1: Know What You Want: What is most important to you? Data? Minutes or texts? International Calls? Know exactly what you want and go after the deals that suit you. Try a comparison site like https://www.whistleout.com.au/MobilePhones/ and see just how much cheaper you could get what you already have – or better.  If you have Wi-fi at home, you could get low data and unlimited calls and texts from as little as $15pm. Shop around.

2: Stay away from long-term contracts: These can be traps, even if you can afford it right now. Try to BYO phone if you can, or buy your phone outright by either saving up or using a No-Interest-Loan scheme if you have a concession card. Try to get a month-to-month or pre-paid agreement so you can try out several different services without penalty if it turns out they’re not right for you. If you’re having a tight month, you can then reduce or exit your service without massive broken contracts penalties.

3: Know your phone’s protections: Many phones have a section under ‘Settings’ or ‘Data’ where you can not only track your data usage to-the-second but can also tell your phone which apps may or may not use your data and which can only use wi-fi. Some phones also let you generate your own warnings when you’re close to using all your data and auto-stop you when you do.

4: Aim low: If you have to get a long-term contract in order to pay for the phone, go for the cheapest possible option. You can always upgrade later if you need to, but most companies will not downgrade you without first cancelling your original contract – and charging you for the entire amount owing!

5: Don’t be fooled by introductory offers: They’re there to trap you into deals people otherwise wouldn’t sign up for– don’t get caught.

6: Bundles aren’t always the best: Often they just mean you can’t stop or change one service until all the bundled others are finished. Don’t be afraid to spread your services across multiple providers if needed.

Want to know more? Head on over to http://accan.org.au/tip-sheets for more great tips on saving, usage, comparison and how to make your complaints heard.

If you are having issues with phone or internet bills, you can book an appointment with an accredited, free and confidential Financial Counsellor at Midlas on 08 9250 2123.

Midlas Mission: We partner with individuals and organisations to promote independence, strength and wellbeing in our community through support, advocacy and education.