Mobile phones are an expensive luxury. Or at least they are for some people. But if money is in short supply and you don’t have much spare cash to fund a mobile phone, it is possible to have a nice handset without breaking the bank every month.
Do You Really Need a Mobile Phone?
It may sound like a dumb question, but if you are really struggling to pay the bills, you have to ask yourself whether you really can’t survive without a mobile. If you have a choice between paying the gas bill and paying for a new mobile phone contract, it really is a no-brainer. Or at least it should be if you have any sense.
Want a New Handset?
The main reason why most people end up tied into an expensive contract is because they wanted a new handset. Many of the best (and most expensive handsets) are free or fairly cheap if you commit to a monthly contract for two years. It sounds like a good deal at the time, but depending on what deal you sign up for, overall you could end up spending more than you need to.
Depending on what handset you want, it is sometimes a better idea to buy the handset separately from the SIM. The latest handsets are always the most expensive, but if you are willing to settle for a not quite so new model, you can often pick up reasonably priced handsets on eBay or similar. Just make sure they are genuine before you bid on them—if the offer sounds too good to be true, it probably isn’t genuine.
Contract or SIM Only?
- Contract mobile phones – These come with a new handset and a monthly tariff. You need a good credit rating to be able to qualify for a contract mobile phone, so if your credit rating is poor, expect to be turned down by the network provider.
- PAYG – It’s exactly what it sounds like. With a PAYG SIM you only pay for the calls you make or the text messages you send. This type of deal is better for low or infrequent users.
- SIM only contract deals – These fall somewhere in the middle and are becoming increasingly popular. They are ideal for those who don’t need a new handset, but want free minutes, data and texts as part of a monthly (but more flexible) contract.
Research the Best Deals
Check out price comparison websites and find the cheapest deals online. Tariffs change from one day to the next, so stay alert for the cheapest and most competitive O2 SIM only deals or similar as they won’t be around for long.
Barter with the Network Providers
Sometimes you can score a great deal if you reach the end of an existing contract and request a termination with your current network provider. The network will often negotiate in order to keep your business. And if they won’t negotiate, ask them to unlock your handset and go shopping for a cheap SIM only deal instead.
About the author:
Laura Ginn is a freelance writer. Because her earnings are sometimes a bit up and down, she likes to try and save money wherever possible, which is why she switched to a cheap SIM only deal when her most recent mobile phone contract ended. She kept her old HTC, but it has saved her money every month.