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Obtaining a new mobile phone can be a big financial decision, especially if you’re planning to get one through a contract. These tips are meant to help you get a contract phone on a budget.

  1. Ask Yourself Whether You Really Need a New Phone

Paying for a new handset is the single biggest factor that affects the cost of your new contract. You should realise that even if you do get a contract promoting ‘free’ or ‘low cash out’, you’ll most likely pay more in the long run through the monthly tariffs. You’ll spend a lot less if you get a sim-only deal if your phone is still in good condition.

On the other hand, if you think that you really need a new mobile, consider the features that would be of use to you. Before you set your heart on any gadget, take the time to research the specs, and ask family and friends for advice on what could be the best handset for you.

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  1. Assess Your Current Usage

In order to get the best plan, it is crucial to know how much you use your phone. If you do not match free texts, data, and minutes according to your usage, you’ll either end up going over your tariffs or overpaying for a package that you rarely use.

  1. Decide Between Contract, Sim-Only, or Pay As You Go

A contract with a handset is best for heavy users because you can spread out the cost of the handset and tariff over time. While you will be locked in for 12, 18, or 24 months, there is no risk running out of credit.

On the other hand, a sim-only contract is best if you’ve already got a handset that you like or if you have the cash to buy one outright. It is also recommended if you’re a heavy user but want more flexibility with your terms. Sim-only contracts usually do not exceed 12 months, and there are options for a 30-day rolling contract, wherein you are free to opt out after each month.

Lastly, a PAYG is an excellent choice for light users who do not want to enter any contract agreement. With PAYG, you are not tied to any provider, and there are no credit checks to go through. You’d only top up as needed, so your mobile allowance would be easier to budget. However, there’s the risk of running out of credits when you most need them.

  1. Nearing the End of Your Contract? Prepare to Haggle

If you’re nearing or already past your contracts end but are completely satisfied with your handset, use it as leverage. There’s a huge market of mobile phones and networks out there competing for your loyalty, so make sure that you are getting the best possible deal. All it takes is some guts. Make an enquiry with your present provider and with others out there. If you’re not getting a good enough deal from your provider, let them know.

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  1. Consider Handset Loans

The most common problem with wanting a new handset – especially the latest smartphone – is that you don’t always have the money to shell out upfront. Even if the said handset is offered free or at a much-reduced cost, you’ll almost always end up paying more over the duration of the contract, so better think long and hard before getting one. In some cases, it would actually be cheaper to obtain a handset through a loan.