Look at the world around you and all you will see are mobile phones glued to hands. Whether it’s social media, WhatsApp, or the latest level of candy crush, everyone has something on their device that they can’t live without. But should that really mean you have to pay extortionate fees to minutes, texts and data you probably never completely use?
There are so many ways you can have the mod-cons and updates on your mobile phone, while still keeping the cost low. In fact, any more than £10 a month is quite frankly too much, so if you pay more than this, stop that now.
While those all-inclusive contracts may seem attractive with their ease of use and occasional handset upgrades, chances are these will have you paying far more than you need to. By switching to a SIM-only contract, you can keep your bill to £10 a month and still have everything you need from your phone.
Of course, there may be factors beyond the obvious which heighten your monthly cost, for example roaming abroad, a very high data allowance, or you may be paying off the cost of a handset. While these may provide some explanation as to your higher monthly cost, it still doesn’t mean you can’t save. If you are still paying on a contract and you’ve surpassed your minimum contract terms, chances are you may be still paying for a handset you have already purchased.
Mobile tariffs and network deals and constantly changing, so make sure that every year you are comparing your options and assessing if the network you are with, really are offering the best deal. If not, switch!
The new iPhone or Samsung may look great, and it may impress your friends for all of 5 minutes, but do you really need the latest handset? There are plenty of well-established manufacturers with all the same features as Apple or Samsung, only without the brand and subsequent hefty price tag. Check online and compare the price of handsets both in paying outright and as part of a monthly contract. You may be surprised how some of those figures add up!
You can find SIM only deals from anywhere between £5-£15 a month that should cover pretty much everyone’s usage requirements. Most of these are 12-month deals but there are plenty of 30-day ones available too.
My personal tip is to switch to a pay as you go SIM and use prepaid bundles. A lot of people think pay as you go is old fashioned and requires top ups but most providers now have bundled deals that give you a set allowance that expires after 30 days then auto rebills. For example, giffgaff works in this way with their goody bags, and for a £10 per month goody bag, you’ll get 3GB of data along with unlimited minutes and unlimited texts. Pretty much every network now offers them and this blog post has reviewed all the pay as you go sim offers with their pros and cons.
If You Really Need a New Phone
If a new handset is a must, you have three options:
- Buy it outright and then sign up for a SIM-only contract. While this is typically cheaper in the long run with the SIM-only contracts generally keeping monthly costs lower than £10, the initial cost of the handset will have to pay all in one go so will require significant costs upfront.
- Look into some finance deals that will allow you to purchase the handset outright, but spread the cost. This gives you a much lower upfront cost and allows you the option of pairing the handset with a SIM-only contract. However, the long-term finance contracts typically charge more overall for the handset than it would be if you paid all in one go. Paying it off in smaller chunks comes at its own price… it’s up to you to decide if this is something you are willing to pay. If you can find a 0% credit card this might be another option.
- Look into contracts and see if there is one for you that comes at a good price. Though the big network packages are often overpriced, you can sometimes find deals on re-seller websites that may even be cheaper than the SIM-only contract. This requires a great deal of research via the comparison sites and remember, any contract that includes the handset in the deal, usually has a minimum service time of 24 months So you’re in it for the long run!
In short, you need to think about the time of plan you need and then stick to it. A contract, SIM-only, or Pay-As-You-Go. All have their pros and cons, it’s up to you to sort them out and decide which is best for you.
The contract is typically the longest commitment, tying you to the network for at least 2 years while you pay off the handset and the package bundle you select, including minutes, texts, and data allowance. You will also be credit checked so if you have a bad credit score, this option may not necessarily even be available.
SIM-only is great if you already have a handset or if you are able to buy one outright. It allows you flexibility and a short-term commitment of as little as 30 days, so you can see what allowance works for you and get the best deal.
Pay-As-You-Go is a no commitment option that means you will never go over your allowance and face penalties. It is easy for someone on a budget as you simply pay in advance for what you will use, and top up as necessary. Though expensive for heavy data users, it at least caps you and allows you to keep an eye on your spending without the chance of getting a surprise bill.