It’s time to get smart with your smartphone – why pay more than you need on your monthly mobile bill?
Contracts for the latest iPhone can top an eye-watering £90 a month. But if you hang on to your old handset, you can find SIM-only deals for less than a tenner. That’s a difference of more than a grand a year!
A pay-as-you-go phone doesn’t require a credit check, so could be good if your credit record isn’t great.
What should you do with your extra money? Now that you’ve saved a few quid, we’ve a few ideas that will get you saving. Try them out here.
How long it’ll take: Put away a morning
- Mobile bills or username and password, for your mobile account, to check your usage
- Internet access, to check for the best deals
- Phone, to haggle with your current provider
1. Treat yourself to the right tariff
Most people pay well over the odds for their mobile, because their tariff doesn’t quite fit. Either they’re paying for way more minutes, texts and data than they use, or paying through the nose every time they go over their allowances.
Think Goldilocks: you need a tariff that’s not too big, not too small, but just right!
Seven out of 10 people could save £222 a year by switching to a mobile phone contract that better suits their needs according to the CMA.
2. Hang on to your handset
The handset makes the biggest difference to your bill. If you’re happy with your handset, or can buy one separately, slash your bill by switching to a SIM-only deal. It’ll be way cheaper than a contract that comes with a new phone.
Check with your supplier if your contract has ended already or find out when it will. Make a note in your diary when will end so you know when you can switch without potential fees.
3. Haggle, and then haggle some more
If you’re at or near the end of your current contract, you’re in a powerful position. Don’t keep paying for a handset you’ve already paid for. Ring your provider. Tell them you want to leave. Get through to the retention or disconnections department (that bit is important as they are the ones with the power).
Chances are they’ll offer you a better deal on your allowances, payment, handset or even all three. Cut just a tenner a month, save £120 a year!
Nervous about haggling? MoneySavingExpert.com has a guide on how to do it like a pro.
Don’t be fooled by “free” phones – Paying over a long contract is usually more expensive than buying a handset at the start. Compare the total cost by adding up any upfront fee, plus all the monthly payments. Then check if it’s cheaper to buy your own phone, and get a tariff that doesn’t include a handset – a comparison site can help you with this.
Run the numbers – To get the right tariff, check what you actually use in terms of texts, minutes and data. Three choices:
- Pore over your mobile bills for the last three months. Tot up every text, call and bit of data, and calculate the average for a month. Then have a lie down in a darkened room.
- Ask your provider
- Let a price comparison website like Billmonitor, HandsetExpert or Moneysupermarket.com analyse your bills – AND match up the best deals to suit your circumstances.
Pick how you pay – Now you need to choose whether to pay-as-you-go, pay monthly or take a Sim-only deal.
With pay-as-you-go, you only pay for what you actually use. You pay in advance and are fancy free with no contract. Great for budgeting, cheaper if you don’t use your phone much, but you risk running out of credit.
With a traditional contract, you pay a monthly fee for a handset and a certain amount of calls, text and data. It spreads out the cost of the handset, but could cost more in the long term.
With a Sim-only deal, you need your own handset, and just pay a fee for your calls, texts and data. The contracts can be as short as 30 days, rather than two to three years with a handset contract.
Switch network, not number – You can still hang onto your phone number, even if you change network. Just ask your old mobile company for the PAC (porting authorisation code), so you can give it to the new one.
Consider mobile phone coverage – Network coverage is an important aspect when purchasing a new mobile phone contract. Poor coverage could mean that you miss phone calls and your text messages could be delayed, not to mention poor speeds when trying to use the internet.
The Ofcom website has links to coverage checkers for all the main suppliers.
This article is provided by the Money Advice Service.
Some important information about Rest Less Money
We want you to understand the positives, but also the limitations of using our site. We operate in a journalistic manner and therefore all information, guidance or suggestions provided are intended to be general in nature, and you should not rely on any of the information on the site in connection with the making of any financial decision.
When we set out to build Rest Less Money, we wanted to be a trusted place where you could find helpful information about financial matters affecting the over 50s. As a free to use resource, we try hard to provide the best information we can, but we cannot guarantee that we won’t occasionally make mistakes. So please note that you use the information on our site at your own risk, and we can’t accept liability if things go wrong.
Key things to remember when using Rest Less Money:
We do not offer financial advice – As a journalistic site, it’s important to know that we do not provide financial advice. You should always do your own research before choosing any financial product so that you can be certain it is right for you and your specific circumstances. If you are in any doubt, please seek professional financial advice from a regulated financial advisor.
No Liability – please note that you use the information on Rest Less Money at your own risk and we can’t accept liability for how you choose to use the information given on our site. We will often provide links to content or products and services available on other third-party websites. These are provided purely for your convenience and we cannot be held responsible for any content, or any of the products and services offered on any website that we link to.
Accuracy of Information – We try to make sure that all the information provided on Rest Less Money is correct at the time of publishing as we want it to be the most helpful resource possible. Sadly, we are not perfect however, and so we can make no guarantees as to the completeness, accuracy, adequacy or suitability of the information available on the site.
Whilst we work hard to try and provide accurate information, deals and prices can change, so whilst they may be correct at the time of writing, providers may subsequently decide to alter them later – so always double check first.
A final note on the Rest Less Community Forums – always remember that anyone can post their opinion on the Rest Less Community Forums, so it can be very different from our own opinion and may not be factual or well researched. Always be wary of any content posted on the forums and be sure to do your own research and due diligence on anything suggested.