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How to cut your smartphone bills

A woman holding a credit card whilst using her mobile phone

Despite being such an essential item, for many people a smartphone can end up costing far more than they bargained for. But you might not even know it, with many owners failing to check their bills every month.

And even if they do, there could be nasty surprises waiting with international calls, roaming charges, and in-app purchases at the top of the list!

After your housing, food, water, gas, and electricity costs your smartphone could be the next priciest thing on your monthly budget.

With so many different phone providers offering a variety of contracts you would have thought it would be easy to get a good deal on your smartphone. However, it isn’t as straightforward as you would think and can be bewildering at times. But don’t despair!

Follow our handy ‘how to’ guide and you could soon be saving on your smartphone bills.

We can find you the right insurance for iPhones for your needs and budget. Give us a call today and let us show you how!

Ready to slash those smartphone bills? Here’s how…


  1. Use Wi-Fi whenever you can

Whether at home or at work if there’s an open Wi-Fi connection available then try to use it rather than your own data allowance. And when you’re out and about without Wi-Fi, be smart about how you’re using your phone.

Using your data allowance to download or stream movies, videos, podcasts or music is soon going to add up.

Once you’ve exceeded your data allowance some hefty fees can be charged by your provider. Most networks will send you a warning alert when you’re about to go over your data limit.

This allows you to purchase add-on data bundles rather than paying per MB. Just make sure you sign up to receive those alerts!

A woman sitting at a cafe using a mobile phone

  1. Keep an eye on background data

Even if you don’t browse the internet or download when you’re on the move, getting the most out of your data allowance is still important.

A big drain many users might not notice are apps running in the background without your knowledge. Push notifications telling you to practise your French or to make sure you keep moving to reach your exercise goal are all ways of using up your data.  

But it’s quick and straightforward to get this back under control. Simply go into your smartphone settings and look over the data usage and background app refresh of each app.

Toggle off the ones you don’t really use or those which use a lot of data. Doing this means you’ll know they aren’t secretly operating in the background and draining your data and battery without you realising.

Need to check the Google Maps app while you’re out cycling? No problem. Just turn on data for a specific app whenever you want. But remember to turn it off when you’ve finished.


  1. Shop around for the best insurance deal

We’ve all done it. We’re rushing to get out of the house or looking for change for the car park and we drop our priceless smartphone!

If we’ve invested in the best iPhone cover and screen protector then hopefully there’s no harm done. Unfortunately, this isn’t always the case and every year people damage their smartphones beyond repair.

So, if you don’t have the best mobile phone or iPhone insurance in place then this could be a costly slip up. Going through your mobile phone provider for insurance will rarely get you the best deal.

Give the team at Gadget Cover a call today and see just how much you could save on our range of award-winning policies. Get one-month free, unlimited claims, optional loss cover and much more.


  1. Sign up for paperless billing and save

An easy way to lower your smartphone bill with very little effort is to make sure you’re receiving paperless bills (sometimes called e-bills).

The savings aren’t huge but it’s still worth doing. For example, if you’re receiving paper bills from Vodafone in the post then you’ll be charged an extra £1.54 a month – that’s over £18 a year you could save with no work at all.


  1. Using your smartphone for work calls

If you’re using your smartphone as part of your business or even a side hustle, you might be able to claim some of your costs as expenses when it comes to tax time. If you’re looking to save, then cutting your tax bill is one option worth looking into.

When a smartphone is used for business then it’s vital that you’re covered by iPhone insurance in case of damage, breakdown, theft, or loss.

A businessman using a mobile phone to make a call outside an office building

  1. Could SIM-only be for you?

Mobile phone companies are among some of the richest companies on the planet and there’s a reason for that; they really know how to make money!

One way they do that is through convincing consumers to sign up to a new (often expensive) bundled deal. These deals include the handset, minutes and data and are rarely the most cost effective. Also, they often require you to sign a two- or even three-year contract to use the network.

Instead, stay with your current phone or buy a refurbished or low-cost handset that’s unlocked (meaning you can use it with any provider).

Then opt for a SIM-only deal instead. Used or older phone models can often be purchased at a discounted price. So, while you might not get the latest flagship device you also won’t be locking yourself into one expensive provider for years to come.

There are many pros and cons of SIM-only contracts that are worth considering. Shop around to see how much you could save with a SIM-only deal.


  1. Don’t trade in your trusty phone just yet

By hanging on to your current smartphone for that bit longer you could make big savings. After all, do you really need the latest flagship phone and a new expensive contract?

Your ‘old’ smartphone probably still has years of life left in it. So, why not keep it a little longer? That way when you do replace it think about what wonders your new smartphone will bring!

