A report issued by the Money Advice Trust (MAT) has revealed that a record number of households are being plunged into debt because of their growing smartphone bills.
In fact, MAT handles almost 18,000 phone calls to its National Debtline regarding debt created by mobile phone contracts a year, with a typical family of four paying up to £140 a month on their phones, which amounts to more than on energy bills.
So with over 50% of the UK population now owning a smartphone, how can you make sure that you don’t get into a smartphone-induced spiral of debt?
Now this might sound obvious, and even a bit patronising, but when a shiny new iPhone is paraded in front of you, it’s easy to agree that you have to have it in your life.
This rings especially true when the smartly suited salesman tells you that it’s only 'x' amount per month, with thoughts of all of your other monthly expenses fast disappearing out of the window.
One common mistake that people make when buying a mobile phone contract is to sign up for packages with more minutes and data than they actually need or use. Although it goes against all our instincts to resist buying unlimited-everything packages, this can often be the quickest way to halve the cost of your monthly contract.
If you don’t know how often you access the internet each month, take a look at our mobile phone data usage calculator.
Another quick fire way of avoiding getting into debt over your smartphone is to do your research. Don’t go straight into a store on the high street without being armed with your own research.
Try using comparison websites; Mobilephones.com allows you to compare all of the best contracts from over 600,000 phone deals covering all the major networks including O2, Three, Vodafone, EE, Orange and T-Mobile.
And don’t be scared to switch networks either; if you can see that another network provider is offering the same deal but for half the price, it’s really not as much hassle as you think to transfer your contacts from one to another, despite what your network might tell you.
More often than not, giving your current network a quick call around the end of your contract can result in achieving a massive discount, especially if you bring one of their competitors into the equation…
If you really can’t live without a healthy contract offering unlimited texts, calls and data, then a SIM free contract might be your best option of staying in the black each month.
By keeping your existing phone (or buying a slightly cheaper SIM free handset), you can get your jam-packed contracts from as little as £5 per month.
More often than not, the smartphones dangled in front of your face, whether it’s in a phone store or online, consist of the latest iPhone, Samsung or Sony offerings, which come with a hefty price tag.
So if you know that you just can’t justify spending £30-£40 per month on your mobile phone contract, take a look at a more budget option.
|The Sony Xperia SP is a great budget option|
Cutting back on your smartphone model doesn’t mean reverting back to your Nokia 3310, however. With some really great budget and mid-range smartphones on the market, you’ll be amazed at what you can get for your hard earned pennies.
Take a look at these best budget smartphones and learn how to get a contract for less than £10 a month.
Now you’ve seen all the options available to you, it leaves us to emphasis one last point. However much you pay for your mobile phone contract each month, it is vital that you check your bill.
And if your monthly bill regularly exceeds what it should, don’t bury your head in the sand; either curb your usage or speak to your network operator. They might be able to bump up your monthly package for a smaller amount than you’re paying in charges.
If you're struggling to get a phone contract because of poor credit, see what we can do to help with our bad credit mobile phones.
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Written by Charlotte Kertrestel