Looking for a cheap phone deal? Here are 3 things I do to save money

How to save money on a new phone contract with these cost-saving tips

How to save money on phone deals
(Image credit: Unsplash)

Due to the cost of living, some mobile phone providers – including Vodafone, BT and EE – are putting up the prices on their phone bills this month. When you factor in everything from the handset to the accessories to the contract, phones can rack up a lot of money.

Getting a new phone or contract doesn’t have to break the bank even when you’re looking at more premium devices like Apple, Samsung and Google. If you’re in the market for a new phone or upgrade, there are some handy ways to find the best phone deals (opens in new tab) that can help you keep your monthly bills down.

As T3’s Deals Writer, I’m always on the lookout for the best prices on phones, including discounts on handsets, chargers, accessories SIM only and pay monthly contracts. To help you save money on your next phone, here are 3 things I look for when searching for cheap phone deals.

1. Look at upfront costs, monthly fees & data allowances

The first thing I do when looking for a phone deal is check the upfront costs, amount of data and how much it’s going to cost monthly. This might seem like an obvious tip but if you’re just looking for the handset, you might not think to properly check the contract which could have high upfront costs, an expensive monthly fee and not very many benefits.

Depending on the provider and phone you choose, you can find some amazing phone deals that have no upfront costs and come with unlimited data contracts. Pay monthly contracts are very handy but SIM only deals (opens in new tab) are also beneficial to keep costs down especially if you’re just coming to the end of a contract. If you’re on a really tight budget, you can even recycle an old handset and buy a new SIM to put into it, which helps you cut back even more. SIM only typically comes with no upfront costs, lots of data and flexible contract lengths so you can duck in and out at any time. For more advice, here’s where I shop for cheap SIM only deals (opens in new tab)

2. Consider refurbished or previous models

To save more money on a new phone, you can find many refurbished models available at incredibly low prices. Refurbished items are things that have been returned by a customer because they’ve either changed their minds or there is a small fault that has been rectified through the refurbishment process. So while people tend to think refurbished means used or second hand, many refurbished devices are as good as brand new (opens in new tab) and they’re a lot cheaper. eBay is a good website to look at but you can also find some good deals at mobile phone providers.

Along the same vein, another way to save money is to look for the previous generation of a new phone. If you’re a fan of Samsung or Apple but don’t want to fork out loads on the newest model, there are always tons of deals on the previous generations. For example, when the Samsung Galaxy S22 (opens in new tab) launched earlier this year, the Samsung Galaxy S21 was half price at Three (opens in new tab) the week before.

Phone deals

(Image credit: Unsplash)

3. Trade-in your old phone

When you’re finished with your old phone, many of us pack them away in a drawer to be forgotten about. However, many mobile carriers and manufacturers offer trade-in promotions where you can get money off your next phone by trading in your old one. Depending on the provider you go with, you’ll either get money back in hand for your old device or the money will be taken off your next contract or purchase.

The best sites to find a cheap phone deal

If you’re wondering where to look for a cheap phone deal, I’ve got you covered. There are the obvious phone providers like O2, EE and Vodafone but some of my top choices are from third party websites as you can find deals from them that you’re unlikely to find anywhere else.

If you’re looking for a cheap phone deal, I’d recommend taking a look at iD Mobiles (opens in new tab), Mobiles.co.uk (opens in new tab) and Affordable Mobiles (opens in new tab). These websites compare all the best prices from all the top retailers, including data, upfront costs, incentives, cashback offers and more.

Bethan Girdler-Maslen
Acting Wellness Editor & Deals Writer

As T3's resident Shopping Expert and Deals Writer, Beth covers deals, discount codes, how to save money and seasonal holidays, including Black Friday, Cyber Monday, Amazon Prime Day, Boxing Day and Easter sales. Alongside her primary focus of deals, Beth is currently Acting Wellness Editor, covering all things sleep, yoga, relaxation and general wellbeing.

Having always been passionate about writing, she’s written for websites, newspapers and magazines on a variety of topics, from jewellery and culture, to food and telecoms. You can find her work across numerous sites, including Wedding Ideas Magazine, Health & Wellbeing, The Bristol Post, Fashion & Style Directory and more. In her spare time, Beth enjoys running, reading, baking and attempting DIY craft projects that will probably end in disaster!