How to save money when buying your next phone


February 3, 2021

Written By

With hiked network prices and new models driving up the cost of owning a smartphone, you’re not alone if you’re wondering how to save money on your phone. Here’s how in five simple steps.

1: Choose how you want to buy

There have traditionally been two ways to purchase a smartphone: buying it outright or with a pay monthly contract that allows you to own the device by the end of your agreement. But there is now a third option that could be the ticket to saving money on a new phone.

Leasing is a cost-effective and flexible option that’s becoming as popular as other subscription models out there (think Netflix and Spotify). As you’re not paying to own the phone outright, monthly payments tend to be much cheaper. Don’t just take our word for it, though: we compared the iPhone 12 on a monthly contract with a major UK network and our very own leasing option, and the difference was staggering. Prices for a 64GB model start from £57 per month with some networks, whereas you can enjoy £27.99 per month with Raylo + £0 up front fees and a 24 month warranty.

And while you don’t own the phone by the end of your Raylo contract, you can upgrade to the newest iPhone for free and we’ll take your old one off your hands. Still not convinced? Read our comparison of phone leasing, network contracts and buying to see why leasing could be the next best thing you do. 


2: Consider a used phone

If you’re wondering how to save money on your phone, you might be considering a used phone. After all, going used can be a really smart way to get hold of a great smartphone at a fraction of the brand new price. But as with any used purchase, buying second hand doesn’t go without risks. Read our guide to a safe used mobile phone purchase for everything you need to know.

If you want to go with a reputable seller that refurbishes the phone rather than selling it in second hand condition, we’d recommend Raylo Certified Refurbished. Each of our used iPhones undergoes a 70 point check to restore it to an ‘as good as new’ condition, and in true Raylo style, the monthly cost is low, the phone comes unlocked and you can enjoy a 24 month warranty just in case. Take a look at the refurbished iPhone XR which starts at £14.99 per month and comes with brand new iPhone accessories.


3: Only pay for what you need

Mobile contracts tend to come with a fixed amount of monthly data. But have you ever wondered whether you really need what you’re paying for? An easy way to check how much data you use is to look at your latest bills, or if you have an iPhone you can head to Mobile Data in Settings, then Current Period and the date of your last reset so you can see how much you’ve used. Top tip: resent the counter at the start of each month to work out how much data you really need.

What to do next? Before you fall into the trap of a data deal with one of the big networks, have a read of why you don’t need that deal on data. There’s a tonne of flexible options out there, including getting a SIM with an MVNO (mobile virtual network operator) like Tesco Mobile, VOXI or ID Mobile. With MNVOs, you pay less than with the big networks as they rent their network space so aren’t covering the costs of maintaining a network infrastructure. They also offer more flexible contracts like 30 day deals. That sounds like freedom to us (and an easy way to save money on your phone). 


4: Check the details on what your signing up for

Cheap mobile tips and deals can be misleading. So before you sign up to a new contract with your existing network provider, make sure you do your research and get a feel for the best prices out there. We’ve touched on paying only for the data you need, but there are other hidden tricks that the big networks use to lure you in for your next smartphone contract.

Luckily, we’ve already done a deep dive into the misleading 0% APR contracts that are more of a sting than a saving, and we’d recommend you steer clear of phone trade-in deals that are more underwhelming than a cold salad. You should also can that 36 month deal you’ve been mulling over - here’s why. Being savvy and aware of tricky marketing like this is a surefire way to be saving money on your next phone.


5: Get a more eco-friendly phone

Did you know that you can get the latest smartphone while doing your bit for the planet and saving money? Yup, this is not a hoax. At Raylo, we know that the environmental impact of mobile phones is a mounting problem that’s growing every year. That’s why we turned the traditional smartphone purchase model on its head and decided to go down the leasing route instead.

You might be wondering how we can offer the latest smartphone models while being sustainable, and that’s all down to the circular economy principles that we live by. With our leasing model, we collect back used phones at the end of our customers’ contracts before refurbishing them and making sure they land in another pair of hands. That’s a different approach to the traditional ‘take, make, waste’ smartphone model where consumers are left with a handful of old, unused phones that have accumulated over the years while they get their shiny new upgrades.

When you lease a phone with Raylo, you’re helping us to work towards a future where smartphone e-waste is a thing of the past, and in return you save money on your phone. Read more about how we’re smashing smartphone sustainability or check out our brand new and refurbished iPhones if you want to make the change.