Our mobile phones are no longer optional. They are an integral aspect of our modern lives that keep us connected to our network. The problem, however, is that as mobile phones become more indispensable, the cost of mobile services rises accordingly. If you’re not vigilant, you’re paying too much. For students and those of us on tight budgets, this is a significant issue, so let us examine a series of tried and true strategies for saving money on your mobile phone bill.
The biggest mistake you can make is apathy. The mobile service providers feast on apathetic clients. Know your plan inside and out. Read the fine print. Know what services are available to you, and be aware of hidden fees. For instance, some economy plans apply a surcharge if you check your voicemail more than three times in a day.
2. Monitor Usage
Don’t simply guesstimate usage. Most providers have a free online or telephone-based service that allows you to check your usage. Keep track of this. Know what you’re using, and then consider that within the context of your plan. Chances are, some aspects of your plan go unused and other aspects are not broad enough, so you can likely save by expanding them.
3. Downgrade (or Upgrade or Switch Providers)
At this point, you should have a clear assessment of how your plan fits you. If you’re in a contract, then you likely can’t switch providers. However, most providers will allow you to downgrade mid-contract as long as it doesn’t bring you below the mandated threshold, such as an agreement that allowed you to buy your phone at a discount.
4. SIM Only Contracts
Once you’re out from under you contract, consider switching to a SIM only contract. The advantage of SIM only contracts are the rates, contract lengths and obligations tend to much less than standard contracts. This type of contract essentially separates the phone and the service. The downside to this is that you won’t be able to upgrade your phone as often, and when you do, it will be costlier, at least in the moment.
5. Avoid Roaming Charges
Roaming charges are too expensive, so avoid them unless it’s an emergency. The biggest mistake people make is that they use their mobile on holiday or even that they simply leave the phone on, which allows some charges to accumulate. Instead, turn the phone off, and buy a temporary mobile phone at your destination.
6. Use Apps to Avoid Unnecessary Charges
Calling long distance, you can often use Skype and similar apps to circumvent charges or at least make the calls at a reduced rate. Similarly, you can avoid charges on 0870 calls by using freely available apps that convert these calls into calls to 01 and 02 numbers.
7. Consider a Cashback Service
Some mobile phone services provide a cashback feature where they serve you advertisements on your phone or even on the Internet on your PC using their browser tool. Every time you click on one of these ads, you’ll make a little money. This isn’t for everyone, but it’s a good option for students who have time to spare.
8. Trade in Your Handset for Cash
When you’re ready to upgrade your phone, don’t trade the old phone in. Sure, this is convenient, but you can actually save more money by selling your old handset. Then, you can put those proceeds toward the purchase price of your new phone.