May the force be with you

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A famous quote from a famous movie to catch your attention. But unlike Luke Skywalker who had his trusty lightsaber our weapon of choice now tends to be our smartphone. It is astonishing the way in which we are dependent on our phones not only for calls and texting, but in nearly all facets of our lives.

It’s now entrenched into society

Like most people I love my smartphone and it’s no surprise for me when reading this article that smartphones are more popular than laptops. What does amaze me is some of the statistics being reported by Ofcom:

  • Two thirds have a smartphone and on average use it nearly 2 hours per day
  • 4g subscriptions have leapt during 2014 from 2.7 million ending on 23.6 million
  • almost half of young people (45%) regularly watch on demand and catch-up TV on a smartphone

I work in IT, I’m IT-savvy yet even I found it hard to keep up with the latest features and apps on offer. I did though over one weekend analyse what I used my phone for…

…checked e-mail for 5 accounts, reviewed and posted on Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, sent some photos from WhatsApp, co-ordinated my travel with Train Times, Google mapped my way to a venue, searched eBay, recorded a TV programme, watched some TV, took a quick Skype call, listened to some music while in the garden, listened to a podcast and of course made calls and sent a few texts.

It is reported that on average individuals use 26 apps per month, I think I’m on my way.

How much is your smartphone costing you?

Given this daily reliance on our smartphones do you regularly worry about how much you are paying? It always seems that you get more bang-for-your-buck these days.

For me I required peace of mind, so in 2013 I got a iPhone 5c, 4g ready, 16 gig, unlimited texts, unlimited mins, 8g data and also had BT Sport added for free (with Spotify free on my wife’s).

This is over a 24 month period with the package costing £47 / month (inclusive of VAT). However, I qualified for 20% discount as working in the NHS so paying £37.60/ month per phone.

Over 2 years I’m spending: £1,804.80 on two smartphones.

How much are you paying?

Also, add those overseas traveller call charges, the price for sending a picture via text and those calls to chargeable 08xx numbers, it’s even higher.

However, given that I can use apps to send, receive messages, pics & videos, able to piggy-back on my own Wi-Fi, friends Wi-Fi and often free business/cafes Wi-Fi,

I’m wondering if I’m paying too much?

Savings to be made?

On the face of it, for what I use it for it, seems good value to money, but then I got thinking on a few points that caused me to realise there is some money to be saved.

  1. The contract started in October 2013 and given it renews in October 2015 I’d thought I’d go in just before to see what contract next best suits me. Well I found out that I can in fact ‘upgrade’ from July.

So, if I decided to switch to a pay as you go (with unlimited calls, texts, and same data allowance) I can save nearly £15 / month immediately. That’s 3 months savings adding up to £90 and only locks me into 12 month contract.

Do you know exactly when you are able to upgrade?

  1. I realised that even though I was using my smartphone constantly over the weekend, most of the time I was using my home Wi-Fi. Actually, I connected to a friend’s Wi-Fi, local cafes Wi-Fi and (dare I say it) McDonalds Wi-Fi – all automatically. So I was not having to use my data allowance.

I converse with friends via WhatsApp (sent some photos), Facebook messager and some direct messaging on Twitter. So my need to text people now is quite low, so making little inroads into my unlimited texts.

Given these observations, I now question the need for me to have unlimited texts and an 8gb data allowance.

If you are on these tariffs do you also agree?

Switching to the pay-as-you-go without unlimited texts, calls, and 8g data would allow me to save even more.

  1. One last point to highlight, is that once you have finished your contract the phone is yours. So I was able to upgrade my phone to the latest gadget and the opportunity to sell it. Phone stores are happy to do this and there are also providers like,, which offer good prices and a trusted service.

Have you a mobile in the cupboard? Get it out now, it could be worth ££’s

BeeMyMinder and Mobile phones

I set up BeeMyMinder so individuals like me can store agreements securely online and be sent an alert when ready for an upgrade.

It can be confusing when it comes to smartphones, so we provide a page offering tips, helpful links, news items, and a jargon buster (click here).

We have also partnered up with trusted providers like  and  which offer complimentary services like mobile insurance.

Watch out for an upcoming blog on ‘5 tips on getting the best mobile phone contract’.

If you’d like to make a comment, please do. Else let me know via WhatsApp, FB messager, Skype, LinkedIn… you get the idea.

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Nigel Brokenshire


Nigel is the founder of BeeMyMinder. Developed from his own frustrations keeping on top of household/personal finances and dealing with piles of papers and associated documents.