We all need one, but getting the best deal on your mobile phone isn’t always easy.
In most households, mobile phones are a big hit on the budget every month. There’s the cost of the phone itself, your phone plan and the accessories… Actually, if you have teens, the phone accessories are probably your biggest expense!
It definitely pays to shop around and compare pricing and plans. Here are all the steps you can take to get the best deal on your mobile.
1. Get to know yourself first
Not such a touchy-feely subject when you consider that the more you know how you use your phone, the more money you can save.
- Do you use a lot of data?
- Are you likely to want to stream video on your phone?
- Do you make a lot of calls?
- To mobiles or landlines?
- International calls?
- Is it all personal, or do you also use your phone for work?
Check at least three months worth of statements from your current provider. That way you can know exactly what your phone usage is like. No guessing, it’s all in the data.
2. Pre or post-paid
Next step is to figure out how you want to pay for your phone and plan. The best option for you comes down to how much you use your phone (see above), how much you’re willing to spend, and whether you can afford to purchase the handset you want outright.
Essentially, a post-paid plan is the more convenient, but the pre-paid option might save you money.
A post-paid contract usually comes with a handset, but you’re locked into that plan from 12 to 24 months. These plans also mean you’re committing to a minimum monthly charge, regardless of how much you use your phone that month.
You should also investigate whether additional charges are made if you’re outside a particular coverage zone, or if you go over your talk, text or data limit for the month. Some services offer bill capping to help you budget for the additional charges. Other offer unlimited plans, but be aware that you’ll pay more for them each month.
It’s also worth considering that on most post-paid plans, any data or talk time that you don’t use won’t carry over. So if you don’t hit your limit, effectively you’re paying for a service you didn’t use. It’s worth making sure that there is flexibility to change to a higher or lower plan during your contract period.
A pre-paid sim card allows you greater flexibility in terms of what you spend. You only pay for what you use, so it’s a good option if you’re not a big phone or data user. It’s also ideal for helping kids manage their first phone,
You need to top your credit up regularly and check the expiry date on any credits you buy. If you don’t use them, you’ll use them. Expiry periods can be anything from a few months up to a year or more, so that’s worth checking when looking for the best deal on your mobile phone.
Pre-paid is a particularly good option if you already own a phone that you’re happy to keep on using. If you don’t have a current phone, check how much it would cost you to buy one outright and factor that into your pre and post-paid comparison.
3. Compare what’s included
Once you know whether you’re going pre or post-paid, it’s time to compare what’s in the market. Jumping onto a few comparison sites is a quick way to see what’s out there and work out the best deal on your mobile phone.
Plans for certain handsets will be pretty similarly priced across different providers, so it’s the included features that will set them apart. Look closely at what each plan offers to make sure it aligns with how you want to use it. If you go over your allotted calls, texts or data, you’ll likely be charged a penalty for doing so or worse, they’ll charge you per unit for the extras you use.
That’s why you were so thorough in step 1 above!
Comparison sites to check out:
Something to consider when you’re comparing plans is how flexible each contract is. You’ll want to be able to increase and decrease your usage depending on how you’re tracking each month. There’s nothing worse than being locked into a contract where you’re paying for data you don’t use. Or worse, paying penalty fees month after month because your usage is higher than you initially thought.
4. Don’t buy into the hype
Hype will cost you plenty. Phone companies want you to upgrade your phone as often as possible… That’s how they make their money.
But do you really need the latest and greatest model? Really?
Getting a bit more life out of your old handset will lead to big savings in the long-run. Battery life will always die off eventually and operating software upgrades means eventually your old phone won’t work as well as it should. However, always try to wait until your phone is too slow to service your needs before you upgrade. Getting as much life as possible out of what you have is good for the planet as well as your budget.