In the past couple of years, smartphones have become a major expense for most South African households – and many of us not only want the latest and greatest gadget, but also enough data and talk time to keep in contact with our friends and family.
If you use your phone often, you might find yourself paying large amounts to your mobile phone bill each month. Luckily, we’ve got some handy tips to help you spend less and enjoy all the fun a great mobile phone offers.
Get the right phone for your needs
When buying a smartphone, take care to choose the right model and features to suit your needs. In the same way you might consider buying a car, you don’t want to end up paying for an expensive model that offers complex features that you might not use all the time.
In the smartphone market, different models fall into different ‘categories’ – affordable phones are called ‘budget devices’, and the latest and greatest smartphones are sold at the ‘high-end’ of the market.
If you’re a photographer, entrepreneur, or need a specific feature in a phone, buying a high-end device can make sense. However, if you could make do with a cheaper device, why not consider something more affordable?
By buying a device that fits your needs, you can spend less each month and instead use your phone to its full potential.
Consider whether you need a contract
Smartphone contracts give us an easy way to buy an expensive smartphone and pay it off over a period of 24 months. If you need to purchase a specific device and find a great deal from a mobile network, this is a great idea.
However, if you’re able to purchase a more affordable phone and don’t want to be tied into a 24-month deal, why not consider a pre-paid SIM card?
With a pre-paid deal, you can usually buy your own smartphone of choice, and top up your available data, call minutes, and SMSs whenever you need more. By creating a budget, you can keep track of your expenses and know exactly how much you’ll need to pay each month.
In South Africa, data can be very expensive – and that’s why a great way to save money off your phone bill is to be data savvy.
If you’re out and about and aren’t using your phone, turn off your device’s mobile network connection. This means that your phone will only be able to connect to the internet and download certain messages or items once you’ve turned its mobile network connection back on.
Avoid downloading items from the internet when you don’t need to, and remember that it isn’t free to make WhatsApp calls – instead of using your call minutes, you’ll instead be using your mobile data.
Consider a dual-SIM smartphone
SIM cards are what we buy and insert into our smartphones to make calls and connect to the internet, and are usually how we take out contracts with mobile networks.
However, some mobile networks offer better deals than others – and some smartphones offer two SIM card slots instead of one. By buying a dual-SIM smartphone, you could use one SIM card for call minutes at a cheaper rate with one network, and use the other for a more affordable data package.
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