How to Save Money on the Cost of Owning a Mobile Phone

With so many different mobile phone tariffs available, it is easy to become confused about which one offers the best deal. Let’s clear up some of the confusion by taking a look at the different types of mobile phone contracts and pay as you go deals available to consumers. The right deal for you will depend on the type of phone you own or want to buy, as well as your typical mobile phone usage habits.

Is Pay As You Go Cheaper?

A pay as you go tariff can be a very cost-effective way of paying for your mobile phone usage, particularly if you are not a heavy user of data and don’t make too many calls. On a pay as you go tariff, you only pay for the minutes, texts and megabytes of data that you actually use, which makes this kind of tariff a great option for people who are not heavy phone users. Some pay as you go tariffs also offer free texts or data every time you top up. However, unless you already own a handset, you will probably have to buy one outright in order to use this type of tariff, which is a large upfront cost that not everyone can afford.

Comparing Contracts

Mobile phone contract deals can sometimes be the most cost-effective way of getting your hands on the latest smartphone. It is often possible to get a free handset by signing up for a contract, but it pays to do your homework before signing on the dotted line: work out how much you can expect to pay in monthly charges over the course of the contract. It might be cheaper to buy the phone you want outright and use a pay as you go or SIM-only tariff instead.

Contract deals are particularly suited to people who make a lot of calls, send thousands of texts per month, or are heavy data users. For these people, paying for everything they use on a pay as you go tariff would be very expensive. However, it is important not to take out a contract for more minutes and data than you need if you are trying to save money. If you currently have a mobile phone, track how many minutes you spend making calls, how many text messages you send, and how much data you transfer over the phone operator’s network during an average month. Using this information, you can work out what allowances you will need your contract to provide.

Should You Take Out an Insurance Policy?

Many mobile phone providers will try to get you to sign up for an insurance policy when you buy your phone. Carefully weigh up the costs and benefits of such a policy before agreeing to take one on. If you end up spending significantly more on paying the insurance premiums than it would cost you to buy a new phone, the policy probably isn’t worth the money you are paying for it.

Restricting Data Costs

If you are on a pay as you go tariff or a contract deal with a limited data allowance, you will need to restrict the amount of data you send and receive over your carrier’s 3G network. You can do this by using free Wi-Fi whenever it is available. Set up your phone to automatically scan for wireless networks and connect automatically to your home network. You do not pay to send or receive data over a wireless network, so do as much downloading and updating of applications as possible while you are connected to reduce your 3G data usage and potentially lower your bill. If you are travelling abroad, adjust the settings on your phone so that it doesn’t send or receive data while you are roaming; remembering to change this setting could allow you to avoid returning home to a shockingly large phone bill.