Are You Throwing Money Away with Your Phone?

by Sandra Henshaw - , Last Updated on February 15, 2016, How To Guides

Let’s face it: times are tight for most of us these days, and we’re all trying to save a few pounds. And just because having a mobile phone is essential, or almost so, that doesn’t mean that we should be throwing cash away just to have a phone. Believe it or not, there are many ways that your phone could be causing you to spend more than you should. That’s why we’re taking a look at the big culprits to see if we can help you cut your spending. So, are you throwing money away with your phone? Keep reading to find out!

Your Phone Plan is Too Big

You’ve probably got a phone plan with a mobile operator, you know, that contract that gives you unlimited text messages, a few hundred calling minutes, and a GB or so of data. But is it the right plan for you? Most of us don’t put too much thought into choosing that plan, and if those monthly limits are too big then you’re wasting money. Why? It’s simple, you’re paying for services that you’re not using. If you’re paying for 200 calling minutes, but only use ten or twenty of them, then you’re wasting cash.

Most phones have tracking somewhere in their setting menu, allowing you to see how much calling texting and surfing you actually do, so turn this on and then compare your monthly results to what you’re actually paying for. Plan too big? Many operators will let you down grade, though some might charge a fee for doing so.

Your Phone Plan is Too Small

On the opposite side of the story, you could be throwing money away if your phone plan is too small as well. That might not make sense until you learn that once you go over your monthly limits for calling, texting and surfing, mobile operators start charging premium rates for any extra services you use. That means expensive extra charges for you. Fortunately, again, most operators will let you change your phone plan if you need to, so it’s worth asking about.

You’re a Gamer…

Okay, we get it, mobile gaming is kind of fun. Or at least it can be a good time waster if you’re stuck in a queue or waiting at the dentist. The problem comes when that gaming starts costing you money. Whilst many mobile game apps are free, many of these free apps have in app purchases. You can buy extra lives, extra powers, or cute outfits for your character, and you might even be able to do so without using a credit card. Some operators allow you to put these app store purchases on to your mobile phone bill.

Regardless of how you’re paying, these purchases are a waste of money. Sure, it might only be a few pence here and there, but this will all add up over time. If you want to game, go for it and have fun, but don’t fall for the old in app purchase trick…

You’re Paying As You Go…

Pay as you go is a bit of a double edged sword. For some phone users it’s a great way of saving money, there are no monthly limits to think about and no bill at the end of the month either. However, this really only applies to light phone users. If you barely use your mobile then pay as you go is probably a good decision. For everyone else though, it’s probably not.

Why? Because calling, texting and particularly data rates are higher on pay as you go than on contract. If you use your phone for more than just a call every now and again you’ll probably do better by signing up for the cheapest, lowest limit contract that you can find.

You’re Forgetting About WiFi

Mobile data is by far the most expensive part of any phone contract, and if you’re needlessly using it then you’re throwing cash down the drain. WiFi is free (well, you’re probably paying for it as part of your rent or from an internet provider, but since you’re already paying then when it comes to your phone, it’s free). If you consistently forget to switch over to WiFi when you come home or when you get to the office, then your data bill is probably a lot higher than it should be.

There’s a simple fix here though. There are plenty of apps in the app store that will remind you to switch on WiFi when you reach a certain location, or even switch it on for you. Check out IFTTT as a decent solution.

You’re Too Techie

A new phone is a lot of fun, it looks good, it can do cool stuff, and you might even be tempted by one of those nice mobile incentive contracts where you get that top end phone for just a few pounds each month. That’s all very well and good, as long as you actually need a phone. For the most part, upgrading to the direct next model (say from a Samsung Galaxy S5 to the S6) is just going to be a waste of cash on your part.

There just isn’t a big enough difference in tech, looks, or functionality these days to justify spending extra cash on the next model up. You’ll likely not notice any difference in performance at all. Skip a model and get next years, or even better, wait until you actually need a phone before getting one. It’s not required that you get a new phone with your contract, you can get just the contract, and you shouldn’t get a hand set until performance on your old phone is really giving you a bad user experience.

If you want to save yourself some cash then you’ll need to keep a close eye on your mobile spending, because it’s incredibly easy to waste money with your phone. Choose phone plans and phones wisely, don’t forget about WiFi, and certainly don’t fall into the trap of buying in app purchases, and then watch the savings add up!