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New year, new mobile plan: How I’m saving over $800 in 2023


Lesson learnt – don't pay more for your phone than you need to, especially while we're all stressing about our finances.

When the cost of living really started to ramp up last year, I looked at all the ways possible to cut costs.

Apart from cancelling my unused gym membership, app subscriptions and switching energy plans, I made the hard decision at the end of 2022 to sacrifice upgrading to a new phone on a phone contract.

The end result?

I've now switched mobile plans for a more budget-friendly option and I'll be $800 better for it by the end of 2023.

New phones are great, but contracts are expensive

3 years ago, instead of forking out for the iPhone 11 Pro Max outright, I signed up for Vodafone's 36-month repayment plan. This included $50 for the mobile plan and $55.55 to repay the phone itself.

I also got 60GB of data to use each month, 5–6 times more than the 10–12GB I've ended up using each month since signing up.

Spending around $105 a month over 36 months on a phone is a lot of money. You don't realise it in the moment – I certainly thought it was a great deal at the time. But it was costing me almost $4,000 over 3 years.

When I decided it was too much to pay at the start of 2022, there was nothing I could do. While very few providers these days have lock-in contracts, I still had hundreds of dollars left to repay on my phone and if I left, I'd have to pay the remaining amount immediately. I had to wait it out.

Considering my options

As the date of my final handset repayment drew close, I considered a handful of options:

  1. Stay with my current provider. Continue paying $50 a month for 60GB of data that I wasn't going to use.
  2. Stay with my current provider and get the iPhone 14 Pro Max. I'd be paying $92.75 for 40GB of data that I wasn't going to use. I certainly wasn't going to pay $1,899 to get the phone outright.
  3. Keep my current phone and get a SIM-only plan. This would give me the most flexibility and savings.

While the thought of getting the new phone was very tempting I decided to do the fiscally responsible thing, option 3.

Comparing and making the switch

My list of wants for a new phone plan were pretty simple, I wanted:

  • to pay less than $50 a month
  • a plan with around 20GB a month
  • a plan with unlimited data if possible if it came within my budget

Did you know? According to the Australian Consumer and Competition Commission, the average consumer downloads an average of 10.2GB per month.

I narrowed my options down to:

Monthly cost$25$17.50 for the first 3 months, then $35$10 for the first 6 recharges, then $32
Data allowance20GBUnlimited55GB for the first 6 recharges, then 32GB
Unlimited dataYes, capped at 1Mbps after using up data allowanceYes, capped at 20Mbps at all timesNo

I ended up signing with Belong as it offered the added bonus of data banking. This means any data I don't use each month will roll over to the next.

Switching was easy – Belong looked after porting my mobile number to my new plan which took less than a day.

The amount I'll save is about $300, but the real saving is $800 a year by deciding to break the habit and not get a new phone, when I really don't need to.

Looking to switch to a new mobile plan? Start comparing mobile plans today.

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