Once every two years, you reach the point where your phone contract ends and you need an upgrade. When you were younger, this was always the most exciting time ever. You’d wait for the text message from your provider, telling you that you’re eligible for an upgrade. It meant you got a shiny new phone to play around with, complete with all the latest technology and features.
Nowadays, you look at things with a slightly less excited eye. We’ve kind of reached the stage in life where smartphones can only do so much. There’s not a massive difference between a phone that you buy now and one you bought a couple of years ago. The tech is relatively the same, and the camera quality isn’t remarkably better.
As such, when your contract runs out, you might be inclined to keep your old phone. There’s nothing wrong with this, but the wrong thing to do is keep your contract as well. Never let a two-year-old contract keep running as it will basically be out-of-date. What this means is that, while it may have been a bargain at the time, you can almost certainly find a cheaper deal now.
With that in mind, this post will be dedicated to helping you save money when upgrading your phone. Whether this means you keep your current phone or get a new one, there are plenty of ideas to try and help you save some serious cash every month!
Look for SIM-only deals
If you are keeping the phone, you need to look for SIM-only contract deals instead. These will, naturally, be cheaper as you are only paying for the SIM card rather than a phone as well. So, let’s say your current contract gives you 10GB of data with unlimited minutes and texts for £35 a month. Seemed like a steal at the time, but now you are no longer paying for your phone. Therefore, you can find SIM-only deals that are considerably cheaper. We’re talking at least £10 cheaper per month, possibly even more than that.
Oh, and you can get cheaper deals that provide you with more benefits. Did you struggle with only 10GB of data? You can almost certainly find a provider that will give you a SIM with more data for less money. This is the advantage of keeping your old phone; you can dramatically reduce your monthly contract price!
Compare network providers
Of course, if you are looking to find the best deal possible, you need to compare all the options on the market right now. This relates to people that are keeping their phones, and ones that want an upgrade. In either case, there are going to be different deals on offer by different network providers. A common mistake is only focusing on the network you’re currently using, meaning you’re blind to all the various deals that could be a lot better than what you’re getting.
Typically, the best thing you can do is a spot of mobile network comparisons to see how different providers stack up against one another. Not only can you see which deals are the best, but you can also figure out who provides the best coverage, what additional benefits you get from being with a certain network, and so on.
Check the upgrade offers
When you have been with a network for a certain period, you do have access to exclusive upgrades and offers that regular people won’t see. Now, most providers will have an upgrades section on their websites for you to take a look at and see all of these offers. Funnily enough, they’re often nowhere near as good as you’d expect. Sometimes, the offers can actually be worse than what they’re giving new customers! Personally, I feel like upgrades have gotten worse and worse over time, which is weird when you think network providers should try to retain customers.
Anyway, I digress. The point is that you are a loyal customer, and you are entitled to better deals than new ones. So, what you can do is call up your network provider and tell them that you want to upgrade. Over the phone, they might be able to provide you with better upgrade deals than the ones you see online. The same goes for visiting a physical store as well; they have deals that no one else can see. It’s kind of sneaky, but I think the idea is that they save these deals for the most loyal customers. If you’re willing to go the extra mile and call them or visit their store, they’ll provide some better deals that will help you save money.
Threaten to leave
Have you called up your network provider and asked for upgrade options? Are they just listing off the same prices and plans from their website? Okay, it’s time to get the big guns out. Threaten to leave when your contract ends and you will suddenly be met with the most caring sales advisor you’ve ever seen!
Naturally, companies don’t want you to leave and go to one of their rivals. If you switch contracts, who’s to say you won’t switch the contracts of any family members in your house? What if you recommend a rival network to all your friends because of how cheaper it is? All these thoughts swirl around in the heads of sales advisors when you drop the bomb that you’re leaving. Right away, they magically happen to find some new deals for you that are considerably cheaper than anything else they’ve offered before.
A great tactic is to follow the second tip and compare network providers, getting a few contract plans under your belt. Then, when you’re on the phone or in-store, you can tell them what the other provider is offering you. Explain that you have found this great deal and that you’re going to leave. Your current network provider will do all they can to undercut the rival and keep you on their books. Now it’s a simple case of waiting to see if they’re able to offer a cheaper contract or not. If they can’t, you should leave and enjoy your savings.
Shop outside of the official websites
Weirdly, you can find much better mobile phone deals if you shop outside of the official network provider’s websites. For whatever reason, you have sites like AffordableMobiles that offer deals that you can’t find on the official network websites. I’ve no idea why, but you can get some great bargains if you shop around and see what other shops are offering.
Of course, always look at the reviews for any website before you buy from them. It’s relatively easy to spot if a site is legit or not, purely based on the reviews and what people are saying. But yeah, it will amaze you how much money you can save by purchasing an upgrade or a new contract from a seller that isn’t the network provider themselves.
Sell your old mobile by yourself
Most network providers will now have systems where you can trade-in your current phone to get money off your next contract. The idea is that you could unlock a cheaper monthly rate, but you have to pay a sum upfront. This is standard practice with many phone contracts anyway, but the difference is that trading in your current device will cover the upfront cost. You’re not going to need two phones, so it’s genuinely a great way of saving money.
However, you can almost always get more money for your device if you sell it yourself. Sell it on eBay or any other online marketplace to get the most value for money possible. Then, you can use the money you got to pay more upfront, unlocking an even cheaper monthly rate. The more money you can afford upfront, the cheaper your contract will be. It puts less demand on your finances as you pay less every single month, allowing you to get more from your monthly budget.
Downgrade your contract
Downgrading your contract is when you get a contract that’s technically ‘worse’ than the one you already have. It works best in situations where you’re keeping your phone, and the idea is that you look at your usage across the entire contract duration.
For example, you had a contract with 30GB of data every month, but you only ever used 10GB at the very most. Here, you can look at your contract and think, what’s the point in having so much data? So, you can downgrade to a contract with 12GB of data – well within the limit of what you used per month – saving a tonne of cash. Always check your monthly usage at the end of a contract to see if you need a similar contract or if you can save money by paying for less.
Try these tips to help cut the cost of your monthly phone bill each month. Some tips work if you’re keeping your current phone, while others work if you’re upgrading to a new one. In either scenario, there are savings to be made!