Anyone in the market for a new mobile phone or contract will know only too well how confusing the vast array of tariffs can be. If you're tempted by the latest iPhone or just looking for a simple smartphone, here's how to save money and get the best deal.
Calculate your usage
A survey by Billmonitor.com in 2012 revealed that 90 per cent of Brits were paying £200 more than we need to each year because we're not using all the data, minutes and texts in our plan. Therefore, before you search for your ideal phone and contract, it's worth taking a closer look at just how much and what you are using the phone for. That way you'll be better placed to make an informed decision when it comes to a new contract.
Should I stay or should I go?
If you're on a contract that is soon to end, you'll be facing the dilemma as to whether to switch to a new network or count on your loyalty being rewarded with a better deal from your existing supplier.
First off, it's a good idea to research the packages and offers you might get elsewhere, particularly if you have a specific model in mind as your next phone. Comparison sites such as Billmonitor.com and Mobilife, both Ofcom-accredited sites, will do much of the hard work for you, with the former even allowing you to supply your phone number and billing username in order to download your usage statistics. Others to try are Mobile Choices, uSwitch and Moneysupermarket.com, though you'll need to input your usage details yourself with those.
Always try two or three comparison sites, as they don't all cover every network and supplier, and do check suppliers' coverage in your area before making any decisions.
Contacting your supplier
It's a competitive market out there, and that means that your existing supplier is likely to be only too keen to keep hold of your business. So once you're armed with the usage information and a few favourable comparison deals, it's time to haggle. Ask them for the best deal they can offer based on your usage, and if it's not to your liking, throw in that little gem of information about better deals elsewhere. There's a good chance you'll get passed on to the retention department, who will do their utmost to make sure you're happy to stay.
Make money from your old phone
In all the excitement of getting your new phone, it's all too easy to just box up the old one and forget about it. But you could be making money from that outdated machine. If you have a popular top-end phone and have decided to stick with your existing supplier, ask them what they can give you for it, as many will discount the cost of a new phone by way of payment.
Alternatively, try one of the many recycling companies out there, sites like Mazumamobile.com or Mopay.co.uk, who will offer you money for your old phone, no matter what the make or model.
Have you recently switched to a new supplier or renewed a contract? What are your top tips for getting a good deal? Leave your comments below...