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If you compare phone contracts with others, are you getting a good deal? As a teacher, I see children on phones every day. There are three things that shock me.
- How many children have VERY expensive phones.
- The fact that many of these children have no respect for their phones.
- How much their parents are paying for their children's phones.
The vast majority of teens want and, perhaps need, a phone today. Phones are brilliant – I LOVE my iPhone and genuinely couldn’t run my business as effectively without it.
For teenagers, phones have many useful points too. From being able to stay in touch, to homework apps, research in class, analysis tools in PE, and selfies obviously! I am absolutely a fan of teens having phones, but their disrespect for them really upsets me.
Many of the children that I work with have contracts for iPhone 6’s and 7’s that are costing their parents upwards of £35 per month! This is a huge amount for one phone, and for parents with more than one child this is a fortune. I have 3 teenagers and this would cost me £105 per month or £1260 per year.
This is bloody ludicrous!
We pay less than £45 for 4 iPhones. Yep that’s right – an average of £11.25 per phone.
If you are paying more than £10-15 for your children’s phones then you might be thinking “So what? I can afford it, so what does it matter? I can't be bothered to compare phone contracts."
For me, it does matter, for the following two reasons:
1 - The message
Many of the children have phones which are bashed, broken and battered. They have cracked screens; so cracked that they can barely see through them. There are chunks out of the edges of the phones where they have been dropped. The casing is often scratched to bits and their phones look uncared for. They have very little respect for an item that is often worth up to £1000.
It is this lack of respect that I find most irritating. Perhaps these children have little appreciation for how fortunate they are, or for how much their parents are paying for these items. They are not getting the message that possessions should be treated with respect.
2 - The financial cost
If you are in a well paid job, and can afford to fork out £35 a month for your child’s phone, then why shouldn’t you? You just don't have time to compare phone contracts anyway! Let’s take a family with 2 children, paying a total of £70 per month for their children’s phones. If they were to reduce that to £10 per child, just what could that other £50 gain for them?
Overpaying a £100,000 15 year mortgage at an interest rate of 2.5%, by £50 per month will save you £1749 in interest. You will also pay your mortgage off 14 months earlier, meaning that instead of making payments towards your mortgage payments over those 14 months, you can pocket £9338!
All that for putting that “free” £50 you saved on your children’s phones into your mortgage.
Taking that £50 per month and putting it towards paying off a credit card has the potential to also save you a huge amount of money Paying the minimum payment on a credit card with £2000 at 18.9% will take 24 years and 2 months to pay off, costing £2717 in interest.
Taking the extra £50 and paying it towards the credit card each month will mean you pay it off in 4 years and 5 months (nearly 20 years sooner!), and save £1852 in interest!
Even with only £1000 on a credit card at 18.9%, it will take 18 years and 5 months to pay off if you only pay the minimum payment. It will also cost you £1264 in interest. Paying an extra £50 per month into it will help you to pay it off in only 22 months (16 years earlier!), saving £1094 in interest!
If you take that £50 and pop it into a savings account, even paying a poor 2% interest, in 6 years time (when your children are flying the nest) you will have £3819, including £219 in interest.
For me it is a no-brainer, but what about you? Are you ready to find out how you can easily cut the cost of your children’s mobile contracts?
Below I share with you some tips for reducing the cost of phones for children and for everyone else in the family.
Follow the crowd
My kids, like most teenagers, want to be the same as all their friends, so were desperate to have iPhones. However, I simply refuse to pay out any more than £10 per month for any of my children to have a phone, so we needed to think creatively.
We decided that if they wanted iPhones, then they would have to save up and buy these phones themselves. They originally each paid £200ish for a second hand iPhone 5s, and have now traded up to 6s and 7s over the years, by continuing to save up, and selling their old one.
An added bonus of them saving up to buy their phone means that they all have iPhones which are well cared for and well respected. My teenagers have many faults, but lack of respect for their possessions is not one of them, especially when it is their own hard-earned cash that they have parted with.
Where to get a second hand phone?
- The first place to look is around your friends and family. If someone is due an upgrade, they may be happy to sell their old one on. That gives you the peace of mind that you know the condition of the phone and where it has come from.
- Keep an eye out on eBay, Amazon and your local sales pages on Facebook. If you are buying second hand just watch the reviews of the seller and check the guarantees offered etc. If you do your homework carefully, and avoid anything that looks like a scam, you can get yourself a real bargain.
Remember that you won't always get a warranty if you buy a phone in the above ways - check the small print. If you don't mind paying a bit extra, then you can buy refurbished mobile phones & smartphones, which will come with a warranty. Amazon, Music Magpie and CEX all have a reputation for selling quality refurbished phones at competitive prices.
Don't forget to sign up to and use TopCashBack and you can earn cashback on the purchase of the phone, depending on where you buy it.
If you can buy the phone already unlocked then it will take a SIM card from any network. Once you have the phone unlocked then the world is your oyster in terms of deals that you can get.
If it is not unlocked, then it is a relatively simple process to get it unlocked. Do your research into the cheapest and easiest way to get your phone unlocked.
Compare phone contracts
There seems to be a bit of fear around SIM only deals, but they are fantastic. The only difference between them and other contracts, is that you are not paying for the phone, therefore it is much cheaper. Taking the time to compare phone contracts can really help you to make significant savings.
The best SIM only deals:
The best SIM only deals start from around £4 per month, though these deals will not give you much data, which is likely to be a problem for most children. On searching today I found numerous deals with up to 8GB of data for less than £10 per month. This is more than enough data for all my teens, and they seem to be constantly glued to their bloody phones!
Why don't you see if you can save some money for your household by getting a better deal on your phone contracts?
Save yourself even more money by getting the teen to contribute to, or even pay for, their own contract. I find that they are much more likely to treat their phone well if they are having to pay for it themselves.
My 3 teens each now pay for their own phone. All 3 have SIM only deals and pay from £8 - £10 per month, depending on their needs. This also teaches them to think about their phone useage. They don’t want to pay any more than they have to for their phones, so they compare phone contracts to ensure that they are getting the best deal.
If I was paying, I am sure they would each happily have an iPhone 7s costing £50 per month! However, they now know that if they want a new phone, they will have to pay for it themselves and they just quite happily accept the one that they have.
I hope that this helps you to compare phone contracts and get a cheaper deal. If you have found this post useful, please share it with your friends.
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I am Eileen Adamson, Your Money, Sorted coach, working online with UK based women. I can help you to develop a better relationship with money and feel calm, relaxed and positive about money. This will allow you to feel confident, in control and able to make good financial decisions. Through creating a good relationship with money you can then live the life that YOU want to lead.