11 Of Our Top Tips For Getting The Most From Your Mobile Phone Contract

[AD] There are countless ways in which we use our mobile phones these days, and knowing that everything from a quick message to a Youtube video is at the touch of your fingertips is often a reassuring way to justify those high-priced contracts.

However, it is important to recognise when you are spending too much and where you can cut costs to ensure you are only paying for what you really need. These top tips have been put together as a simple aid for you, to help you make the best of any contract.

Top Tips for Saving On Your Phone Bill

The cheapest deal on the surface may not always be best

Some deals can be too good to be true as they are often concealing possible hidden charges and penalties, for example, having to buy internet add-ons when you run out of data and huge costs for overuse. Yes, even a few megabytes over your allowance could cost you, for example Vodafone charge £6.50 for every 250mb of data over!

Work out your usage and go from there when deciding how much data you really need. The sweet spot is looking at your average monthly usage and having a little bit to cover you. Using about 1GB a month? Then 2GB is ample.

Stick within your limits

There is nothing worse than going over your data limit and being slapped with those charges for internet overuse. As well as looking for the best contract with the data allowance you really need (and be realistic here – if you like watching videos on the go then your allowance needs to be high!), make sure you also edit your settings to work with Wi-Fi where possible.

Don’t bother with mobile phone insurance

Coverage in case of an accident is important, but it is easy to overspend on insurance. It is worth checking whether your phone is covered by your home insurance first, and if not consider self-insuring by putting money aside rather than paying an insurance firm.

Think twice about cashback deals

Cashback may seem like an attractive bonus, but often companies do not make it easy to claim and so you will find yourself trawling through monthly bills just to get a few pounds back. Make sure it is worth it, and where possible look for deals with instant cashback rather than redemption deals.

Don’t keep paying the same amount when your contract has ended

Check up on the length of any contract you sign up for, and then ensure they don’t increase their prices each year. Once you are tied to a contract it becomes very easy to forget about it and keep the direct debits leaving your account – how often do you actually check the numbers and look for increases? Stick with shorter contracts and make sure to keep an eye on your accounts and what is leaving them each month.

Travelling outside the EU?

Does the contract allow for overseas usage? If texts and calls abroad are covered, great! If not, you are facing huge costs the second you turn on your data. Check out the overseas allowance and make sure you stick to it. Three is the best for this with their feel at home product which also works in the USA.

Go SIM Only

Could SIM-only work for you? By opting for a SIM-only contract, you really do pay for what you use, thus avoiding extra charges and overuse fees. With this option you can source the phone and contract separately, giving yourself the choice of handset you want and still keeping costs down in the long run – though in this instance you will have to face the initial upfront cost to purchase the handset.

The other good choice is to use a  pay as you go SIM (this site has ranked and compared them with giffgaff coming top). This used to mean topping up manually and each time you use your phone some of your credit is used up. But now with bundling the networks offer set amounts of data, minutes and texts that last 30 days. This puts you fully in control as you cannot overspend and there are no tie ins

Test out the networks

Check out the networks available and see how well they fare in your area. Do they have a good signal where you live? Do they have good customer service reviews generally? These are all important to look at when you are choosing the best contract for you. You might even want to test networks out temporarily first with a pay as you go SIM before tying yourself into a longer deal.

Don’t be afraid to haggle

Haggle! You never know what you can get unless you try, and you may well end up with a discounted monthly charge if you show your loyalty by haggling to stay with the same network. After all, they don’t want you to give your money to another network and so will more than likely accept a lower fee to keep you as a customer.

Compare Deals

Use comparison tools and online sites to review the best options according to your needs and usage. uSwitch, Moneysupermarket, Tiger Mobiles etc all have easy to use filters to find deals.

Don’t discount MVNO or smaller networks

Explore the option of smaller networks, as these are often more likely to give you better details in order to win and retain your custom. giffgaff, 1pmobile, Asda and Superdrug are all worth looking into.

 

A Whole New Way To Shower

[AD] When it comes to designing a bathroom it can be a bit of a minefield with so many different options to chose room.

Shall we have vanity unit or shelving? shall we get roll top bath or just a shower unit? shall we tile the whole room or add paper?

