From mobile data to calls, texts and more, using your smartphone can be surprisingly costly.
While the monthly cost of your contract might not seem like much, over time, the costs you’ll incur from your mobile phone contract can eventually run into the hundreds or thousands of pounds, especially if you’re a power user.
Luckily, it doesn’t take much to score a better deal on your mobile phone contract, letting you save a small amount of money every month and a big amount over the long term.
Below, we’ve put together a list of simple tips, tactics and techniques that you can use to pay less for your mobile phone contract and enjoy significant savings over the long term.
Know what you really want in a phone
Salespeople love customers that don’t quite know what they want. Why? Because people that aren’t totally informed about what they want and need from a phone are easier to lead towards upgrades, extra features and more expensive models than informed customers.
Although smartphones can feel inexpensive, as the cost is split over several months, most are fairly expensive purchases. Just like you’d research in advance before buying a TV or a laptop, it’s worth researching in advance before you start shopping for a smartphone.
Know what you need — from operating systems to camera megapixels, screen size and other factors — before you buy and you’ll find it easier to pick the right model for you.
Set a budget and calculate prices before you commit
It’s easy to overspend on your smartphone, all while feeling like you got a great deal. After all, contracts usually last for 12 to 24 months, and the low monthly price of buying and using your phone can make the total cost seem less than it really is.
However, just like any installment-based purchase, the costs of buying a new smartphone can add up quickly over time.
Before you sign any long-term contract, set a clear budget for the total amount you’re willing to spend on your phone. Then, calculate the total amount you’ll spend over the course of 12 or 24 months to check that the true price of the phone fits within your budget.
Don’t buy too late (or too early)
Smartphone technology moves quickly, meaning that last year’s hottest phone could already be out of date by the time you decide to upgrade. This makes it important to time your smartphone purchase carefully and strategically.
If your existing contract is about to expire, it’s worth waiting until the final weeks before making the switch to a new phone. This way, you’ll avoid paying for two phones at once — a major drain on funds.
It’s also worth checking when new phones will be released. Websites like Android Authority and MacRumors are great for checking up on the latest Apple and Android phones, making it easier for you to buy the latest models as soon as they’re available.
Shop strategically, not emotionally
It’s easy to walk into your local smartphone store, try out the latest model and make a purchase on the spot. After all, there’s an emotional side to holding the latest smartphone in your hands — one that can be very difficult to resist.
However, it’s always worth buying strategically rather than emotionally. By all means, try out the latest models in store before you consider buying anything, but don’t say “yes” to the first phone you like without comparing your purchasing options first.
Be a smart negotiator
The telecommunications industry is extremely competitive, making you a valuable commodity as a loyal customer. As tempting as offers from new providers can be, you’ll often get the best deal by demonstrating your loyalty to your existing mobile phone provider.
One simple way to negotiate a better deal on your next phone is to call your current provider and let them know you’re interested in upgrading. Tell them you’ve already checked out their competitors — chances are, they’ll be willing to make a deal to keep you onboard.
As a loyal, paying customer, you could have more negotiating leverage than you expect. Put your value to use by asking for a competitive deal on your next phone and you might end up surprised by the results.