If you’re paying more than £20 per month for your mobile phone tariff, you’re probably paying too much. At least, that’s the consensus of many financial experts like Martin Lewis. However, the average UK phone bill is actually £45.60 per month according to industry regulator, Ofcom. And many people pay upwards of £60 per month for the latest handsets. I know when I was looking to take out my latest contract I found it difficult to get all the features I needed for a price I was happy with!
If your phone bill is higher than you’d like, the good news is you can definitely get it lower. You’ll have to wait until your current contract is up, but when it is you could potentially halve your bill.
Interested? Read on to find out how.
Forget 24-month contracts
Most of us now buy our phones on a 24-month contract that bundles the cost of the handset with the tariff in one monthly payment. The problem with buying your phone in this way is that it is rarely the cheapest option. The cost of the handset is generally inflated with an APR of anything between 20% and 40%. And because there’s often no price transparency, you’ll never know exactly how much you’re paying for the device.
A contract is definitely convenient, and if you don’t have lots of spare cash it may seem like the only option if you need a new phone. However, if you do have the money, buying a phone upfront will save you significant sums in the long-term.
If you don’t have cash, consider alternative financing methods. There are phone-specific loans with much lower APR than contracts, or you could use a 0% credit card.
Change your contract as soon as it ends
Don’t continue paying the same amount for your contract after the minimum term. If you do so, you’re effectively paying for a handset you already own. Millions of people have found themselves overcharged in this way, and there’s nothing they can do about it once the damage is done.
30 days before your contract ends is when you should make a decision: switch to a new network, upgrade your phone, or keep your handset and downgrade to a SIM-only tariff. This is when you can make some really good savings, so be smart and do your research before committing to anything.
SIM-only or PAYG Bundles can cost as little as £4 a month
If you opt to keep your existing handset or buy a new one upfront (with cash or finance) you now have your pick of SIM-only deals.
With plans from as little as £4 per month, SIM-only really can’t be beaten. Even if you need a substantial package of data you can probably score a deal for less than £15 a month. Even PAYG with no tie ins is an option if you want flexibility, this PAYG guide covers every tariff and rates Giffgaff as the best choice with 3GB for £10 per month.
Over a two-year period, SIM-only can save you hundreds of pounds. In fact, we crunched the numbers and found that buying the iPhone XS upfront for £999 and taking a SIM-only deal for £12 a month will save you £500 over 24-months. Of course you can save even more money by choosing a cheaper handset. This brings us to our next point…
Do you really need the latest handset?
So many of us are swayed into buying or taking a contract for the latest iPhone or Samsung but do we really need them? There are plenty of high-end smartphones that perform extremely well but cost much less than these flagship models. You can even go for an older iteration of the iPhone or Samsung Galaxy; a model just two years old can be significantly cheaper.
Not only will choosing a different model cost you less if you buy upfront, but contracts are much cheaper too. You can get a budget smartphone on contract for less than £20 a month, which is more than half the UK average of £45.60.
Eight out of ten people are on the wrong mobile phone tariff. They are either paying for more data than they use, or don’t have enough and are frequently going over their allowance or having to buy add-ons. This may not seem like a big deal but in reality it could be costing you hundreds over the course of a 24-month contract.
Fortunately this problem is very easily fixed by getting to know your usage. Look over past bills to find out exactly how much data you use each month. When you know this number, you can choose a tariff that matches it and pay only for what you need.
If you don’t fancy analysing past bills yourself, a website called Billmonitor.com can do it for you. It uses fairly advanced maths to analyse your bills, compare millions of tariffs, and find the ones that suit you best. You only pay if you take out a new contract, and the fee is 30% of the total saving, so there’s impetus for Billmonitor to save you as much as possible.