Apple is set to launch a new iPhone (or maybe two) tomorrow but I won’t be upgrading. My iPhone 7, which was cutting-edge when I got it just two years ago, is still going strong. So I’ve been looking at SIM-only deals (where you pay just for calls and data, not the handset) instead and I’ve managed to make a big saving.
You can save in other ways too, so read on for my top tips on how to cut those mobile phone bills.
1. It’s cheaper to buy a new phone outright
The popular 18-month or two year deals where you pay monthly appear to make it more affordable but there is a certain amount of credit interest rolled in along with those free minutes and data.
For example, if I bought the smaller iPhone 8 with 64GB storage from Carphone Warehouse on a iD Mobile plan with 2GB a month data, I’d pay £37.99 a month for two years with an upfront payment of £59.99. That’s a total of £971.75, wow, according to my back of envelope maths. If, however, I bought the iPhone direct from Apple for £699 and took the Plusnet 3.5GB data plan (see below) for £8 a month over the same period, I’d pay £891 – and that’s with more data.
2. Give notice BEFORE the contract ends.
The phone firm doesn’t automatically shift you on to a cheaper deal when the term ends. You must give notice, usually 30 days, that you’ll be changing. Otherwise you’ll keep paying the monthly sum you first signed up to until you change the contract, even if you’d paid off the handset.
3. Loyalty sometimes pays.
I got on to Vodafone just a week before my contract ended and was astounded that they offered me a Red Extra SIM-only deal (3GB) for 12 months for £12 a month. Normally it’s £15 a month, so that’s a 20% discount.
4. Shop around
I could have got a better deal than Vodafone, especially for less data. For example, iD Mobile has a plan for just £5 a month with 1GB of data while Plusnet (for new customers until 20 September) offers 3.5GB of data for £8 a month. These deals are from MoneySavingExpert’s useful best buy table here. Because I’m lazy, and I also didn’t have to give the 30-day notice period on the old charging system, which was £38.18 a month, I snapped up the Vodafone deal. I then received a flyer in the post from BT with special deals for existing broadband customers which were slightly cheaper. Bah!
5. Work out how much data you really need
If, like me, you rarely leave the house except for the supermarket or school run *sound of violins* then consider if you need bucketloads of data. I’m usually running off the desktop, the home wifi or the coffee shop’s freebie, so I probably don’t need all the 3G I’ve got. Maybe I’ll start watching TV on the Saturday morning touchline….
6. Check out any family discounts
Many providers offer discounts for additional or ‘family’ phones. Tesco, for example, has discounts or perks for add-on handsets . Vodafone has 15% off extra phones and EE 10%.
For help cutting bills, see our SMM guides here.