Spend less on your mobile

07 December 2010

Hate receiving your mobile phone bill every month? Don't put up and shut up - find out how to slash that bill and cut your costs!

Choose the right tariff

Shop around

As usual, if you want to get the best deal, you need to shop around! Mobile phone sites such as Recombu have nifty little tools which will scour the thousands of deals available for you.

You simply use the slider tools to choose how many minutes and texts you need, together with how much you're willing to pay each month, and they’ll find a tariff to suit you.

Go online

One of the best things about buying your mobile phone online is you'll get more for your money.

For example, Orange offers nearly £5 off a range of plans if you order online, and O2 will give you double the amount of texts than you'd normally get if you choose an online plan.

It's also worth keeping your eyes peeled for cashback deals on websites such as Quidco and TopCashback.

Consider SIM only

Most providers have introduced SIM only deals over the past year or so, and these offer great value for money. You won't get a new phone - instead you'll get a shiny new SIM to pop into your existing handset - and you'll get many more minutes/texts for your money.

What's more, you don't have to get tied into an 18 or 24 month contract. Instead, you can choose to be on a 30-day rolling contract - so if something better comes along you can switch at a month's notice.

To compare current deals use simonlycontracts.co.uk.

Consider giffgaff

If you are more than happy with your existing phone, but fancy spending a bit less on your contract, then take a look at giffgaff.

Giffgaff employs a real community ethos. For example, rather than having to deal with technical support lines, if you have an issue with your phone, the users on giffgaff’s community pages can help out. They are then rewarded with points which go towards cheaper bills for them!

What’s more, the users themselves play a part in the design of the tariffs and bundles giffgaff offers. And those bundles are seriously competitive – for £15 a month you can get 300 free minutes, and unlimited text messages and data use.

Count the cost of that swanky new phone

You'll get fewer minutes and texts with the new smartphones - so it's good to consider whether it's worth it. We tell you why the iPhone isn’t necessarily worth it and show you how two leading smart phones compare.


Finally, if you’re on an uncompetitive deal but don’t want the hassle of switching, why not call your existing provider to barter for a better deal? With so many networks vying for your business, you could soon have your provider on its knees, and provided you do your research, your existing network will often match, or better any deals you find.

Take advantages of perks

Orange Wednesdays

If you're an Orange customer, don’t forget mobile extras such as Orange Wednesdays, which gives you 2 for 1 tickets at cinemas nationwide every week. Text FILM to 241 from your Orange phone to get your code.

What's more, before you head off to the cinema, you can also get 2 for 1 pizzas every Wednesday at Pizza Express. And if that wasn't enough, you can also get free garlic bread or dough balls. Just remember to bring along your Orange Wednesdays cinema text ticket! Find out more here.

Get connected with Skype

Wherever you are in the world, Skype is the easy way to get connected free of charge. With both Skype and phone giant Nokia on board, Skype has quickly become mobile, meaning you can have all the advantages of using a mobile phone, plus all the benefits of Skype, at no extra charge.

Get free songs on your phone

Fancy unlimited downloads straight to your mobile phone? With Nokia’s Comes With Music package, you can download unlimited free music for a year. Unfortunately, you won’t be able to play the songs on a different MP3 player, but considering iTunes songs are 79p a pop, you could save yourself a small fortune.

Bag a better broadband deal with your mobile

Who says loyalty doesn’t pay? In fact, when it comes to getting a decent broadband deal, sticking to what you know could pay handsome dividends. Both Orange and O2 both offer exclusive deals to existing customers that could help slash your broadband bill in half.

Don’t get ripped off abroad

Consider a bolt-on option

If you're planning to do a lot of calling while you're abroad on holiday, you could consider a bolt-on option to keep your costs down. For example, O2 offers My Europe Extra for just £10 a month, as well as its International Traveller Service - both of which give you discounts on making and receiving calls while abroad.

Orange also offers a World Traveller package for just £5 a month which will give you up to 30% off calls you make and receive.

Find out more about bolt-on options in Cut the costs of calling from abroad.

Stick to texting

If you can cope with only texting while you're on holiday,  O2 pay monthly and Simplicity plans include texts sent from abroad within your standard allowance. One roaming text or media message is the equivalent of four messages sent in the UK. So this works out to be much more cost-effective.

Buy an international SIM card

If you're a frequent traveller, you could also buy an international SIM card - although you might need to get your phone unlocked in order to use this card.

Once you've done this, you'll then need to buy a global SIM card to replace your UK one when you go abroad. These usually cost between £15-35 and should also include some phone credit.

Buying an international SIM will allow you to make discounted calls all over the world. And in some cases, you won't be charged for any calls you receive while you're away. All you have to do is pop the SIM into your phone and top it up online.

Good places to check out include GeoSim, WorldSIM and Sim4Travel.

Turn off your voicemail

It's always a good idea to ask your network provider to switch off your voicemail before you go away. That's because if someone leaves a message on your voicemail while you're overseas, you will be charged the overseas rate to receive a call - whether your phone is on or off.

And if you phone your voicemail to hear the message, you'll be charged the overseas rate again.

Avoid expensive foreign downloads

Although many contract deals now come with unlimited web surfing, surf on your phone abroad, and you’re likely to be hit with an astronomical bill. So, the advice is simple: do not use your mobile phone to browse the internet while abroad, or you may regret it.

Watch out for these rip-offs

Avoid paper billing

While most mobile phone operators now insist on paperless billing and payment by direct debit, there are still a few which levy a fee for itemised billing. Check your statement carefully to ensure you’re not paying any unnecessary charges.

Ditch that mobile phone insurance

Mobile phone insurance can be pricey and full of catches - so even if you think you are covered, you may not be. A far better way of protecting you phone is to check whether your home insurance policy covers your mobile phone sufficiently. It can be worth adding personal possessions cover to your policy to ensure that your mobile will be covered outside the property (and not just in it).

Or you could simply put some money aside each month into a savings account so that you'll have funds to fall back on if you did lose or damage your phone. Or just keep an old phone somewhere safe for backup.

Find out more in Don't buy this rip-off insurance.

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Don't be seduced by freebies

Loads of companies offer freebies in return for you taking out a contract, and whether it's the latest console or a shiny new laptop you want, chances are someone is giving one away for nothing.

But these deals come at a price, and on closer inspection, these 'freebies’ are usually anything but free. Find out more in The dos and don'ts of getting a mobile phone deal.

Avoid cashback deals

Free cash and contracts may sound good on paper, but on closer inspection, you may find you have to jump through hoops in order to get them. Read more about the pros and cons of cashback deals in Dodgy cashback phone deals slammed.


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