you use your phone often, it could be cheaper to have a monthly contract.
Pay upfront to avoid inflated costs
Paying monthly with no upfront cost can be beneficial. You can get your new phone immediately without needing to have the funds right away, and the monthly installments can be more manageable. But you might actually end up paying more in the long run. If you want to find out, try comparing the total cost of the monthly payments with the equivalent upfront cost. If it turns out that the monthly option is more expensive, then buying the handset and choosing a SIM only deal may work out cheaper.
With so many different types of deals available, getting the most for your money means getting a plan that fits your lifestyle, so you only spend precisely what you need to.
Whether your phone bills are becoming unmanageable or you’ve just been hit with an unexpected data charge you can’t afford, Salad Money has your back. We offer small, personal loans to NHS and public sector workers to help you get back on your feet, and free financial education to keep you up and running. To find out more, get in touch today.