The biggest mobile phone blunders we all make

If you're choosing a new mobile phone tariff, don't make these mistakes...

Mobile phones have come a long way over recent years, and as phones have gained an increasing number of handy uses, mobile tariffs have gone up in price.

Unfortunately, there is also a range of temptations and rip-offs that can see us paying out far more for our tariff than we strictly need to.

So here, I’m going to round up some of the biggest mobile phone mistakes to avoid when deciding which mobile deal to go for.

1. Ignoring the internet

You’re bound to walk past several mobile phone shops on a trip into town or on your way home from work. But don’t get tempted to go inside to order your new phone and tariff because the deals you’ll be offered will be more expensive than those online.

You’ll get a lot more for your money if you choose an online plan. So be sure to check out the major network providers’ websites to see what’s on offer. And that leads me nicely onto...

2. Not shopping around

If you don’t shop around for your phone tariff, you’re making the biggest mistake of all! That’s because there are so many different tariffs out there that it’s really important to check you’re getting the best deal to suit your needs.

So always compare deals from different providers carefully. A great way to do this is by using a comparison site such as Recombu. This nifty site allows you to use the slider tools to choose how many minutes and texts you want, together with how much you’re willing to pay each month. You can then find a tariff to meet your requirements. 

3. Being tempted by freebies

Watch out for mobile tariffs that come with some kind of ‘freebie’ such as a laptop or games console. The sole purpose of these offers is to entice you in and ignore whether or not you’re getting good value for money. In many cases you’ll find you would have saved money by getting a cheaper tariff and buying the item yourself. So in reality, the freebie isn't free at all.

Also watch out for cashback deals. Although they might sound good, the process for claiming your cashback can be very tricky and is often not worth it.

4. Being tempted by the phone model

We all see people using flashy phones on the commute into work or at the pub, but don’t get trapped into thinking you need one too. Consider what you use your phone for and whether you really need it to do a lot more than simply call and text.

Tariffs with the latest phone models will be far more expensive and in many cases it simply isn’t worth paying the high price.

5. Forgetting about SIM only deals

Don’t forget about SIM only deals. These are far cheaper than monthly contracts and they are great for those of you who are happy with your current mobile phone.

SIM only deals usually only require you to be tied into a 30-day rolling contract so you won’t have to be stuck on a 12, 18 or even 24 month contract as you would be on a standard contract. This means that should a better deal come along, you can switch at a month’s notice.

All of the major providers offer SIM only deals, but Tesco is also well worth checking out, as is giffgaff and Utility Warehouse.

Giffgaff operates slightly differently from the big networks as it employs a community ethos and if you have a problem with your phone, instead of using technical support lines, the users on the community pages will help out.

It offers some truly competitive deals – for example, for £5 a month, you can get 60 minutes and 300 texts, and an extra free minute for every minute you get called. Or for £10 a month, get 250 minutes, unlimited texts and unlimited internet access. See all the deals here.

Meanwhile, Utility Warehouse offers lots of discounted deals on your mobile, landline and broadband costs, as well as your gas and electricity. This will all be included in a single bill. Examples of its SIM only deals include the Value 500 for £10 a month which includes 500 minutes and unlimited texts, while the Value 800 costs £15 a month and includes 800 minutes and unlimited texts. Find out more here.

Alternatively, have a look at pay as you go deals as these are often better value than contract deals.

6. Signing up to mobile phone insurance

Finally, be very wary of mobile phone insurance, which you’re bound to be offered as soon as you sign up to a new tariff. Personally, I think phone insurance is completely pointless as it’s often riddled with catches and exclusions. Many policies, for example, don’t cover you if you’ve left your phone in a public place or for accidental damage.

What’s more, these policies often come with a fairly high excess and you may find you’re already covered on your home insurance anyway. So you need to weigh up whether you think it’s necessary.

If you do decide to go for it and take out a policy, the number one rule is to always shop around. Policies offered by your provider are often more expensive than policies offered elsewhere so it’s well worth shopping around. Have a look at sites such as protectyourbubble and insurance2go. You can find out more in Ditch these mobile phone insurance policies.

And always ensure you read the terms and conditions carefully so you know exactly what you’re covered for.

More: Eight ways to get your next mobile contract for less | Make £3,300 from your mobile phone


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