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8 Ways to keep smartphone ownership costs to a minimum


29th Jun 2021 Technology

8 Ways to keep smartphone ownership costs to a minimum

Whether you have had your smartphone for years and it’s reaching the end of its lifespan, aren’t happy with the operating system and features offered by your current smartphone, or simply want a change, getting a new smartphone today can be an expensive experience.

Smartphone technology is moving very rapidly and, as a result, there are new handsets released each year. As smartphone tech has become more and more sophisticated, the price has also risen over time, meaning that getting your hands on the latest models could mean that you’re paying over a thousand pounds upfront or a significant amount of money per month. Buying a new smartphone outright might be out of your price range, depending on the model that you want, and many people don’t like the idea of being tied in for years. The good news is that no matter why you need a new smartphone, there are several options to reduce and offset the cost.

Buy second-hand:

The upside to the fact that new smartphones are being released so often means that there’s a huge number of smartphone handsets being sold second-hand. Sites like eBay, Facebook Marketplace, and Gumtree often have people selling on their previous smartphone handsets to make way for a new one. Second-hand smartphone handsets are often in a perfectly usable condition and often have absolutely nothing wrong with them; they’re just for sale so that their owner can get a new one. If you’re not looking for the very latest handset and want to save money, this could be an ideal option to consider. If you want to buy a second-hand smartphone, there are certain factors to keep in mind. It’s usually best to buy it from a local seller since this gives you the chance to go and check the smartphone out in person and make sure that it’s working well and meets your needs.

Get a refurbished handset:

If you’re looking to get a new phone and want to save money while being more environmentally friendly, a refurbished handset could be the ideal option for you. These handsets often look and feel brand-new since they have been refurbished to a high standard, as long as you purchase them from the official manufacturer or a registered retailer. You can often get the latest handsets refurbished just months after they are released at a much cheaper price compared to buying brand-new ones. Don’t assume that all refurbished handsets have been broken in the past – sometimes they have to be classed as refurbished just because the seal on the box has been broken. If you opt for a refurbished handset, make sure to choose an approved retailer and ensure your handset is covered by a warranty.

SIM-only plans:

If you want to save more money on the ongoing cost of using and owning your smartphone, a SIM-only plan can be the best option to consider. With SIM-only plans, you can benefit from not being tied in for a certain amount of time, giving you more freedom to switch things up and choose the number of minutes, texts, and data that you want depending on your needs for the month. With no credit checks required for the majority of rolling plans, you can also easily get your hands on the best deals without having to worry about your credit score affecting your eligibility. And if you’re avoiding getting any new credit at the moment, for example, if you are applying for a mortgage, this could be the best option for you.

Refer a friend programs:

You can offset the cost of paying for your smartphone and earn money from home using referral programs, such as Lebara refer a friend. When you sign up as a customer with Lebara, you can access one of the best referral programs, allowing you to earn cash online just by referring your friends to the network. This shouldn’t be too difficult to do either since Lebara offers some amazing plans that anyone will be happy to take advantage of. Starting from just £5 per month with no credit checks and no obligation for customers to sign up for any specific length of time, you can be sure that people will be interested in finding out more and you can earn money each time you get somebody to sign up with Lebara Refer & Earn.

Credit plans:

If you want to reduce the cost of owning a smartphone by buying your handset outright but aren’t in a position to or don’t want to pay the whole amount at once, a credit plan or buy now pay later arrangement might be an ideal choice for you. Today you can get both brand-new and refurbished handsets through a range of credit plans and deals with competitive interest rates or in some cases, interest-free. If you purchase a SIM-free handset via a credit plan, this allows you to still choose your SIM-only plan to customise how much you want to pay for usage and often save money overall compared to purchasing the two together since you have more control over where you buy from and which deals you go for.

Review your use over time:

With a SIM-only plan, you have the freedom to change how many minutes, texts, and GB of data you want to buy each month based on your needs. That’s why it’s a good idea to review your use over time and check how much of each you are using to see if there is any room for you to save money. For example, if you are currently buying 10GB of data each month but are spending more time at home and using Wi-Fi a lot of the time, you might find that you can easily drop down to a much lower plan such as 2GB by easily changing your settings. Keeping track of how much you are using will make it easier for you to review your spending and make sure that you’re not paying more than you need to.

Consider a usage cap:

If you are worried about potentially going over your allocated number of minutes, texts, and data and spending more than you expect in a month, a spending cap can help you control this. You will usually be able to add a spending cap to your plan to either make sure that you do not do any out-of-plan spending at all or set a limit for how much you are willing to spend outside of your plan charges. This means that you have peace of mind that no matter how much you use your phone, you’re not going to be hit with an unexpected bill at the end of the month.


It’s also worth taking out insurance on your handset, especially if you have an expensive model. In the case of accidental damage, theft, or the phone breaking down, insurance will ensure that you are covered so that you can easily replace your phone or have it repaired without having to worry about the cost. You can often include smartphones on your regular home contents insurance or take out specialised gadget insurance to cover your phone and other tech in your home.

Smartphones are getting more sophisticated and as a result more expensive. The good news is that there are several options to help you save money.

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