YOU can still have the latest piece of tech while cutting your costs if you follow some simple tricks. If your mobile phone is never far from yo
YOU can still have the latest piece of tech while cutting your costs if you follow some simple tricks.
If your mobile phone is never far from your hands, you might think it’s worth splashing the cash for the latest model and biggest data bundles.
But a few easy checks could save you a small fortune.
James Daley, founder of consumer group Fairer Finance, said: “It’s not uncommon these days for people to spend as much as £50 a month on their mobile phone bills – that’s £600 a year.”
James is a member of our Squeeze Team panel of experts, who are on hand to help you through the cost of living crisis – get in touch by emailing: email@example.com.
He has revealed his top tips if you’re in the market for a new mobile, but want to keep costs down.
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Keep your handset
It’s easy to get in the habit of thinking you need a new phone every couple of years, but this is an expensive pattern to fall into.
“Handsets are getting more and more expensive, so the saving you can make by keeping your old handset can be significant,” said James.
Ask yourself, when you’re buying a new phone: do I really need it or does my old handset still do the job?
If you’re not upgrading for a specific reason then it’s better – and cheaper – to hold out a bit longer.
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And if you do want a new phone, consider choosing last year’s model rather than the newest version as this will be much cheaper.
Moving to a SIM-only tariff could save you a bundle.
If you’re on a pay monthly deal, it’s worth switching after your handset is paid for – at this point you should no longer be locked into a contract, but do check in case of costly exit fees.
James said: “You really can save a lot of money this way – there are SIM-only tariffs out there from as little as £2.50 a month.”
These days, phone bills are typically split into two parts when you pay monthly – one is a package of your calls, minutes and data, and the only part is what you’re paying for your handset.
Make sure you’re no longer paying this second part once you’ve come to the end of your contract and your handset is paid for.
And at this point it’s worth looking around to see if you could get a cheaper deal for your data and calls.
When we checked, you could get a 12-month SIM only contract with 20GB of data and unlimited minutes and texts for £8 a month with O2.
Talkmobile had a 1-month contract for £6.95 a month with 12GB of data and unlimited minutes and texts.
Buy a battery
If you’re mobile is constantly having to be recharged, you could save money by replacing the battery rather than the handset.
Rather than buying a new phone, one. If you’re frustrated with the battery life, consider hanging onto your old phone but getting a new battery – it’s a fraction of the cost of a new handset.”
According to Apple you can buy a new iPhone battery for as little as £49, depending on the model.
It’s £69 for a replacement battery for an iPhone 13 – and that compares with around £729 to buy the phone outright.
It will cost extra to have the battery fitted by a professional though, so do factor that in too.
If you’re dealing with Apple directly, you can send your phone in for repair or take it to your nearest store.
Get a refurb
If you are desperate for a new phone – then it’s worth considering a newly-new one instead.
Refurbished phones have had a previous owner, but are check over and repaired (if necessary) by a network or retailer before being sold on.
It could be that the previous owner has sold it back to the retailer as they’ve had second thoughts or want to upgrade.
These devices must be of a certain standard, so it’s a less risky way to buy a second-hand phone than buying one directly from another person.
James said: “If you buy a phone as part of a bundled monthly plan, you’ll have to pay expensive interest on the price of the device.
“But there are some great deals out there if you’re willing to accept a refurbed or nearly new phone.”
When we checked, you could buy a refurbished iPhone 11 64GB for £269 from GiffGaff, compared to £429 for a new one from Argos.
Paying upfront for your handset rather than having it as part of your monthly bundle will save you some cash.
When you buy a phone through a pay monthly contract, you’re charged interest on the price of device.
While the benefit of doing this is that you can spread the cost over two or three years – it means you’ll end up paying more in total.
James said using a credit card could help: “It’s actually more affordable to buy the device using a 0% credit card and repay that debt back interest-free rather than pay expensive instalments to your mobile phone company.”
It’s vital that if you do this, you only use a 0% credit card though – otherwise you’ll be racking up interest charges and will be no better off.
According to Martin Lewis‘s MoneySavingExpert, some of the top deals for interest-free credit cards at the moment include a 25 month 0% credit card from Barclaycard, and 24 months from M&S Bank.
Use an eligibility calculator before you apply for any credit card to see if you’re likely to be accepted as otherwise it could impact your credit score.
And always make sure you pay back the full balance within the 0% period.
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