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How families can cut mobile phone costs

Jasmine Birtles 19th Jul 2016 One Comment

Reading Time: 5 minutes

Mobile phone costs are one of the biggest day-to-day expenses of having children, particularly as they become teenagers and want to use social media apps and talk to friends for hours.

But there are a few ways you can cut the costs, particularly by buying secondhand, reconditioned phones as we show you below.

You can also bring costs down by encouraging the kids to use the wifi where possible, talk to friends on free apps like WhatsApp and SnapChat, get cheap insurance and even make some cash back by selling any old models you find in the house.


Cut mobile phone costs by buying secondhand

As we all know, when we get a mobile phone contract that throws in a phone ‘for free’ we’re actually paying for that phone, bit by bit, over the months as it’s included in the plan.

bring mobile phone costs down – the handset

You can bring costs down by buying your own phone and using it for years but they’re often a big cost in one lump. For kids, it’s even less worthwhile to give them a new, expensive phone as they don’t need something that posh for what they do. They’re also far too likely to lose it, break it or scratch it.

The best way is to buy a secondhand model – ideally a refurbished one which has been returned to a manufacturer and restored to its original condition.

How families can cut mobile phone costsOne possible option for low-cost hardware and service is FreedomPop, a new mobile carrier that launched just last year in the UK.  FreedomPop is unique as they are the only carrier in the UK that offers a 100% free mobile plan — they provide 200 minutes, 200 texts, & 200MB for free each month.  There are also paid premium plans, but you can always switch over the the free plan at any time. FreedomPop runs off of Three’s 4G and 3G networks, so coverage is still reliable even though it’s not one of the major carriers.

Right now you can get an exclusive MoneyMagpie deal on a refurbished Samsung Galaxy S4 Smartphone. For just £59.99 + VAT you get a Samsung Galaxy S4 Smartphone (certified pre-owned)  with FreedomPop’s 100% Free Mobile Phone Service. You can buy it here now.

You get the FreedomPop Certified Pre-owned Guarantee with it that means it has been through extensive physical damage and functionality checks, it has had thorough data wipes and factory resets.

Once you have bought it you will get a one-month free service trial to start including unlimited Minutes, unlimited Texts, & 2250MB data.

After the first month, you can opt to stay on the same plan at the normal rate of £6.99/month OR switch to the 100% Free Plan and get 200 Minutes, 200 Texts and 200MB data for free every month.

phone plans – including uk-only 100% free plan

You have a choice of cheap plans that you can have with this phone:

  1. Free – 100% Free talk, text and data: 200 minutes, 200 texts, and 200MB of data free every month 
  2. £4.99 –  500 minutes, 500 texts, and 500MB of data 
  3. £6.99 – unlimited minutes, unlimited texts, and 2250MB Data 

You also get:

  • Free unlimited calling & texting between FreedomPop Phones, even when on the Free Plan (this is really great for families!)
  • 30-day money back guarantee – No questions asked
  • No Contracts – Cancel anytime without fees or commitments

If this answers your family’s mobile phone needs get one here.


Cut the cost of insuring your phone

How families can cut mobile phone costsThe best way to cut the cost of insuring your phone is to check first that it’s not already covered in other insurance products that you have.

  • if you have a paid-for bank account that comes with extras you could find that it includes mobile phone insurance in the package. It’s definitely worth using that if that’s the case. However, do just check first to see what is actually covered. It may not include everything you want.
  • It could already be covered in your home insurance policy. Give your insurers a ring to see if it is. If it’s not covered already, ask them how much it would be to add it. They might even put it in for free – particularly if you ask!

If you would like stand-alone mobile phone insurance ,don’t just grab the one offered by your phone provider. That’s likely to be poor value. Instead, shop around on a comparison service to get the best value.


Sell your old mobile phones

How families can cut mobile phone costsYou could potentially get the phone for free by making money on your old phone that is lying in a drawer somewhere. This cuts down mobile phone costs by bringing the net cost of the handset down for you.

In fact, if you can afford it, let your child sell the phone for maximum profit online. It would help pay for the ‘new’ phone and also teach them about shopping around for the best deal and selling items for cash.

Even if the phone is old and broken you could still make a fiver for it. Various manufacturers want the parts inside phones for new products and they don’t care what state the casing is in or if it works.

Check out Mazuma, 8 Mobile and Fonebank to see who will give you the best price for your phone.

It might be that if your child is hankering after computer games or a new desk for their room, this could be an easy way of getting to get a few extra quid.


use cheap and free apps

Your children probably already know about WhatsApp and SnapChat. In fact they were probably using them before you even heard about them! These are great ways to cut down mobile phone costs – particularly the cost of chatting and messaging – as well as keeping them in touch with the ‘cool crowd’!

Skype is a good free way for anyone to message or talk to each other, so long as the wifi is on. Facebook messenger is also popular with some kids although many are moving to SnapChat and WhatsApp instead.

roaming fees

How families can cut mobile phone costsFreedomPop is also a viable option for International Calling. FreedomPop has international plans starting at only 99p, which allows you to call up to 40 countries aroudn the globe.  And while you’re abroad, you can call back to the UK for no extra cost as long as you’re connected over WiFi.  And finally, you can even get a virtual local number from any of 25 countries.  This way, your friends/relatives abroad can call you directly just as if they’re calling a local number in order to avoid fees

And obviously when you are on family holidays abroad, cut down mobile phone costs by getting everyone to switch off data roaming and only use wifi to search. After the Brexit vote, it’s unclear how long we will continue to benefit from the roaming cap the EU put on it in April 2016. With this rule if you’re travelling in the European Economic Area (all 28 EU member states, plus Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway – but not Switzerland),then whether you’re a pay-monthly or pay-as-you-go customer you pay exactly what you’d pay in the UK, plus a surcharge, up to a certain amount.

Outside of this area – and anywhere in the world if we don’t negotiate well during the Brexit talks – roaming will continue to be expensive so make sure the whole family knows the rules.


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5 years ago

Useful ideas for cutting your family mobile costs.

Jasmine Birtles

Your money-making expert. Financial journalist, TV and radio personality.

Jasmine Birtles

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