Much as I resent the amount of time the mini-Minteds spend plugged into their phones, I’m also paying for it so I need to find the most cost-effective contract.
Both of them have fully paid-up handsets which have a good few years of usage in them. That puts me firmly in the SIM-only market. We’ve been with Tesco for several years. The original contracts were an amazing £6 a month for a 12-month contract. But, over time, the price has crept up as the kids demanded more data (Snapchat is pretty byte-hungry). Darling Son, in particular, regularly busted through his safety buffer adding another £2.50 to the monthly bill. In August, the total was £15.
Data is the sticking point because, while I don’t want them to be able to be online 24/7, it was also clear that 1GB a month wasn’t enough. We agreed that 3GB was adequate and also that free minutes and texts are irrelevant as the kids hardly ever use them.
Armed with these requirements, my first stop was a comparison website. I actually used uSwitch but you could look at MoneySuperMarket* or Go Compare. I picked the 12-month, 3GB, 500 free minutes and unlimited texts deal for £8 from iD Mobile (part of Carphone Warehouse). I noticed that they also had a deal for an impressive £3.99 a month. It only had 500 MB of data but it might be a good starter package for early years at secondary school. (Remember though these prices can rise in line with inflation even during your contract.)
Then it was time to tell Tesco the bad news. Goodness me, they begged me not to leave and offered all sorts of discounts. Interestingly, they also asked me whether I was currently in a phone shop or undergoing ‘treatment’. From this I inferred they thought I was either a victim of hard-sell tactics or just mad to leave Tesco. I stuck to my guns, got the PAC code for each phone to keep the existing number on the new network, and then set about switching.
This wasn’t so easy. iD Mobile had a problem with registering two phones to the same email address and password, even though I’m being billed for both. This wasn’t a problem at Tesco because Mr Minted did one kid’s phone and I did the other. Fortunately I’ve got several emails so (I think) it’s finally worked out.
As a result, I’ve decided that the next time we move contract, the kids can have it in their own name and pay from their own bank accounts. I’ll just increase their monthly allowance to cover the contract amount – but not any extra. I can’t think of a better way to keep them inside their safety buffers than making them pay for it themselves.
See our SMM guide to saving on mobile phone bills here.