As part of the DIY Nous method for saving money on household utilities, this is a step-by-step approach after you have named your mobile provider and double-checked the terms of your contract with them.

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Can I cancel this service?

If you’re in contract, cancelling your mobile contract could result in early termination charges. Once your initial contract is over, cancelling or making changes can be done for free and generally requires one month’s notice.

Most mobile providers are known to increase prices at the mid-point and at the end of the contract, meaning customers can pay significantly more over time for the same service. Contracts for mobile phones include a monthly cost to cover buying the handset, once that contract is over you could save hundreds of pounds a year by switching to a SIM-only.

So, if you’re outside your minimum contract period and haven’t switched or renegotiated, it’s likely you could find a cheaper deal.

Can I reduce this service?

The next question to ask is whether you can reduce your data. The average mobile phone user only uses a few GB of data each month, whilst providers make people think we need huge data plans. Over time, the price of data packages has come down, with several providers now offering 5GB+ of data for £10 or less. Your data usage is shown on your bill or your online account. Remember, if you’re using your phone a lot at home or in an office where there is Wi-Fi, this doesn’t deplete your data allowance.

Likewise, phone insurance from your provider can be pricey and have a high excess. If you need insurance, shop around and check cover you may have elsewhere such as home insurance or through your bank. If you want to protect a high-value contract phone, which you renew every 24 months, consider whether you need cover for the full duration of your contract. Upgrading a damaged or lost phone close to the contract end can be cheaper than paying high insurance premiums and the excess.

How to save money

Once you’ve figured out how much data you need, go to a price comparison website and search the best prices for a package that suits. Call your existing provider and ask them to match that price and if not, you should switch.

Existing out of contract customers are frequently able to get a discount for staying with their provider. Some providers will let you do this on a monthly rolling basis so you can still upgrade or switch further down the line.

If you need a new phone, buying it on a 24 month contract can be the most expensive way to finance it. Consider buying a refurbished model, which is also better for the planet or using an interest free credit card to spread the cost.

When switching to a new provider, its easy to transfer your number over and cancel your existing contract. Text PAC to 65075 and give the PAC code sent to you to the new provider who will transfer your number over once you put the new sim into your handset. It’s also worth checking that the direct debit has been cancelled.

If you’re worried about which network you’re going to be on, there are so-called ‘mobile virtual network operators’ (companies that operate their services on one of the underlying networks), so it’s normally possible to switch providers for a better deal and get the same coverage.

You can see a table of network providers here.