Could leasing mean the end of big spending on our smartphones?

We all want to save money on our smartphones, yet many of us are tied into lengthy, expensive contracts that we can’t seem to break free from – especially when that tempting early upgrade deal comes around.

But what if a new trend was emerging that changed the way we paid for smartphones? There’s a new kid on the block and it may just revolutionise the smartphone industry as we know it. Leasing is its name and saving consumers money while doing good for the planet is its game.

The idea of leasing’s nothing new; it’s been a way of life for the automobile industry since the early 1900s. TV rental shops were at their height in the 1970s and we’ve seen developments in recent years with the likes of Netflix becoming ever-present and now it’s time for smartphones to be in the spotlight.

While the first smartphones didn’t come on the scene until the 2010s, it’s no secret that prices have been increased every year since then. While networks promise a brilliant deal on contracts for the latest smartphones, there’s often hidden costs in these contracts like maintaining a network infrastructure, interest and charges for the customer to own the handset at the end.

So if you ask us, it’s about time that a change in the status quo came along. Leasing a smartphone means lower monthly costs with the option to upgrade to exchange for a newer model at the end of your contract. That means no old phone to deal with (do I sell it, do I throw it away, do I hide it in a drawer?) and friendlier prices.

London-based tech startup Raylo are at the forefront of the leasing movement, offering the latest iPhone and Samsung Galaxy at wallet-friendly prices. Speedy delivery and a free sustainable phone case aside, their key selling point is what they do with the used phones when they collect them. Each is refurbished and put ultimately used by someone else, saving it from an alternate destiny of the trash heap.

It’s not just the way you pay for your phone that can save you money, though. Getting clued up on how to beat hefty prices can start with something as simple as your SIM. Finding a great SIM-only deal that covers your data, calls and texts can be a great money saver – especially if you don’t need a new phone – and SIM-only deals often tend to be more flexible, so you’re not locked into lengthy, expensive contracts.

Getting a SIM with an MVNO (mobile virtual network operator) rather than one of the ‘four big networks’ (O2, Three, Vodafone and EE) can be a money saver, too. As MVNOs aren’t paying to establish and keep a network infrastructure, you’re likely to pay less as they rent their space from the big networks and can keep their prices low as a result. Try Tesco, GiffGaff and iD Mobile to explore their deals.

Becoming aware of your data usage is another simple hack to slash big spending. Checking your bills, looking at an in-built tool on your phone or using sites like Bill Monitor can tell you exactly what your monthly data usage is and can help you work out averages. So if you’re locked into a phone contract that’s led you to have way more data than you need, consider this for next time. You could even opt for a monthly rolling contract that lets you adjust what you need monthly.

Finally, the next time you’re looking for a new phone, consider a refurbished handset. Choosing refurbished is one of the smartest ways to get a great handset that’s almost new but without the brand new price tag. Far from the idea of cracked second hand devices, refurbished phones are cleaned and restored by technicians to ensure they work like new – we like this one from GiffGaff.

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