Can I pay less for my mobile phone?

YES! You can pretty much always pay less if you are willing shop around and put some leg work in for cashback deals. If you can be flexible with the phone you want, and you don’t mind a referb, even better! Make sure you know the network coverage for your location (so you don’t pick one with no signal in your house!) AND how much data, minutes, texts etc you need before you start.

This is a really high spend area for most people and I think that there are 2 key things to consider, the most important one is why you feel the need to get the latest phone asap (if you do of course, sorry to offend if this doesn’t apply!). Are you being swayed by the marketing and / or your friends? If so, just have a think about how rational this is. I get that you really want it (I do too!), and I’m in no way suggesting that you stick with one of those tiny nokia “phones” from the 90’s, but let’s see how much a little compromise might impact your finances.

I’m going to go with an apple example (for my sins!)

A few years ago, I bought an iPhone 6 on ebay from one of the referb dealers. Perfect condition, in the box etc. The iPhone 6 had only been out for about 6 months at that point so it was still quite a high price new. I paid just under £400 outright for the phone and got a sim only deal for £15 per month. Total cost of the phone over the 18 months that I had it: £670.

As I’d kept the box etc and had a glass protector screen on the phone with a case, the phone stayed in great condition despite extensive daily use. I sold it for £320 18 months later.

Total cost of phone and contract now comes down to: £350, that’s £19.44 per month.

Contrast that to walking into a shop and getting a new one on a pay monthly deal where you are locked in for 2 years and it might look more like £45 per month less what you could get for it at the end which lets say is again you get £320, you would therefore be paying an

EXTRA £12.22 every month or £293.44 MORE over the 2 years for using essentially the same phone!

This is obviously a really simple comparison but if you shop around, I’m sure you could get a really good deal on a second hand or reconditioned phone and use a 0% card to pay for it if you need to. Please do not buy it on a credit card that you are paying interest on though, that totally defeats the object!

The other aspect is where you get your contract from, or if you do choose that you really do want to get a new phone in with the deal and in all honestly, depending on what you want it can still work out ok, there are always ways to pay way less!

First of all there are loads of cashback offers on topcashback or quidco type sites, secondly, places like e2save and have some brilliant deals and you could use some comparison sites to see what they throw up too.

Check out deals on e2save here

Be careful if you choose a contract with cashback deal through places like e2save though. I’ve used these quite a few times and you do get the cash back every time but you have to remember to submit your claim every 3 months so you need to be very structured and set reminders otherwise you lose the money. If you are happy that you will comply with the terms, you can get some seriously cheap deals. I once had a sim only contract for 2 years for nothing! I think I lucked out when I spotted the deal to be honest. I paid monthly and then when I submitted the quarterly return, I got the full value back!

Just as an example, last year I got phones for my mother and my daughter, I went through TCB and for both of them and got very comparative rates plus I got £60 back.

If you want to try it for yourself, the process might look something like this:

There are 3 different companies involved here, the one that actually provides you with your contract is at the very end of the process. In this example these would be:

  1. TopCashBack or Quidco – they will give you cash for using them and they will let you know when and how you can get that cash back from them.
  2. BUYMobiles or e2save are in the next range of companies and will offer you a wide range of phones, contracts and cashback deals totally separate from TCB and quidco.
  3. The final provider might be EE or O2 or Vodaphone etc. these are the people you will actually pay and where your bill will come from.
Check out deals through TopCashback here

For example: if you contract is £18.99 per month though EE, you pay this to EE by direct debit every month, then on certain months of the year, you need to upload a specific bill to the e2save website (say March, June and September for example) and they post you a cheque for £21 (or whatever the redemption figure is on that deal). Have a read through their websites, they are very self-explanatory and can save you a bundle.

You can also negotiate with your existing provider, especially if they think you are going to move on. So if you really can’t be bothered with switching and trying to keep your number etc. just ring your provider, it’s worth a try and they mostly do provide you with a better deal than the one you have.

Buying on the high street is also an option if you have a clear idea of what you want and how much you can get it for elsewhere, they are usually willing to negotiate to get your business.

In summary, be very careful what you sign up for and be sure that you are not paying for something that you don’t actually need, it really does add up to a lot of money over the term of the contract and it deserves serious consideration.