Saving Money on Mobile Phones
After our utility bills, personal mobile phone bills are some of the highest outgoings from our monthly budget. If you are a family with just two children, the cost of mobile phone bills can become astronomical. So how can you save on mobile phones? Read on for our top mobile phone money saving tips.
Do You Really Need It All?
Whilst it’s great to have the latest techno wizardry in your hand, ask yourself if it is really essential for you to have the most expensive model on the market. If you’re a technology obsessive, the answer may well be ‘yes’. But for those on a budget, be honest about how important augmented reality, Sat Nav, and 3D technology is to you. Do you use these items on a regular basis, and would your life be genuinely less rich if your phone did not have these functions? How much is having the latest phone to do with ‘keeping up with the Joneses’, and how much better would it be to feel smug about how much money you have saved instead? It’s worth considering.
Choosing Cheaper Options
One way of making big savings on mobile phone deals is to cut functionality. Basic, cheap phone handsets are perfect for saving several hundred pounds when you start a family off on mobile phone usage. You can still expect to find a music player, a camera, texting facilities, email, Internet and social network functions on a cheap mobile. There will be free games, and other utilities like a calculator, alarm clock, calendar and reminders notebook. These are the items you are most likely to use, and high-end functions such as HD video recording, and SatNav are really unlikely to be in constant use. Don’t worry about the quality of a cheaper phone, since the same manufacturers that produce high-end phones make them all. Quality of cheap mobile phones is remarkably good, and they will last you a long while.
How To Haggle
Some phone companies will permit you to haggle if you can find a better deal elsewhere. Haggling has become common in almost every walk of commercial life since the recession, so don’t be embarrassed about asking for better deals. Flirt with other phone providers, when it is time to set your family up with new mobile phones. Get the best deal promise possible out of a new provider, then go back to your current one and ask them if they can match it. Ask to be put through to the ‘disconnections department’. Tell them the handset you want, and state that you will move to a new provider for your children, and then move yourself when your current contract expires. Say you really want to stay with them, but the deal on offer from other operators is just too good to pass up. A good customer services representative will see a chance to retain not only you, but sign up your family for plenty of future business, so they should bend over backwards to try and keep you. Have your facts and figures to hand, and simply ask if there is any way they can help you with the problem. What’s their best offer? Could they take money off the price of a handset if you stay? Could you have a free handset?
Whilst many people feel naturally reticent about this sort of conversation, your customer services representative won’t. They are actually waiting for your call and their job is to offer you deals and sweeteners to keep you loyal. You might be surprised to find just how much money you can save by talking to the disconnections department.
Cheap Phone Contracts
Some phone companies will offer you a cheap handset for nothing when you sign up, with prices starting from as little as £10 per month. Check the tariff carefully when buying for kids. If they use the phone mostly to text, try to get an unlimited text contract, or encourage them to use free software such as WhatsApp instead of texting. If all their school friends use WhatsApp, their text usage can be virtually non-existent. These low cost alternatives are invaluable for those on a budget and teach your kids to be shop savvy. If you end up sticking to your own phone provider when kitting out your family, some providers offer free calls between customers. This can be a great saving, and worth keeping in mind when deciding whether or not to jump ship. One way of encouraging your children to stay in touch is to tell them it’s free!
Remind your family that with Wi-Fi connectivity available in so many locations, it is easy to save money on Internet usage too, by picking your moment, and checking emails whilst having a coffee, for example.
Contract vs Pay As You Go?
Contracts tend to be cheaper in the long run. Pay As You Go is good for those that use their phone infrequently, but they need to have a phone in the first place. This is fine if you can inherit a phone from someone, or buy a cheap one and it is certainly worth investigating. Be aware that calls on a PAYG contract can often cost more than on a contract, so really think hard about how many calls you are going to make per month.
Hang Onto Your Old Handset or Buy Second Hand
You can save a lot of money by choosing a ‘SIM Only’ contract, so don’t bin that old handset just yet. SIM Only tariffs can really save you money. Put the word out amongst your friends to let you know if they want to sell a handset, and let them know you’re interested.
Another option is to buy second hand phones from marketplaces such as eBay. Those who are desperate for an iPhone, but can’t afford the tariffs, can opt for an unlocked second hand iPhone and use their existing contract. You can cut your SIM card to fit an iPhone, with a cheap device called a ‘SIM Cutter’. Second hand iPhones will still cost you well over £100, but they are a good option if you are desperate for an iPhone. Don’t forget that you have no guarantee that second hand phones will be problem-free, so it is a gamble. But choose your seller carefully, and it could pay off.