Don’t talk (or text) yourself out of cash

It’s easy to get carried away while you’re chatting on the phone to a friend or family member, just like it’s easy to forget how quickly those text messages add-up.

New research has revealed that collectively Brits pour away £8bn on extra texts and minutes – so perhaps it’s time to think again about how we use our mobile phones.

Mobile phone providers offer all sorts of ‘freebies’ in an effort to attract our business – the most common of which are free texts, and free voice minutes. On average, a typical user enjoys 166 voice minutes and 133 texts as part of their tariff or top-up package.

Yet British mobile phone users manage to slip over their limits by an average of 23 voice minutes and 23 texts – costing them around £130 a year.

At a time when finances are notoriously tight, this seems like a needless waste of money as it’s something that so can easily be put right with a little effort.

The first step is to know exactly what package you have and what’s available to you. Then take a look at some old mobile phone bills to get a clear estimate of how many texts and minutes you use each month. Are you typically using more minutes and texts than your monthly allowance permits?

If so then investigate whether your existing provider offers a better value tariff with more inclusive minutes and texts for a cost no greater than the charge for going outside your current bundle.

Alternatively, shop around using our mobile phone comparison tool to see the deals available from other providers – it only takes a couple of minutes and the amount of money you could save could be worth the effort.

For example, an Orange Dolphin 25 customer with 150 free minutes and 300 texts included each month (at a monthly cost of £25) could swap to Dolphin 30, for an extra £5 per month (with 300 minutes and 400 texts). You’d be paying out £60 a year more on your contract – but avoiding the £130 extra for going over your text and call limit, giving you a yearly saving of £70.

One in five of us always receive a bill higher than expected. However, by educating ourselves on the charges and the small print of our contracts, and picking a deal that suits our usage, we can avoid those nasty surprises and actually receive a bill we’ve budgeted for.

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