Most of us are at some point guilty of paying more than we need to for contracts, simply because we don’t take the time to check. We stick with providers out of loyalty, because we’ve always been with them, and perhaps because we’ve had a positive experience so far. We keep that gym membership that we never use because we tell ourselves that we will use it soon. We pay more for extra features that sound impressive, even though we don’t use them. Most of us, if we’re honest, are spending far more than we should be.
Often, the best way to see where you are spending too much is to create a household budget. Having your expenditure written down in black and white in front of you makes it easier to see how much you are spending and how much you can really afford. Another way to know if you are spending too much is by comparing costs. Don’t just assume that you are getting the best deals without first checking out some others. And, don’t just assume that because you were on the best deal when you upgraded or signed up, you still will be a year later.
One area that most of us are spending too much is our mobile phone. We sign up for exciting deals promising free phones, and we want the best model available. If you think you might be spending too much, here are some things to ask yourself.
Is it Earning You Money?
If you’ve been on your current deal for a while, moving to a new one doesn’t just save you money, it could even earn you money. With the Lebara refer a friend program, you could be earning extra cash from home, simply by sharing how great your SIM plan deal is and recommending it to others. Fortunately, the Lebara Refer a friend program isn’t the only benefit to getting a SIM-only deal from Lebara. You’ll also have excellent service and reception as they use the Vodafone network.
Do You Regularly Compare Deals?
Did you sign up for your first mobile phone contract when you were a teenager, or when you first left home? Have you been with the same provider since, merely upgrading your phone when the time comes, always paying a contract fee, which includes payment for the phone, without ever actually owning the handset? You certainly aren’t alone. If you don’t even compare deals and just stick out of habit, you still aren’t alone.
Next time your contract is up for renewal, take the time to compare deals, looking at different networks and providers, instead of just upgrading because it’s easy.
It’s also worth remembering that if you’ve always been with the same provider, things have changed. Once upon a time, there were a few providers, and you might have only got good coverage in your area with a specific network. Nowadays, you can get adequate coverage all over the country with a whole range of providers. You aren’t as limited as you once might have been, and cheaper options aren’t necessarily worse.
Do You Actually Use Your Minutes and Messages?
Many contracts today appeal to us by advertising unlimited minutes and messages. But, let’s face it, most of us don’t use them. You might use your data or home WIFI to send messages over WhatsApp or iMessage. You might even use the internet to make video calls instead of using your minutes. Make sure you aren’t paying more for things that you never actually use.
Do You Use Your Phone Abroad?
Being able to use your phone abroad without extra costs is also something that appeals to many of us. But, it’s not something that you should be paying extra for the rest of the time, especially if you don’t actually use it.
Top Tips to Reduce Your Mobile Phone Costs
So, you are spending more than you need to. How do you stop? Let’s take a look at some of the best ways to save money on your phone bill.
Don’t Upgrade Unless You Need to
In the early days of mobile phones, we upgraded as soon as we possibly could because phones didn’t last much longer than a year. In that year, vast advancements were made, so that newer phones on the market were significantly better than the model we’d been using for the last twelve months.
This is no longer the case. Even with high use, our smartphones can last for a lot longer, and now that we download apps and updates, a two-year-old handset isn’t noticeably different from a brand-new model.
When the time to upgrade comes, ask yourself if you really need to? If not, decrease your contract to a SIM-only deal to reduce costs significantly.
Consider Alternative SIM-Only Deals
If you are choosing not to upgrade your handset, you don’t need to stay with the same provider either. Once your initial contract is up, you own your handset, and you can typically keep the same number even if you change network. Look at alternative SIM-only deals to cut costs further.
Look for Freebies and Perks
If you are ready for a new phone, don’t just look at the handset and perks of the contract. Save or make money by looking at other freebies you might be able to get. Some contracts might offer free games consoles or TVs, which can be an excellent way to save if you need something new or you’ve got a family birthday coming up.
Reduce Your Contract
Even if you want to stick with your provider, ask yourself if you are using everything your contract offers. Save money by reducing free minutes, messages and even data.
Buy Your Handset if You Can
If you are ready for a new handset, think about buying one outright if you can, instead of as part of a contract deal. Mobile contracts aren’t expensive because of the minutes and messages but because you are effectively paying off the phone. It can be far cheaper to buy one outright, even if it means saving for a little longer first.
Time it Right
iPhones and other well-known brands tend to get cheaper shortly after the release of a new model. If you can wait, start looking for reductions as soon as a new phone is announced.
Recycle Old Phones
If you keep old phones in case of emergencies, consider recycling them or selling them online to raise money towards something new. You may even be able to get a good deal by trading your old phone in.
You may think that your data needs are high; you might even be willing to pay more for a contract that includes more data. But is this really the case? Chances are, you connect to Wi-Fi at home. You can probably also connect at other people’s homes, public spaces, cafes and shops and even the gym. Use Wi-Fi as much as you can to reduce your data needs.
Perhaps the best way to save money with your phone is to simply think about it more. Stop hitting the upgrade button without first taking the time to compare other deals. Don’t think that it’s cheaper not to buy the handset without checking, and don’t assume that you need the most minutes and messages without first taking the time to access your usage. Most of us are spending more than we need to, so why not make some changes today?