FIRE Movement: Pillar 4 – Cheaper Phone Contract

FIRE Movement: Pillar 4 – Cheaper Phone Contract
November 15, 2019 Lauren Howells


Getting a cheaper phone contract, so that you can save some extra money towards your early retirement goals, is simple when you know how. The FIRE movement is about identifying opportunities to save money and reduce unnecessary expenditure – and mobile phone contracts are often bundled together in hidden, expensive ways. 


Take a look at our top tips for reducing your mobile phone spend, while still getting the texts, minutes and data that you need.


How to get a cheaper phone contract?


If you want a cheaper phone contract it is possible to reduce how much you pay each month for your phone bill. Done correctly, you should be able to find a deal without compromising on how much contact you have with your nearest and dearest.


When you’re looking for a phone contract, it’s only natural to gravitate towards a package which seems to offer you much more for your money. Data allowance, texts and minutes can often double for only a few extra pounds per month. But if you don’t need the extra data, you are pouring money down the drain.


Work out exactly how much of each you really need and sign up to a phone package that will offer this to you.


Most phones enable to see how many minutes you use and text messages you send, as well as your data usage. Make sure you reset your usage statistics at least once a month, so you can see exactly how much you’re using in a specific period of time.


You could use an app like Billmonitor to work out your average usage. It will also suggest deals for you based on this.


Armed with this knowledge, you can begin the search for a phone contract to suit you.


Buy phone vs contract


When comparing phone contracts to find the best value, calculate how much money it would cost you to buy the phone you want separately and sign up for a ‘SIM only’ contract. Compare this to the equivalent contract on offer. Often, SIM only can work out much cheaper than a contract-and-phone alternative. But you will need to have the capital upfront to pay for your phone.


Alternatively, if you’re happy with your old phone, there are big savings to be made by switching to SIM only.


Cheap contract with free phone or SIM only – compare your options


Comparison sites such as HandsetExpert and CompareMyMobile can help you to discover the best deal for you.


If you don’t want to switch networks and your contract is coming to an end, try haggling with your current provider to see if you can get a better deal. ‘Customer disconnections’, or ‘retentions’ as it’s often known within a business, will want to keep your custom, so should be willing to negotiate.


Cheaper phone bills without a contract


If you prefer a contract-free life, PAYG can work out a good-value option. Most networks enable you to send off for a free PAYG SIM, which you can then top up with calls, texts and data ‘bundles’, for as little as £5 per month.


As you’re not tied into a contract, it’s easy to leave without penalty if you find a better deal elsewhere.


Switching your phone contract for a cheaper alternative is easy


If you want to switch to a deal with another provider and keep your phone number, send a text to 65075 with the word ‘PAC’. Give your ‘porting authorisation code’ (PAC) to your new network within 30 days.


If you want to get a different number, you will need to text ‘STAC’ to 75075.


You should be switched within 1 working day.


If you are still in contract, check your T&Cs to see if you will be charged for leaving early.


Summary: Cheaper phone contract means more money in the bank


Finding a cheaper phone contract means you can reduce your outgoings and put the savings straight into the bank. Work out your data usage and how often you use your phone to call and text your friends and family every month. With apps such as Whatsapp offering free messages and calls when connected to the internet, you may find that you use much fewer texts and minutes than you thought.


Research the best phone contract deals using comparison sites. Work out whether you could save money by sticking with your current phone and signing up to a SIM-only contract or ordering a PAYG sim.


Above all, making sure you are on a cheap phone contract will give you that all-important extra cash to add to your early retirement pot.