In the swimming pool last night I saw the lifeguard drop her mobile into the water. She was fooling at the side of the pool with another staff member, pretending to climb a pillar and she gave a little jump to get onto it and bam, that’s all it took for her phone to fall out of her pocket and into the pool , doing the hundred metre dash to the bottom. It was in the fast lane too.
What a look of panic on her face. A swimmer dived, swooped it up and handed it back to her pretty quick, but God knows if it was able to be saved. I’m guessing she’s in the market for a new phone now. As a bit of a clutz myself, I sympathise. Just a couple of months ago a bottle of water burst in my bag, killing my phone stone dead. Bad, but not my worst disaster. That award goes to the time I left my mobile in a dressing gown pocket when I put it in the wash. Or possibly the time I dropped it into a cup of tea.* Splosh. See? There’s a bit of a water theme going on with these gadgets. So, all in all I’ve been in the market for a new phone rather more than I’d care to admit.
The only benefit of buying so many mobiles is that, having had to negotiate so many mobile phone contracts, I have learnt a few tricks for saving money on them. Here are my top four:
Never buy the add-ons
When you’re buying a new phone and it’s as shiny and gorgeous as a newborn, insuring it may seem like a smart idea - especially if, like the lifeguard and me, your mobiles have a homing device for the nearest water source. But in spite of having killed more phones than is surely right, I still wouldn’t recommend insurance. You’re better off getting a sturdy case (waterproof, natch), to protect the phone from breaking and spills. I quite fancy this one from Amazon.
The competition among mobile phone providers is fierce; stressful for them, but brilliant for us, because the deals they offer to entice new customers are often excellent. And if you’re in the market for the full package of internet and TV services along with a mobile contract you’re in an especially good position to negotiate the best price. Don’t go direct to any one firm but be sure to go through a comparison site to get a good overview of the available deals. But even once you’ve found the best deal, don’t stop there in your pursuit of greatness, Skint pals. It’s time to . . .
Ask for a better deal
Oh yeah, we mobile phone-droppers are nothing if not bold. Bitter experience has taught me that even if the paperwork suggests you’re locked into a mobile phone contract, it’s never set in stone. Give them the M word (moving) and see what happens . . . Some companies have special deals only for customers who threaten to sign up with other carriers.
You got it covered?
So you’ve found a lovely deal, well done, Skint friend. But before you jump ship, don’t forget to check if the new supplier has good coverage where you need it. Biggest waste of money there is, if you sign up to a new provider then discover you’re sentenced to making all your calls in the front garden. The Ofcom website has a very handy tool to check coverage for for all the main suppliers: Check mobile phone coverage for your area on the Ofcom website
What about you, Skint pals? Got any top tips for saving on your mobile tarrifs? Or any disasters you’d care to recount that have befallen your mobile? The more watery the better . . .
*For all fellow waterbabies out there, here’s a nifty guide to trying to rescuing your phone after it’s been for a little swim.