The smartphone has revolutionized the way people think about their phones. These days, it’s not enough that our mobiles simply allow us to make calls on the go. Now, we expect our phones to give us access to the internet, play games, music, and video, all while running apps that help us to save money, lose weight, and manage our daily schedules. And that’s just for starters. But there is a downside to the wonders of the smartphone. All of those flashy apps and features don’t come free, and smartphone usage costs can quickly drive up your monthly bill. So, the question becomes, “How can I keep my smartphone, while keeping my smartphone bills under control?’. If that question has weighed on your mind, here are five simple tips to help you reduce your mobile bill.
1. Apps and Data Allowances
We all love our smartphones because they give us quick and easy access to the internet. But that network access doesn’t come cheap. Even if you’re careful about when, and how often, you access the net, it’s still all too easy to exceed your monthly data allowance. That’s because even when they are not in use, many of your smartphone apps are still drawing down data from the net to update programs and software. It’s not unusual for smartphone users to find themselves exceeding their data allowances, and facing heavy tariffs and penalties when their bills roll in.
To beat the penalties, understand your usage patterns and shop for a plan the suits your needs. To avoid any unexpected overages, disable any apps that you deem appropriate. To do this, simply go to your phone’s settings, tap General, and scroll down to Background App refresh. Here you will be able to disable chosen apps, or set them to only update when you are connected to the net via free Wi-Fi, as opposed to your 3G or 4g connection.
2. 4G and 3G Connections
4G connections are faster than 3G, allowing you to download songs, video, and apps in a matter of seconds. But that speed comes at a price. Switching to 3G may help to save you money on the front end of your bill. But, again, beware of data costs. You may find that you need to up your data allowance when switching from 4G to 3G.
Whether you opt for 3G or 4G there are other ways to keep your connectivity costs down. Again, limit apps that have regularly updated content by changing the setting in your phone’s Notification Centre. Always be sure to fully close any and all apps when they are not in use. If you have a habit of streaming music or video, limit it to those times when you have access to free Wi-Fi, and avoid using your 3G or 4G connection.
3. Mobile Phone Tariffs
The average UK consumer is on the wrong mobile phone tariff, with some overpaying by as much as £200 every year. More often than not, this happens because people don’t really pay attention to their phone usage patterns. In order to get the best deal, you need to understand your usage patterns so that you can find the tariff that suits your budget and your lifestyle. If this seems daunting, use an online phone bill analysing app to track your usage patterns so you can find the most affordable tariff.
4. Unused Minutes
Many smartphone users fail to use their full monthly allowance of minutes. Yet they are still paying for those unmade calls and texts. If you fall into this category, and you have been with your service for some time, you may be able to downgrade to a lower monthly tariff. Don’t assume that you are necessarily locked into your existing tariff. It pays to haggle. Similarly, if you regularly exceed your monthly minutes, and are incurring penalty fees, you may be able to renegotiate your existing deal to save money.
Finally, considering the high price of smartphones it’s no surprise that mobile insurance has become such a big business. But again, mobile insurance isn’t cheap, with some policies costing as much as £15 a month. That’s £180 a year. Before signing on for mobile insurance, ask yourself if you truly need it. Consider how much you have invested in your mobile, and how likely you are to need an immediate replacement should it be lost or stolen. If you need your phone for work, and you cannot afford to replace it out of pocket, insurance might be the right option. But consider it carefully before signing any contracts that will significantly increase your monthly phone costs.
Smartphones are everywhere, and we all love the features and flexibility that they offer. Still, it comes at a price, and sometimes the costs can get out of hand. However, if you follow these simple tips you can take advantage of all of your smartphone’s features, and still have a mobile bill that won’t break your budget.