The list can go on and on but ultimately what you need is something that is going to suit the whole family and everyone’s needs and I know for us we couldn’t be without a shower.

For us the speed and efficiency you get from having a shower is something we definitely need as having a large family utilising our time well is an absolute must; and this is certainly one way to save a lot of time in the morning when there are so many of us trying to get ready and leave the house.

A shower is also way more energy efficient than a bath. It has actually been calculated that a 10 mins shower only uses 25 gallons of water compared to the 70 it takes to fill a bath, making it is better for the environment and kinder on your pocket which are two things that we think about a lot in our home.

My eldest son is lucky enough to have an en-suite in his room and this is the perfect place to have a shower but due to the limited space a wet room would actually be something that for us would probably work a lot better than the usual shower unit for many reasons:

Space Saving – Wet rooms optimise the use of space in bathroom by taking out the need for bulky shower trays and doors and making way for a free flow area which creates a lot more space.

Having to make the entire space waterproof also means you are less likely to get any leaks like you could with a traditional shower unit.

Interior Heaven – For me the sleek design you can get with a wet room is a big pull for me. Floor to ceiling tiles that fill the entire area creates a modern, seamless look that won’t date easily. You can keep the design as simple as you want with minimal accessories and all of those much needed products stored away in cabinets to keep it clutter free, giving you a more relaxing experience.

Squeaky Clean – One of my pet hates is cleaning the shower. Having to try and squeeze round tight corners to get in and give it a good clean is a real pain and something you avoid with a wet room. Plus you are removing the need for grout which we all know if a nightmare for breeding mildew which is a nightmare to get off!

Easy Access – This one for us is a real bonus when it comes to showering the little ones. They always opt for a bath as a shower unit makes them feel claustrophobic and uneasy when the shower door had to be closed shut. This problem is taken away with a wet room and the openness is far more appealing to little ones.

Becoming A Thrifty Food Shopper

  

I like to think of myself a pretty thrifty food shopper already, although after watching the series ‘Eat Well For Less’ on BBC One a while back it has played on my mind that there are still a few changes that I could put into place to save a bit more on food which leaves more to spend on going out and having fun!

I recently took the big step of moving away from my super easy Tesco home delivery service and moved over to the increasingly popular Aldi.  For a while I had been a bit snobby about shopping in there, thinking they must be selling really poor products if they are so cheap; but I could not have been more wrong.  Don’t get me wrong my stress levels have tripled again as I had come a custom to a little man kindly bringing my neatly packed shopping right to my kitchen table and I have now reverted back to trying to control at least two little ones around the supermarket; one of my past posts will tell you how I try to make this a slightly less painful task.  It does however save me upwards of £50 a week and as a lady said to me the other week whilst I was pushing two screaming babies in the rain through the car park “think of the money you are saving”.

This was clearly my biggest and best move so far but I am now going to try and shop locally for things such as meat as it’s said that you will only pay a little more for your meat and you will get much better quality by going to a butchers.

I have also seen many friends have to close small businesses of late due to people opting to shop online or use the bigger retailers.  It is so sad and that is why the whole comunity spirit is being completly wiped out and soon High Street shopping will be a thing of the past.

Having being cooped up for the past few day feeling poorly I needed to get the boys our of the house to enjoy this lovely sunshine, so a trip to the park and a bit of food shopping were on the list to see if this was going to be another thrifty move for us.

First stop was the Bettameats butchery in Banstead High Street where I was greeted by a super friendly and helpful butcher that helped me chose what would be best for me and best value for money.  Only £27 later I walked away with some fantastic looking meats that will feed all seven of us for well over a week.

   

 

Our next stop was Banstead Fruiterers just across the road.  Again I was greeted with a smile and the offer to try before I buy which unfortunately my son took him up on the offer and would not leave the poor mans strawberries alone! 

   

  

We left there with plenty of fruit and salad to last the week and I would guess that it’s half the price I would have paid at the supermarket.

Very pleased with my savings and the warm feeling that  I had done my bit to keep the local High Street thriving we set ourselves up in the park to take in the beautiful sunshine and sample some of our goods.  This will be a new way of shopping that I will be keeping up from now on.