Today’s technologically advanced cell phones can do more than simply make and receive phone calls; they can also store data, take photographs, and even act as walkie talkies, to name a few features. These may not all be required for you as a student, so you need to determine what kind of phone would suit you best. As a student, you need to make sure you draw up a monthly budget to gauge your expenditure. Mobile phone costs can eat up a significant portion of this budget if you do not do your research. However, there are several tricks you can use to reduce your monthly mobile phone bills.
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1. Student Discounts
Many service providers offer discounts based on your student status. Student discounts often go unadvertised. Enquire and then take them up on these offers. The most beneficial ones will offer no credit checks and a monthly plan that you can cancel or switch anytime. Some service providers offer packages with their exclusive student discount on the phone, SIM, and broadband deals, ensuring that you can stay connected without going over budget.
2. Evaluate Usage
Check your monthly bills regularly and know exactly what you are paying for. Cancel any items you do not need. Often customers end up paying for services they didn’t even know they had signed up for. In this way, you can personalise your monthly plan based on your personal usage and needs. Mobile phone plans and offers change constantly. However, your cell phone carrier isn’t going to tell you that, so you will have to call and enquire about incentives and adjustments that could help you save money every month.
If you have access to Wi-Fi on campus and where you stay, you likely will not require an unlimited data package. You can also use free and reliable Wi-Fi sources often found at cafes and other amenities. It is also likely that you do not need unlimited texts either as many apps now offer free messaging services like WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger, Instagram and Snapchat. Few people actually make calls these days so unlimited calling minutes are also something you would not need.
Also, be careful of apps running in the background using up your data. Check your phone’s settings and look at the data usage. Switch off automatic updates and set these to load only when you have access to Wi-Fi. You can also set up notifications on your account to let you know when you have used a certain amount of data. In this way, you can control and curb your usage if needed.
3. Cancel the Insurance
We are programmed to think we need to insure everything, including our phones but, in all honesty, it is rarely worth it in the long run. Most insurance companies limit the number of claims you can file per year and you are likely to need to pay a deductible. If your phone is damaged beyond repair, most insurance companies replace it with a refurbished model rather than a brand-new device. Instead, invest in a sturdy waterproof case to protect your phone from damage.
Another unneeded extra on some contracts is roadside assistance. Assistance is most likely already included in your car insurance policy. Many credit cards also provide on-the-side-of-the-road assistance when needed. Because of this, you don’t require a phone plan that includes it as well.
4. Earn Cash Online
Some service providers like Lebara allow you to earn cash online by referring a friend using the Lebara Refer a Friend option. There is currently no cap on the number of referrals you can make and, if these are successful, you can earn cash and your friend can get fifty percent off their deal. These options that let you earn cash online are ideal for students who need to earn money from home to supplement their monthly budget or entertainment wants and needs. Lebara is a great choice to consider as it runs on the Vodafone network and provides fast, reliable 4G data speeds.
5. SIM Only Deals
Using your phone for longer can save you money. You can also consider buying a second-hand phone. There are always good deals on eBay or at Pawnbrokers. It is best to buy from retailers or reputable stores to ensure you get some sort of guarantee, even if this may be limited. Be wary of buying a used phone from a classified ad as you can never be sure of its history. It could be damaged or even stolen goods and you would only discover this once it’s too late.
SIM-only offers can provide some of the best deals for students on a tight budget. They allow you to switch plans whenever you want and you can choose from a wide variety of plans available. You can use any phone you like and stop wasting money on features that you don’t need or use. Most budget phones have the same specs as expensive phones but without high-tech finishes. Buying a cheap phone upfront works out much more cost-effective than taking a top model on a contract you cannot afford. SIM-only deals are more flexible and you only pay for usage, rather than paying for the fancy phone as well.
Prepaid is another money-saving option for students. You won’t be able to play with the latest smartphone toys if you use prepaid as you will be given a more basic device instead. What you give up in frills and unneeded entertainment, however, might add significantly more value to your savings account.
If you do your research and find cheaper and better deals with alternative service providers, approach your current provider and ask them for a discount. Drop names of the competition and what they can offer you. It is always worth a try to get a better deal. These companies have a reputation to maintain and will likely transfer you to their customer retention department who can make you offers regarding plan changes or special promotions to keep you as their customer.
Mobile phones are no longer seen as a luxury, but a necessity. However, you do not need to blow your entire monthly budget on the bills if you follow these steps and do your homework.
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