15th Sep 2022
Our hot takes on how to save money on your phone bill
The mobile plans you can choose from are a lot more complicated than they used to be. In fact, it's hard to keep track of all the different kinds of plans and how much they cost. There's a reason for that: phone companies want you to pay as much as possible for their services. That's why we're here with some tips on how you can cut down on your monthly bill without sacrificing your ability to use your phone whenever—and wherever—you need it.
The average monthly cost of a mobile phone contract was just under £50 in 2021 and likely to rise significantly in 2022 - and that's not the only amount you can pay. Fortunately, there are ways to get a better deal on your mobile contract so you don't have to spend as much money each month. There are several different ways you can save money on this front as well. If you're looking for the best deal possible, keep reading!
Don't automatically sign up for a new contract.
If you're on a two-year contract, it may be tempting to sign up for another one. But before you do that, ask yourself whether or not you really need another year with your current provider and consider the available options. If you've been with your carrier for a while and aren't using any of the extras they offer—like data rollover—you could save money by switching to a cheaper plan with fewer bells and whistles.
If you don't ask you don't get - if you like the service of your current provider, it doesn't hurt to get in touch and see if you can negotiate yourself a better deal. Annual price increases can lead you to worse deals than new customers receive. Just let your current provider know that you are shopping around and they will be sure to try and retain a loyal customer like yourself!
Checking usage patterns can also help: Most people don't need unlimited data plans anymore (if they ever did). If you only use 2GB of data each month, there's no reason why paying $60 per month is worth it when there are better deals out there! Remember: You can always buy more data if necessary but it's impossible to get a refund for unused data or minutes!
Finally, do you even need to be tied into a contract? Why not consider PAYG (Pay as you go) which do not tie you in and provide much better value for money as compared to most contract plans. For example, giffgaff offer a "golden goodybag" for £10/month which includes 15GB of data and unlimited calls/texts - with no contract you can change your plan or leave whenever you want. They offer excellent network coverage (run on O2), is super convenient and safe (everything is done online - yes, everything). It's no secret we are a fan of giffgaff - after all, they were the only UK mobile network to not raise prices in 2022. Winning!
If you have an old phone lying around, SIM-only plans are the way to go. You can use your old phone with a new SIM card and save loads of money on your monthly bill. Mobile phones are a lot more durable than the 2 years we seem to give them - we don't discard TVs, laptops and fridges as often, so mobile phones are no exception.
Why not look into refurbishing your current mobile handset or purchasing a refurbished one from reputable online retailer - of which there are plenty. This alone can save you hundreds of precious GBPs. This may seem scary but really isn't - mobile phones are durable machines when looked after, and easily repairable to almost new quality. Reputable retailers will provide warranties and be sure to use your credit card to pay. This will provide you with added protection for peace of mind.
Get in on family plans.
Family plans are another excellent way to save money. You can get your family on the same plan and share data, minutes and text. What’s more, you can add as many lines as you need even if they are not relatives. This means that your family, extended family and friends can enjoy discounted rates through numbers. You will go from negotiating over pennies to pounds, which isn't a bad place to be.
Find a cheap plan.
When you're looking for a new phone plan, it can be tempting to focus on the upfront costs of the plan itself. But what about all those little extras?
- Look at the data inclusions or limits. Many providers offer unlimited data with their plans—but often only for certain activities such as email and social media. If you need more than just that, make sure that your provider offers enough data so that you're not automatically charged extra fees later on when you go over your allotted amount.
- Consider how many calls and texts come with each plan. Sometimes these are included; other times they aren't—but either way, it's worth knowing prior to signing up for a new contract or package which will require monthly payments from then on out! Make sure everything works out financially before committing yourself by getting an estimate from our friends over at moneysupermarket.co.uk.
Say goodbye to roaming fees.
Roaming fees are expensive. Outside the EU, bundles are more expensive and some providers charge a gobsmacking £7/MB for data (though firms cap your spend at £45 for data). The average Briton pays £1.92 per MB of data when traveling abroad. If you're about to embark on an international trip, there are a few ways you can avoid these fees and keep your phone bill down:
- Buy a local SIM card at an international airport. Most airports have booths that sell SIM cards for countries around the world (including yours). All you need is your passport and cash, and they'll help you get set up with data and calls while you're away. This is my favourite option because it's so easy; all I have to do is show up at the right place!
- Turn off roaming if you do not wish to use your phone during your trip. It may be worth doing this before you leave the country. Another option is to forward all calls to a family member back home and switch off connectivity on your phone except WiFi during your travels - especially if you need to unwind!
Be aware of mobile insurance.
Mobile insurance is an option that should be considered for mobile phones. The coverage, however, will depend on the plan you choose and its fine print. Often, purchasing the insurance coverage from a third party is much cheaper than from the network operator or reseller - they expect a commission for selling to you. you may even have existing coverage which may be invalidated by purchasing an additional policy - often these are offered with your debit or credit card for free or for a nominal amount included in your monthly account fee. Some providers offer a range of options for both hardware and software protection, while others require you to purchase separate policies if you want to cover specific items.
You don't have to pay top dollar for your mobile usage
You don't have to pay top dollar for your mobile usage. There are plenty of ways you can reduce your mobile bill by up to 80%.
If you want to keep costs low, be more mindful of using Mobile Data vs WiFi when surfing the web at home, at work and even socially. With most homes connected to superfast broadband, there is no reason to use mobile data at home - be sure to switch to WiFi. Businesses have caught up too, with many social and hospitality venues offering free WiFi to paying customers. One word of caution though - public WiFi networks are not secure and should be usef for pleasure only. So don't go paying your bills over the McD's WiFi connection.
If it's too scary to go cold turkey and cut off a major source of distraction, try reducing your data usage instead: turning off notifications on messaging apps is helpful here; so is temporarily disabling location services (if possible) when traveling abroad in order to avoid exorbitant roaming fees. The goal is simple: use less data so that when the bill comes due at month end, there isn't much left over from what was billed previously—which means less money spent overall.
The bigger benefit of reducing screen-time is to your health, with research showing that spending too much time on mobile phones can lead to a host of detrimental health impacts in the long-term. Overuse even leads to addiction which is shown to erode real-world relationships and productivity.
Now that you’ve read our tips, it’s time to get out there and save some money! Remember that while cutting your mobile bill is important, it can also be fun. If there are any other ways to do so that we haven’t mentioned here then please leave us a comment below! We hope these tips will help you save some cash on your phone bill and enjoy using your device more often.