Remember, the money you save now could go towards a very flashy smartphone in future.


  1. Check your bill to figure out what you don’t use

Get into the habit of looking at your smartphone bill every month and checking your usage. As well as searching for hidden charges, also keep an eye out for things you never use.

If you rarely speak on the phone, do you really need all those inclusive minutes? Unlimited data sounds necessary when you’re in the shop but do you really need it? Mobile phone companies often laud the huge amounts of data included in their deals.

But those large data packages are often far more than most people ever need and end up costing more. How much mobile phone data do you really need?

Consider if you need everything you’re paying for. If the answer is no, it could be time to switch to a more appropriate plan.


  1. Shop around for a better deal

If you’re in the market for a new smartphone then remember you’re in a good position to barter. Speak to your current provider first to see if they can offer you a better deal on a phone than the ticketed price. Remember if you don’t ask, you don’t get!

Also speak to their competitors and see if you can secure a better offer. Competition between providers can be fierce, and many are happy to match prices in order to get your business. You don’t owe your mobile phone provider any loyalty so always try elsewhere.

But if you do decide to go with someone new make sure to check which provider offers the best signal in your area. There’s no point getting a cheap deal if you can’t use your phone at home because of patchy cover!

Ofcom has a signal-strength checker online which shows the strengths of EE, O2, Vodafone and Three in your area.

And don’t just stick to the high street retailers. There are plenty of mobile phone resellers on the internet offering incredible deals. Signing up to their emails will also help you get the best deal.

A man holding a debit card typing details into a laptop

  1. Switch mobile phone providers

If you’ve done your research, asked around, read reviews, and found a great deal with a new provider then it’s time to switch! But remember not to ignore the smaller, lesser-known carriers – they often have better deals than the big four.

Consumer champion Which? has a great guide on how to switch mobile providers. Whether you’re out of contract or still in contract, there’s options for you.

UK communications regulator Ofcom has been working hard to make switching to a new provider even easier than ever. Read their advice to keep on top of the switch.


  1. Be careful when travelling abroad

We all love a foreign holiday but when we take our smartphones along there’s the possibility of being hit with unexpected charges on your next bill.

Unfortunately, with surcharge-free roaming no longer guaranteed for UK travellers in the EU, you need to be more careful than ever with travel.

So, before you go, call your network provider, and check the rates for calls, texts and data usage in the country you’re visiting. Also check whether they offer a deal for international usage. After all it’s unlikely you’ll get away with not using your phone while abroad.

In any event, you really shouldn’t get a nasty surprise when your next month’s bill arrives. The government has told providers to apply a £45 a month limit on mobile data charges unless you’ve opted for a different limit.

Once you reach 80% of that limit your provider must send you a warning alert. When it reaches 100% the provider must ask whether you wish to continue using data and be charged more.

However, if you’re relying on your phone for getting around or booking tickets it might be difficult to say no! To find out more, check the Ofcom advice on using your smartphone abroad.

There are plenty of useful ways to reduce smartphone costs while you’re away. Always make use of open Wi-Fi connections at hotels, restaurants and cafes. And use free apps such as WhatsApp or FaceTime for messaging and keeping in contact with friends and family back in the UK.


  1. Be wary of tiny fingers

We’ve all seen the horror stories online about children left unsupervised with their parent’s phones - racking up bills of thousands of pounds on mobile games and apps.

Unfortunately, many of these apps are set up to be somewhat confusing. It’s far too easy for unwary children to make in-app purchases when simply hitting buttons.

So, always make sure your phone is locked when unattended. And set it up so that before an in-app purchase can be made, you must provide a password.

If you do let family members use your iPhone then make sure it’s covered by adequate iPhone insurance in case of any eventuality. For example, policies with Gadget Cover can be extended to your immediate family. So, if your loved one loses or damages your phone you’re also covered.


Reduce your iPhone insurance bills with Gadget Cover

Apple makes some of the best smartphones in the world but when something unexpected happens, costs can soon mount up.

That’s why the team at Gadget Cover is always searching for the very best iPhone insurance policies suitable for your device, requirements, and budget.

The award-winning policies we offer include protection against accidental damage, liquid damage, theft, breakdown and unauthorised usage as standard. And for an extra premium, you can also be covered against loss, too.

Additional benefits include accessories cover (up to £150), worldwide cover to include use of your iPhone anywhere in the world, and e-Wallet cover up to £500 if your iPhone is accidentally lost or stolen.

Get a quick quote for iPhone insurance today.

Policy benefits, features and discounts offered may very between insurance schemes or cover selected and are subject to underwriting criteria. Information contained within this article is accurate at the time of publishing but may be subject to change.

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