During these austere times many of us are looking for ways to make our money go that little bit further. For most of us, one of the best ways to start a lifestyle audit is to begin with how much we’re spending on bills, including the mobile phone bill. Whether you’re looking to build a nest egg for the future, save for a rainy day or get your finances in order for a mortgage application, here are a few tips that could save you hundreds of dollars each year.
Assess your calls
You can gauge your usage and package suitability with one of the many mobile phone deal comparison sites out there, which offer great value. You may find you’re paying way over the odds in your current deal. Track your calls to see if you use more minutes during peak working hours. If you use more once the working day is over, you might prefer an off-peak package. Bundles like these are often far cheaper and offer reduced rates to your favorite numbers, very useful if the same number crops up again and again when the bill arrives each month.
Use Wi-Fi instead
Think of all the data that you use when you download large files or stream videos from the Internet to your mobile phone. If you have a limited data plan, the expense soon mounts up once you run over the monthly cap, making for an unpleasant surprise when the bill drops through your letterbox (or arrives in your email inbox, if you receive e-bills). Set up an alert on your phone so that if you start to approach your limit before the end of the month is up, you’ll know sooner rather than later.
Of course, the other way is to log into Wi-Fi, either at home or in public places that offer free Wi-Fi access. Then you can be on the Internet to your heart (and wallet’s) content. It goes without saying, however, that for your own security you should avoid organizing your finances online if you’re on a public Wi-Fi network.
Switch off the data roaming setting
Okay, you might be abroad and planning to keep your bill down by not making or receiving calls —but that doesn’t mean you won’t incur extra charges on your phone. If you leave the data roaming setting on, it can still detect networks in other countries and merrily check your emails automatically as you travel. Have your say in the billing by switching it off, and log into the Wi-Fi instead, which is likely to be available in a lot of places. Then you’ll be more in control of the costs while you’re out of the country.
Handy as they are, mobile phones have had a reputation in the past for being costly little devices to own and use. That’s much less the case than it used to be, though, these days. If you follow these tips, you’ll find it cheaper to connect and to communicate, and still just as fun.
*Image by espensorvik, used under Creative Commons license.