Affordable phones – saving money on your mobile contract

by Adam on January 17, 2011

A recent consumer survey has revealed that over 10 million mobile phone users pay more than they need to on monthly bills.
With multiple introductory rates, add-ons and freebees it can be hard to work out exactly how different deals from different providers compare, which means getting the most out of a monthly contract can be challenging – buy too much and waste credit, don’t buy enough and get penalised for going over the monthly threshold.

Here’s the Magical Penny guide to choosing and comparing mobile phone providers.

Review usage

Establish how you actually use your phone to find out what kind of package will suit you – reviewing usage can be pretty easy, all it involves is checking monthly bills over a short period and speaking to your current provider, who should be able to give you a concise breakdown of text, data and call minutes.

Pick an appropriate package

Picking an appropriate package is the best way to make savings on monthly mobile bills, money which can then be better saved or invested elsewhere. The increased popularity of smart-phones means mobile usage is changing – with more people accessing the internet via handheld devices additional mobile packages have been introduced to the market. If you’re intending to upgrade to a smart phone and the prerequite 3G data-contract, then consider trying a pay as you go 3G add-on to begin with – this will give you the chance to check usage before committing on a contract. You should also give yourself a 30 day challenge to see if you still really want to upgrade to a shiny new phone.

Know your limits

Going over your agreed and paid for allowances can result in huge penalties on your bill – know where you are with your usage by setting and checking your mobile call log, which details calling, data and text minutes. Alternatively check with your provider about setting up text alerts and cut-offs when the allowance limits are met.

Shop around

Any consumer who is looking for the best buy should always shop around – whilst price is always a priority, establishing what reputation providers have with regards to customer service is also important, especially when things go wrong. Prices and customer reviews are easily accessible via comparison websites.

Pay as you go

The failsafe solution to big mobile phone bills is of course pay as you go – many providers offer competitive deals on top up charges, with free texts and data thrown in when call minutes are purchased. Paying up front offers an effective solution for managing a budget and keeping on top of outgoing bills. For example, I prefer a PAYG phone as it keeps my monthly bills lower -some months it’s not always economical but over the course of the year it ends up cheaper (It turns out I talk to my friends much more in the summer!)
Good luck finding what works best for you.

January is a great time to review your spending commitments, mobile contract or otherwise. Does anyone have any other good suggestions?

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Great tips. This is often the last thing people check when saving money because most people are locked into contracts. I myself do the pay as you go too. I am so much happier now than when I had a contract and a high monthly bill. I only pay $30 with Straight Talk and have a really nice LG phone with 1000 minutes and 1000 texts. I was paying over twice as much before and locked into my contract for years. Thanks for highlighting this great option. I wish more people knew about prepaid and how good it is.

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