Mobile phones are an essential part of life, but when you are managing a low income, it is important to ensure you get the best deal for you. These days, most people are looking for mobile devices that are so much more than a simple phone, so the price you pay will reflect this, and is something you should be mindful of.
There are two options when purchasing a mobile phone – monthly contract or pay as you go – and three things to think about – the minutes, texts and data you need.
Monthly contracts can run for up to three years with the monthly cost made up of a payment for the device, and a payment for the airtime plan (minutes, texts and data allowance).
Pay as you go, or sim only deals are different because you are not committed to a contact, and are generally not buying a device as part of the deal. You are usually buying credit as and when you need it, or accessing a bundle deal that gives you a monthly allowance of minutes texts and data, in exchange for a monthly top up.
The right plan for you will depend on your circumstances, but the following points will help you work out what’s best for you:
- Consider what your budget will stretch to cover before making any commitment
- If you need to buy a device as part of your plan, think about the device you need – does it need to be the latest iPhone, or could you manage with a slightly older model that might be much cheaper?
- If you do opt for the contract that includes paying for the device, make sure you calculate exactly how much that means you are paying for the device, and shop around. Perhaps you can buy the device outright using a 0% credit card, making it cheaper in the long run.
- Why not consider buying a refurbished phone? Check Money Saving Expert's guide to buying refurbished phones
- Use comparison websites like Money Supermarket, Compare the Market and Uswitch