There are plenty of ways to get your bill down and get more for your money in the process

Our phones are one of the most useful tools in our lives; keeping us connected to the world around us, entertaining us with games, music and videos and helping us with all manner of daily tasks such as shopping, banking, budgeting and work. It's fair to say that many of us would struggle without one.

However, as phones have become more and more advanced in what they can do, the average price for a top end flagship phone has increased. In fact, the latest flagships can cost almost double compared to the initial models in their series, meaning getting a great deal and not overpaying for your phone each month is more important than ever.

With that in mind, we've compiled this guide of useful ways you can reduce your mobile phone bill.

1. Buy last year's model

Every year, the likes of Apple and Samsung will release a brand new flagship phone with improved specifications over the previous year's model. Features such as display quality, battery life, speed and cameras all receive an upgrade. Some of these features are truly groundbreaking and innovative - but that's no good to you if you don't actually make use of them.  Some of the updates are also minor - often the same display will be used for example. If you want to save yourself some cash, just buy the previous year's model. Remember, it's only a year old and some of these flagship products even one year one are still some of the most powerful smartphones on the market. Take the Samsung Galaxy S10 for example. It costs on average £15 a month less than the new Samsung S20 and boasts a ridiculously stunning display, a powerful camera that makes your photos look amazing and powerful features such as wireless charging, a great battery life and lightning fast switching between apps for multi-tasking. Opt for the S10 instead of the new S20 and you'll save yourself about £360 on a two year contract.

The same goes for the iPhone. Don't get us wrong, the iPhone 11 Pro is a truly amazing phone, with powerful features that make it the MacBook Pro of the smartphone world. But because of that, it's also at the top end of the price scale. Do you really need one? The iPhone XR is over a year old yet is the best-selling iPhone model at Chitter Chatter and many other retailers and networks today. Apple don't really make poor performing hardware, so the XR is everything you'd expect - great camera, bright display, good battery life and includes Apple's latest software - the same software that appear on the iPhone 11 and 11 Pro. An 11 Pro will cost you about £1450 over two years on a pay monthly contract. An iPhone XR will cost you about £791. That's a saving of about £659.

We'd thoroughly recommend checking out the previous year's model before going for the 'latest model' - you'll save yourself a stack of cash.

2. Pay something upfront rather than nothing

If you can afford to pay something upfront rather than go for a 'no upfront' deal when buying a pay monthly phone, you'll usually save some money over the life of the contract. Even a £20-£50 upfront cost, can substantially reduce your monthly bill, so have a look at the price plans available and see what you can afford upfront. Do the math's though (monthly cost x contract length + upfront cost) to compare as sometimes the networks will run promotions on some price plans which could mean it makes more sense to go with the 'no upfront cost' deal - especially if you're after a lot of data.

3. Remember your contract end date

When you reach the end of your two year contract with a mobile network you are free to do one of three things; cancel your contract, upgrade with your current network or switch to a different network with a better deal. All networks are now obliged to notify you at the end of your contract but just in case you miss it, when you buy a new phone, make a note of your contract end date in your diary. That way, as soon as it ends you can make sure you're still on the best deal.

At Chitter Chatter, we'll email you and text you when your contract has ended and can then help you choose a better deal. We a;so have a handy EE Upgrade Checker on our website if you're on EE, where you can enter your details and our team will check your current plan and let you know when you can upgrade, even if you didn't buy your EE phone from us.

4. Switch to a SIM only plan

A SIM only plan is where you just pay for a monthly allowance of minutes, texts and data and don't pay for an actual phone as well. If you're happy with your current phone, get given a hand-me-down or buy a second-hand phone on eBay, you can buy a SIM only plan and put that SIM in the phone. Just make sure that the phone you are using is either unlocked or compatible with your mobile network of choice. If your phone is locked to a network (usually the case if you buy your phone direct from a mobile network) then you can contact them to unlock it for you so you can use it with any network.

SIM only plans often have shorter contract lengths too, such as 12 months or 30 days. This can be useful if you're not quite ready to upgrade your current phone or if your waiting for a new model to launch.

Without the cost of phone to consider, a SIM only plan will reduce your monthly phone bill considerably. Plans are often available from as little as £5 a month.

5. Don't pay for more data than you need

Unlimited data? 100GB of data? These big data deals we often see advertised can be tempting and sound like amazing deals, but only if you actually need all that data. Consider how much data you actually need for your phone and choose the appropriate plan for you. If you're unsure, check your mobile network's app as it will often tell you how much data you're using each month.

It's worth noting though, that often some of these big data deals are on promotion, so can sometimes actually be cheaper than going for a lower data allowance plan. Again, do the maths (monthly cost x contract length + upfront cost) to determine the best value deal but don't be lured into being upsold from 20GB to 100GB if you're never going to use it.

6. Buy a refurbished phone

Refurbished phones continue to be an increasingly popular choice for buyers looking to upgrade their phone. Always purchase from a reputable retailer that you trust and check the details on exactly what you're getting. For example, at Chitter Chatter, all our refurbished and pre-owned phones come with a 12 month UK warranty and we're upfront in explaining that they may have some minor signs of use but are fully working (and often actually look like new!).

Buying a refurbished phone rather than a new one will often save you around £100-£200 compared to buying a new one. Chitter Chatter have a range of refurbished iPhones in stock.

7. Cap your bill 

This was a requirement introduced by Ofcom a few years back. All mobile networks must allow you to cap your monthly phone bill. You can select this option at checkout online - you can choose from no cap or another denomination. A £10 cap would mean you can't spend more than £10 a month over your price plan (on extra things like calls, etc). There are some items that aren't affected by the cap so check the details depending on the network you choose. This can be a handy way to control your monthly spend.

8. Share your data

EE offer something called 'Data Gifting'. This lets you give some of you monthly data allowance via the My EE app, to one of your family members that has another phone on your account. How does this save you money? Well, if you've got extra data available every month, it means your family member's price plan can have a lower data allowance than they would normally need, which reduce that line's monthly bill. You can then gift them some of your extra data each month.

9. Look at alternative models

The S-Series is the king of Samsung's range - these are the models that get all the press attention, the flash keynotes and often the multi-million pound advertising campaigns. But there are alternative models available. In the case of Samsung, their Galaxy A-Series are lower cost versions of their S-Series phones, often slightly stripped back but they do include many of the flagship features you'll find on the top end phones. We'd highly recommend considering these if you're looking to keep your monthly bill low. The same goes for looking at the 'non-Pro' versions of the iPhone 11 and Huawei P-Series.

These are just a few ways that you can reduce your monthly phone bill and ensure you're not overpaying. If you ever have a question about your bill or a deal, feel free to get in touch with the team at Chitter Chatter and we'll do our best to help. You can view our latest mobile deals here.

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