Today I’m going to show you how I saved £372 on my mobile contract.
In one day.
From my sofa.
With a 12 minute phone call.
Whilst my cat attacked the Christmas tree.
What You Need to Know About Mobile Networks
I’m going to let you into a secret…
Mobile networks aren’t interested in saving you money.
…they are interested in keeping you on as a customer.
The mobile phone contract market has almost reached maturity as almost everyone who is old enough has a mobile phone.
Because of this, networks are going out of their way to poach eachother’s customers. The secret to profitability in this market is therefore – RETENTION.
It’s time to use this in your favour…
Two years ago a younger, less financially savvy version of myself got in line on the release day of the iPhone 5. I still remember the excitement of holding it in my hand for the first time.
However, I soon found myself bound into a 24 month contract paying £47 per month – that’s £564 per year!
A story all too familiar to many of us.
Here was the deal – “You’ll get 600 minutes, unlimited texts and unlimited data…”
Sounded great, but little did I know that overestimating what I needed was just one of my many mistakes.
Wherever possible opt for the lowest cost deal.
You can buy addons to your contract or even upgrade at the the drop of a hat but reducing the price of your contract after purchase is much more difficult.
Four Steps to Slicing Down Your Mobile Contract
When you are bound into a mobile contract it is difficult to negotiate on price. Timing is vital in this exercise so if possible, try to cut your costs one month before the end of your contract.
When the timing’s right, here’s what you need to do:
Step One: Decide if You Really Need That Shiny New Phone
You are faced with two options at the end of your contract: ‘Upgrade’ or switch to a ‘Sim-Only‘ deal.
This is a BIG decision.
And there’s no right answer as sometimes you do need (or really want) a new phone.
But note, when you decide to ‘upgrade’ you are essentially paying full price and sometimes more for your new handset. This can often be over £400!
Always ask yourself “Would I be willing to pay for this up front?”
Me? I was still happy with the iPhone and decided to switch to ‘Sim-Only’.
Just by looking at the standard sim-only package from my existing provider I could see this resulted in an instant saving of £22 per month / £264 per year.
But I wasn’t finished…
Step Two: Find Out Your Monthly Usage
Getting accurate figures on what minutes/texts/data you’ve used over the past 6 months is the perfect way to decide on how much you will genuinely need moving forward.
This information is easily accessible on your online account. If you can’t find it, call your provider, they will be able to tell you.
I was surprised at how little calls I’d used and how much data I’d been swallowing.
Then, check out the latest deals that meet your requirements at Money Supermarket. See how these stack up against your current payments.
Step Three: Call Your Network Provider
Now that you’ve done your research it’s time to put it into action.
Call up your provider and let them know you’re looking to Upgrade OR switch to Sim-Only.
Tell them your requirements and ask them what they can do for you.
Once their performance is finished, hit them with some of these:
- “Is that all you can do for me?”
- “Even though I’ve been with you for two years?”
- “But INSERT COMPETITOR can do that for £X per month”
You’ll be surprised at how quickly the initial offer can come down and the more fruitful propositions start cropping up.
I used the first two questions, but their ‘discount’ wasn’t worth thinking about. However:
If you’ve secured a mouth-watering deal at this point then feel free to pat yourself on the back and take it. But note, you could be saving even more…
Unless you’ve got the absolute best deal around, there still may be bigger savings to be had.
This is where you need shift the conversation in a different direction:
Which leads me onto the fourth and final step…
Step Four: Ask to speak to the ‘Disconnections’ department
The performance of the disconnections department is often based on how many customers they can retain at this stage of the process.
They can therefore often offer you better deals.
Don’t feel obliged to disconnect if you don’t want to but the secret is to convince the provider you are ready to pack your bags and go elsewhere at a moments notice.
I asked if I could disconnect my contract and was presented by this wonderful question:
“How much would you be willing to pay to stay on board?”
I proposed they drop the their initial offer of £20 per month to £10 per month…
“I’m afraid we can’t do that. But seeing as you’ve been a loyal customer we can offer you 200 minutes, unlimited data , unlimited texts and free calls to 0800 numbers for just £15.
Needless to say, I snatched it up.
Result: Total of £32 per month savings – £372 per year
A Bonus Tip for Saving Even More on Your Mobile Expenses
Saving money on your mobile bill doesn’t stop with your negotiating your contract down. You can actually save even more on your costs by ensuring you are set up with the right current account.
Current accounts have changed. Rewards are becoming more and more generous with some banks offering the following benefits to their current account offering:
- High interest rates on savings
- Monthly cash payouts
- Cashback on certain purchases
One of the most lucrative of the accounts is the Santander 123 account which offers a large number of benefits including 3% cashback on any money spent on mobile bills.
Have you managed to cut the cost of your mobile bill recently or in the past? Leave your story in the comments!