I used comparison site Befuddled to get the best mobile phone deals on my contract. It saved me a lot of money and time when looking for my new phone.
These days, it's not uncommon to look round a room and see most of the people on their phones. We are addicted to social media, messaging and keeping in touch with our friends - even if another friend is sitting across the table from us. Although not necessary for basic survival, owning a mobile phone is considered an essential to many, myself included. Therefore, it's something we will spend money on, but there is no need to break the bank to keep in touch. Below are my top three tips for saving money when getting a new phone deal.
1) Everyone's Different
Take a look at your lifestyle when looking into phone contracts. For my dad, who is new to the whole smartphone thing, mainly uses his phone in the house where there is WiFi, and only really uses it to call me and my sister, there would be no point in taking out an expensive contract with loads of data he wouldn't use. Instead we found him a great deal with unlimited texts (this comes with most contracts these days), 500MB of data (of which he still only uses about 300MB) and 500 minutes, and he only pays £7.50 per month. I pay over double that, but get 4 times the data. You just need to sit down and work out what the priorities are for you and your phone usage.
Keep an eye on your current contract, and ask in the store to get a breakdown of your usage. When I did this, it turned out I was going way over on my data each month, but only using a fraction of my calls - the exact opposite to my dad. Everyone uses their phone in a different way, and a phone contract is not one size fits all. Be specific with the shop assistant to make sure they know exactly what you want, and don't be pressured into buying extras that you know you won't use. If you are like me and likely to go over on data, get it capped. This means that once the data has run out, you cannot use it, and so won't get a huge bill in at the end of the month.
My dad always had a great wee saying growing up, and it's one I live by a lot these days:
'The more you research, the luckier you get'
He mainly told us this when we were away on holiday, staying in a really amazing place at a bargain price. He had put in the hours before the holiday to make sure that we would be there and get a great holiday for our money. The moral of the tale is to always research options. This applies to looking for a phone deal too. There are some great sites out there, such as Bufuddled Mobile Phone Deals, which lets you compare phone deals, from iPhones to sim only, and also lets you compare the actual handsets so that you can see what one is right for you and where you will be able to purchase them at well known retailers.
3) Consider Sim Only
The previously mentioned Befuddled have a specific section for sim-only. Many people avoid sim only as they think it is more effort and more complicated than getting everything bundled up in a nice contract tied together with a bow on top. But, it can save you money, and so in my opinion is totally worth it.
On many monthly contracts, you are gradually paying off the cost of the phone through your monthly bills - although it may feel like you are getting the phone for 'free' at the original time of purchase. A sim only contract means that you are just paying for the sim and your monthly allowance. It is more flexible and affordable in many ways. It's ideal for people who already have a phone that they don't need swapped or upgraded (note the word need, not want) or if you manage to get a hold of a second-hand handset from friends or family.
A major benefit of a sim only deal is the freedom of not being locked into a 2 year contract - which can cost a lot of money to break if you need to get out early. I was on a 30 day rolling contract, which meant that I could leave with just a months notice. It can also be cheaper than Pay as You Go (especially for people like me who use loads of data) and you don't need to worry about running out of credit, as you know your monthly allowance.
So to sum up...
The main thing that I would consider when looking for a new mobile deal, is what do you need? Everyone uses their own phone differently, so get a plan tailored to you. Also, don't be afraid to shop around and look for better deals. If you particularly like one brand, you can tell them that the same thing is being offered elsewhere for a cheaper price, and they will often offer you a deal. Be brave. be bold and be clear on what you want.
For ways to make money on your new mobile, check out my blog post on Mobile Money here.
As always, I am keen to hear your opinions and money saving tips in the comments below. I feel we can always learn new ways to save!
Luck and Love,