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Five cost-cutting measures you can take with your smartphone

Here’s what you need to know.

doogee n100 smartphone
Image: Ste Knight / KnowTechie

From hidden costs to hiked up bills, cost-cutting isn’t something we’d traditionally associate with smartphones. But saving money could be easier than you think. Read our five ways to get cost-savvy with your smartphone.

Find a good SIM deal

Believe it or not, there are good SIM deals out there, but finding them might require some digging on your part. Firstly, SIM-only deals can save you a huge chunk of cash, especially if you don’t want – or need – to upgrade your phone just yet. Instead of locking yourself into a long and expensive contract, a SIM-only deal will cover data, calls, and texts and often provides better flexibility than a long contract which includes a mobile phone.

Another way to save money is to opt for a SIM deal with an MVNO. An MVNO is a mobile virtual network operator that sits outside of the ‘big four networks’ (O2, Three, Vodafone and EE). MNVO’s rent their network space from the big networks and can offer cheaper deals as they don’t need to cover the cost of maintaining a network infrastructure. Head to giffgaff, Voxi, Tesco Mobile or iD Mobile to take advantage of these friendlier prices.

Know your data usage

Before you go for any SIM deal, it’s a good idea to know what data you actually need by looking at your usage. With SIM-only customers wasting an average of 2GB of data per month, there’s never been a better time to get clued up on what you need. 

You can do this several ways: look at your bills from the last year to work out an average, use the iPhone’s handy built-in tool which can be found in Settings > Mobile Data > Current Period or use a site that does the work for you like Bill Monitor

If you find that your data usage fluctuates from month to month, we’d recommend going for a super flexible option like the 30 day rolling SIM from iD Mobile. That way you’re not locked into a fixed contract and can adjust it based on what you need.

Set a spending cap

Most networks offer a spending cap to help you keep costs down and prevent you from going over your monthly allowance – a great way to avoid bill shock at the end of the month. Your phone itself can also help, with a multitude of apps designed to help you manage your spending. So if you’re happy with your phone contract but want to save in other ways (like resisting online shopping), try apps like Yolt and Emma which help you keep track of your bank accounts and manage your monthly outgoings.

Rethink your upgrade

Mobile providers don’t hesitate in letting us know when our smartphone upgrade is coming up. Some providers even offer an early upgrade, so you can cast off your old phone and get a shiny new one. But have you ever thought to question whether you need that upgrade?

A smartphone’s value and quality will decrease over the length of a 12 or 24-month phone contract, but if you’ve taken good care of yours and aren’t desperate for a brand new phone, we recommend rethinking that upgrade. Not only could you opt for a cost-saving SIM-only deal, but you’d also be doing your bit for sustainability and e-waste, too, saving your device from its alternate destiny of the kitchen drawer.

Subscribe to your phone

A phone subscription means you don’t own the phone by the end of the contract and one of the biggest benefits of this is the savings you’ll enjoy. It might seem like a foreign concept for smartphones, but subscribing is nothing new. With the likes of Netflix trumping Blockbuster and iTunes taking over from CDs, subscribing is a brilliant way to save money while still enjoying a service to its fullest.

With London-based tech startup Raylo, you can subscribe to the latest iPhone for a wallet-friendly monthly cost, use it for 12 or 24 months, then exchange it for a newer model. Your used iPhone then gets refurbished and used by someone else, avoiding wastage, and saving you the pain of dealing with your old device. That’s a big tick for sustainability – and your pocket.

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