Smartphones are indispensable to our modern lives. They double as communication centres with emails and messages, as social hubs with calendar and planner features and with the huge plethora of apps out there, we can use our phones for just about everything, from travel diaries to online shopping to banking. However, paying for a smartphone can be pricy and it is best to make sure that you have the best possible deal. Here is how to make your mobile easier to pay for.

Rather than upgrade to the latest model, why not try an older phone? Some of the older models are still excellent devices, with plenty of memory or space for a micro SD card, that look good and do exactly the same job as a brand new, latest model phone. Opting for a cheaper handset can be an instant saving on the day of purchase, but can also save you money in the months to come, should you need to get the phone repaired or replaced.

Think about transferring to a contract, if you use your phone a lot. Having a contract often means that the handset comes to you for a nominal cost, or with no upfront cost. Being on contract might be more expensive but the monthly charge is fixed for the duration of the contract and thus can be budgeted for if you need to plan your monthly expenses strictly.

If you are happy to have more fluctuating expenses, you could consider going PAYG (Pay As You Go), depending on how much you use your phone and what you like to do with your device. Many of the main service providers offer extra benefits to PAYG customers, such as a certain amount of data, free texts, or free minutes, in exchange for topping up a regular amount every month, for example, ten or twenty pounds. The money paid in will sit there, accumulating until needed, while you use the free benefits to connect with people and use the internet.

When you have some time one day, have a look over your mobile phone usage and work out what you actually use in terms of the services offered by your provider. Sometimes customers are offered free or cheap deals on bundles, which seem like a good idea until you realise that paying a fiver every month for a booster that you do not use is a waste of money. Work out what your needs are, and put that money towards extra services, or save it towards your next phone.

All of which brings us to a major way to save money on a mobile phone: go sim only. If you have a good handset, or can find a cheap, good quality second-hand one, then a sim only deal can save you a lot of money, while giving you plenty of minutes, data and texts. Bear in mind, if you want to buy a smartphone, you need to make sure you get one that is already on your supplier’s network, or it will have to be unlocked so that it can use their connectivity without costing you even more money.

Whichever way you decide to go, only make the decision after some research. Check out the packages on offer, see which provider has the best prices, and which has the best coverage. Read reviews from long term customers, and pay attention to the bad ones, especially if the phone deal on offer seems too good to be true. Less efficient companies can try to sucker new customers into signing lengthy contracts, relying on them to wait out the contract rather than fight for decent service or coverage.

Some more environmentally aware companies offer a rebate for recycled mobile phones. You will usually have to hand in your old phone, but the knowledge that the phone will be taken apart and recycled as far as possible and the remains disposed of safely, should be enough to give you a warm feeling, even without the monetary reward that often accompanies such an offer.

So there you have some ways to save money on your mobile phone. Whether it is paying no upfront cost or saving pennies over the months choose the saving that works best for you.