Whether your phone’s superglued to your hands or you only use it for the odd call, the chances are you’re overpaying for the minutes, texts and data that you use. With this in mind, we at Netvouchercodes have created a list of top tips that’ll help you save money when buying a mobile online, as well as guidance on how to drive down the cost of your existing mobile deal, no matter what your handset or plan. Check out our helpful guide below and start saving money on your mobile today.
1. Recycle your old handset and earn £100s.
If you’re getting a new handset, recycle the old one and you could earn £100s, depending on the make, model and condition of the phone.
There are tonnes of companies willing to recycle your phone for cash including huge providers such as O2 recycle. You can get up to £400 for some handsets, with 16GB iPhone 6’s fetching anything from £155 to £190. Once you agree to sell, most companies send you a freepost bag for your phone. You post it, then they give you the cash.
Top tip: buy a glass screen protector and case for your phone to keep it in the best condition. This will increase the phone’s resale or trade-in value for when you’re ready to move on.
2. Receive free gifts worth £100s with your phone
Companies like Mobiles.co.uk and e2save offer a plethora of free gifts worth hundreds of pounds with selected mobile plans and deals. Receive gifts such as TV’s, game consoles, like PS4 and the XBOX One, laptops, tablets, devices from fitness brands and other electrical goods and accessories with your next mobile plan.
3. Buying a new handset? Do it the cheapest way
There are essentially three ways to get a new phone. Each has benefits and drawbacks depending on what you want from your mobile.
Buy your phone outright
Find your ideal handset at the cheapest price possible and pair it with a Sim-only deal of your choice. This is a great option if you have the money to buy your phone upfront or if your desired handset is fairly cheap.
This option also allows you to choose whichever network and Sim-only plan suits you best, you also won’t be credit-checked.
Buy your phone on finance
Mobile financing allows you to get the cost of the handset loaned to you under an agreement over a fixed period. You can then choose a Sim-only deal independently or via the finance provider.
Get your phone on contract
Buying a phone via contract is one of the most popular ways of buying for many. This is a great option if you’d like to spread the cost of your mobile and plan over time and if you don’t have the money to buy a handset upfront. It’s also ideal if you would like to upgrade your phone every year or so to a newer model, to keep up with the latest trends.
Top Tip: In a some cases it’s possible to find contracts via resellers such as Mobiles.co.uk that cost LESS than buying the handset yourself and pairing with a cheap Sim.
4. Choose the right type of plan: contract, Sim-only or pay-as-you-go
Contracts with handsets
This option offers a low upfront cost but a typically higher cost overall. With a traditional mobile phone contract you pay a monthly fee and get a handset plus an inclusive bundle with a certain allowance of minutes, texts and data.
- The handset price is spread out – but it can cost you more in the long term.
- You’ll be locked in for 24 months in the majority of cases.
- You’ll be credit checked.
This type of plan is normally most ideal if you want one of the newest phones on the market.
This type of plan is great if you’ve got a handset that you like and you want flexibility. There are two types of Sim-only deals: 30-day rolling contracts, which you are free to leave with a month’s notice, or fixed term contracts, usually locking you in for 12 months.
This option is great value if you already have a handset or can afford to buy one yourself, or if you’re a heavy data user. A rolling 30-day contract also offers maximum flexibility.
With a Pay-as-you-go plan you have no ties and there’s never the risk of going over your allowance. If you pay for your mobile via pay-as-you-go, you won’t be tied into any contract – simply pay in advance for what you use via top-ups, online or on the phone.
Pay-as-you-go doesn’t require any credit check.
- It’s easier to budget.
- It’s generally more expensive for medium or heavy mobile users.
- It’s the most ideal option for people who rarely use their phone and don’t require a huge amount of data.
Top tip: Know exactly what you want from your handset and plan before you buy. If you want your mobile for traditional uses only such as ringing and texting it’s cheaper to buy a low cost handset and pay-as-you-go plan. Whereas if you’re after a handset that provides a great camera, plenty of useful apps, mobile data and more then spreading the cost of a more expensive handset, such as an iPhone or Android device, via a contract, is much more cost effective and hassle free.
5. Consider the contract length – don’t end up in a two-year ‘relationship’ you can’t afford
If you sign up for a contract you’re essentially committing to a phone company (and often a handset too) for the length of the contract.
This means that you must think carefully about your budget and if you can afford the ongoing monthly payments. The amount of time varies between deals – a few last 12 months, but most high-end smartphone contracts now span 18-24 months.
Before you sign up to a contract make sure you’re happy to be locked in for the minimum term. If you want to leave early then it’s likely you’ll have to pay termination fees which cover the cost of the contract.
6. Spread the cost of the latest iPhone interest free
iPhone Payments is a financing scheme exclusively for new handsets that lets you pay just £49 upfront, then spread the cost over 20 monthly instalments, without paying a penny in interest. You can only get it in store; you’ll need to take ID with you and you’ll also be credit-checked.
Here’s how to get the deal:
You can ONLY get iPhone Payments in store. The only financing option available through Apple’s website is a much more expensive deal via PayPal Credit.
When you collect the phone, say you want to pay via iPhone Payments.You’ll need to bring bank details, a valid photo ID and your current mobile plus other personal info – see Apple’s website for a full list. You’ll need to be a UK resident and have lived here for 3+ years, be aged 18+ and have a UK bank account.
If accepted (you should be told within five minutes), you’ll pay £49 upfront and the rest in 20 monthly instalments. Your loan will be with Barclays, the finance provider behind the scheme, at 0% APR. Monthly repayments are made by direct debit. If you don’t keep up with them, Barclays would take the same action as any other loan provider – it could result in a mark on your credit file, for example.
7. Decide whether you need mobile phone insurance
If you’re spending a lot of money on your handset or plan it may be in your best interest to get mobile phone insurance to keep yourself protected against those, often inevitable, bumps and breakages.
You can get cheap smartphone and iPhone insurance from just £70 a year, which may never actually come in use, however it will cover the repair or replacement costs if your phone does get lost or stolen, or becomes damaged or broken.
Top Tip: But do you really need insurance? Deciding whether to get a policy comes down to the fact that you know yourself better than insurers will. It’s important that you consider how likely it is that you will lose or damage your phone, or if the cost of phone insurance is actually worth it on your specific handset. For instance, if you own an expensive handset that you use everyday, mobile phone insurance will be worthwhile. Whereas if you have a low cost handset that you rarely use, mobile insurance won’t be as cost effective or worthwhile.
Find great mobile phone insurance deals from top mobile phone providers such as Vodafone and O2.
8. Keep an eye out for deals, especially during holiday periods
Phone companies such as O2, Vodafone, Mobiles.co.uk and e2Save offer great deals all year round such as free gifts, tablet deals, broadband deals, discount on sim only plans and yearly contracts and even deals of the week. These deals can change daily so make sure you keep an eye out for the best price possible on your phone or plan before you buy.
Holiday periods are also a good time to buy. In the lead up and prior to Christmas (including Black Friday) you’ll find tonnes of extra deals and low cost prices available on a selection of phones and plans from all the top providers and trusted names.