Are you thinking of getting a new phone? Whether you’ve been using the same old phone for far too long or simply want to upgrade to a newer model, there’s certainly no shortage of great options to choose from on the market today. But, getting a new smartphone doesn’t always come cheap and being locked into an expensive, lengthy plan for two years might not be something that you are prepared to do. After all, in two years’ time, you might be able to get much newer smartphones with better features for the same price – and you’ll want the freedom to change if you like. Thankfully, there are several options on offer if you want to save money on your smartphone without being locked into a plan. You might want to consider the following:

SIM Only Plans:

Signing up for a SIM-only plan gives you much more freedom compared to getting a smartphone handset on a contract. Typically, SIM-only deals will be for a much shorter length of time. You can get SIM-only plan offers that last for just one month at a time, giving you complete freedom to change networks or adjust your allowance as and when you need, or you can sign up for a longer period – usually twelve months – to take advantage of cheaper prices if you don’t mind being locked in for a little longer.

While you will not get a smartphone included with the plan, this allows you to shop around more and find one at a price that suits you. One of the best companies for SIM-only deals out there is Lebara. You can get a SIM-only deal starting from just £5 per month. Plus, there are no long term contracts with them. So you can change your allowance to suit your needs each month!

Refurbished Phones:

If you’ve decided that a SIM-only plan is the best option for you, refurbished handsets are an ideal option compared to buying your new smartphone brand new. Not only are refurbished smartphones more affordable with plenty of great options to choose from – but they are also much better for the environment as it prevents unwanted phones from ending up in landfill and allows them to be used for as long as possible. And, when you get a refurbished smartphone handset, you will barely be able to tell the difference between it and a brand-new phone.

Most refurbished smartphones have been restored to a high standard and look and feel brand new, or if you want to save money you can get cheaper ones that might have a couple of scuffs, but nothing too serious. Opt for manufacturer refurbished or a phone that has been refurbished by a high-quality, trustworthy retailer that offers a guarantee.

Credit Plans:

Purchasing a phone with a credit plan might be a cheaper option for you compared to getting a smartphone plan, since you can adjust how much you pay for your monthly allowance with a SIM-only deal. There are several ways to get a smartphone on credit and you can find retailers offering credit plans or buy now pay later options for refurbished handsets, allowing you to make even bigger savings. You can get new and refurbished iPhone handsets directly from Apple using PayPal credit, for example, allowing you to spread the cost, which is ideal for anybody who needs to get a new phone quickly. You might also consider paying for your phone with a store card, credit card, or another form of credit that you can manage without being tied into a two-year plan.

Second-Hand Phone Handsets:

With many people upgrading their smartphone as soon as the latest model is released even if there’s nothing wrong with the one that they currently have, the second-hand market can be a great place to look for your new phone. Gumtree, Facebook Marketplace, and eBay are all great places to look and you can find some excellent bargains on used handsets that are still in fantastic condition.

If you’re planning on buying a second-hand phone in person, be sure to check a few key things before parting with your money. Ask to test the phone out first and make sure that it connects to Wi-Fi, that the microphones are working, and that it’s not blocked – if you’re buying an iPhone, ask to log into it with your iTunes account so that you can test it properly before you buy. You should also make sure that the handset is unlocked to the network that you’re planning to use it with; you can easily do this by taking the SIM card with you and testing it out.

Review Your Usage:

If you’re using a SIM-only plan, the good news is that a 30-day rolling plan means that you can change your allowances on a monthly basis. So, it’s a good idea to review your usage from time to time and determine whether or not you really need the number of minutes, texts and data that you are paying for. When you’re on a SIM-only deal, it’s easy to switch to a cheaper package if you find that most months you’re not using up your full allowance at all. This can be especially useful if your situation changes, e.g. if you’ve switched to working from home and tend to use more Wi-Fi than mobile data these days, so you could probably switch to a plan with a lot less mobile data and save money.

Use a Spending Cap:

Many mobile networks give you the option to cap your spend so that you can prevent yourself from accidentally going over the allowance that you have at all, or allowing yourself a certain amount to spend outside of your allowance. For example, calling certain numbers, calling internationally, sending photo messages or even using mobile data without realising that your allowance has run out can all add up to be seriously expensive, and the last thing that you want is to be slapped with a huge unexpected phone bill next month. If your network offers the option to set a spending cap, it’s definitely worth taking advantage of so that you’ve got peace of mind about how much you use.

Earn Money Back:

There are plenty of great ways to earn some additional money from your phone that you can put towards reducing your bill. Your phone network might offer some options that you can take advantage of, such as earning referral fees when you introduce a friend or relative to the network and they sign up for a plan or SIM-only deal. You can also find loads of apps that you can download to complete tasks that will earn you money, like taking simple market research surveys, scanning receipts for cashback, carrying out simple tasks as you’re doing your food shopping (like checking certain items are in stock), posting job advertisements that you see in storefronts or even playing games and watching videos; the opportunities are endless.

Most of us will have to get a new smartphone at some point; after all they are not designed to last forever. But there’s no need to pay expensive prices for a lengthy smartphone plan, with these savvy ways to save money on your next handset.