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It feels like mobile phone bills get higher every year. With multiple contracts in one household, it was vital that we found ways to keep our phone costs low. Today we’re sharing how we achieved this. Feel free to use some of these ideas so you can save money too.
How We Keep Mobile Phone Costs Low
We Never Pay For More Data Than We Use
This is the best thing we did to save money on our phone bill. With past contracts, we often found we had data left over at the end of the month, which meant we were paying for something we didn’t actually use. With our most recent contract, we made sure to get to know our usage so we could find a tariff to match.
We weren’t alone in paying for more than we needed. Research suggests that only 30% of people use their full allowance. This means a whopping 70% of customers are simply paying too much.
You can find out your average usage by checking past bills. This will give you a great idea of how many calls you make, thee texts you send, and how much data you use each month. You can then use this information to find a tariff that actually suits your usage and thus pay only for what you need.
In fact, for light users, a contract might not even be a good idea. Pay as you go is usually the better option for light users and all the networks let you buy bundles that last 30 days so you have plenty of flexibility if you know you need more data for a particular month. This guide from tigermobiles.com covers pretty much every pay as you go plan around with 1p Mobile being an interesting one if you’re not a heavy user.
Modern smartphones are super expensive and if something happens to them they can be very costly to repair. Insurance seems like a good idea because it covers you in this scenario, but it’s not as simple as that.
Buying insurance from the network is more expensive than buying it from a third-party provider, and in both cases, policies tend to come with complicated restrictions. This is why we prefer to self-insure. We simply put away a little money each month. The amount varies and but is usually as much as we can afford – this flexibility is so helpful in tighter months. This money is earmarked purely for mobile phone expenses, so if one of us needs a phone repaired or replaced or a bill is higher than expected, we’re always covered.
We Use Wi-Fi Wherever possible
To keep our data needs – and monthly bill – low, we use free Wi-Fi wherever possible. In the house, it obviously makes sense to sign into the Wi-Fi. But you can also find free to use hotspots in bars, restaurants, coffee shops, hotels, shopping centres and other public places. Be careful what you use your phone for whilst connected to public hotspots, as they’re not always secure. But for light web browsing and social media, you should be safe.
As for long journeys by train or plane, we pre-download films, TV shows and music to play offline. There are several apps that allow you to do this, including Spotify, Apple Music, Netflix and Amazon Prime. Streaming can be really data heavy, so this is a must.
We Monitor The Childrens’ Usage
The kid’s love to play with our smartphones but their usage is carefully monitored to prevent any surprise charges.
Video games can contain sneaky in-app purchases that children can unwittingly buy. YouTube videos can eat up an entire month’s worth of data allowance in just two hours. And premium numbers used in competitions can cost up to £5 per text.
To keep our kids safe and our bills low, we have regular conversations about responsible phone use. We keep no payment details saved on our devices, which means nothing can be bought without our knowledge. And most of the time we turn data off if the kids are using the phone so they can’t breeze through our allowances.
When the kids get their own smartphones, we’ll be setting strict parental controls and data caps to further prevent unexpected charges.
We Sell Or Trade-In Our Old Phones
And finally, we sell or trade-in our old phones. If it doesn’t save us money on a monthly basis it makes us money instead, which is just as good in our books.
Really old or damaged phones get recycled. We use sites like Mazuma Mobile to sell these types of devices for cold hard cash. The phones are then refurbished and sold again, or stripped for parts. The financial benefits are great, but the environmental benefits are even better. Any cash we make can be put towards our next phone or put into our self-insurance pot.
If you want to get top dollar for a used phone, the best way is to sell via eBay as you’re cutting out the middleman. It’s slightly more hassle and you can get problem customers but in general, you’ll get 20 to 30% higher than what a recycling firm can offer.
If we’re upgrading from a newer model, we might try and trade it in. There are a number of retailers who accept trade-ins, including Apple, Tesco Mobile, EE, Carphone Warehouse and Three. You can trade your phone for cash, and depending on the model, make anything up to £300. The other option is to trade in for store credit, which gives you a discount off your next handset or contract. Every network offers something a bit different, so make sure you do your research before choosing either option.
How do you keep your mobile costs down?
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