Escape the upgrade cycle. Ditch the contract.

Come. Come here. Get close to the screen. I need to tell you a secret. If you’re using a mobile phone right now, and you’re on a contract, listen up. I’m guessing that you’re probably paying £40, £50, maybe more per month. Right?

Why are you doing that? Why? Is it because you called your provider and they offered you a deal on a shiny new handset? Did they dangle a lovely orange carrot and say, “Hey, we’ll do you a deal”, but then the cost started creeping up as the months went by?

I’m with you. I did the same once. Breaking up with my network wasn’t easy either. I was tempted, but hey – I fibbed a bit and told them that I was moving to a work contract and I no longer needed my personal mobile. The deed was done.

Then you’re free. You can shop around. You can go SIM-only if you want too. If you’ve been on one provider giving a 3G signal and want 4G with additional data, you can. Just unlock your phone and set yourself free. Hey, you can even get in touch with the network who provided you with your previous contract phone and they’ll usually unlock it for free. Boom!

My wife was paying £57 per month for her contract. I though that was a lot, so when we reduced the cost we started looking at the cost of a phone for our son. In these long summer evenings he’s “playing out”, so we started looking at refurbished phones so that we can keep in touch. He’s adamant that he wants a new iPhone but – how do I say this diplomatically? There’s a disparity between his wants and what he’ll actually receive.

Some of the deals I’ve found so far

So, I’m on the hunt for a reconditioned iPhone. There’s a number of places to get these from. As an example, Envirofone are selling the 6S for £169.99 and you can pay for the phone monthly via PayPal credit. That works out at £15.40, and with a fairly cheap SIM-only deal (I’m working on a budget of £6 max because I’m tight), I could get a Plusnet 1.5GB data allowance and the phone for £21.40 per month. Oh, and that’s over 12 months, not 24. You can pay for the phone over 6 months if you want, and get the cost of the handset out of the way quickly so that the monthly reoccurring cost for the airtime is all you’re left with. Boom.

Meanwhile, other retailers to consider include eBay, Amazon, Music Magpie, Argos, Carphone Warehouse, Quick Mobile Fix, Handtec, CeX and Look for monthly payments on these if you’re a bit short on cash right now.

Other things to remember? The quality grades!

Grade A – appears new or has only very minor signs of handling or wear.

Grade B – may have scratches, chips or other forms of light cosmetic damage.

Grade C – will show signs of wear; expect the product to look used.

If you want to just stick a case on your potential refurbished phone, then a Grade C could be ideal, and it’ll be cheaper. Lastly, consider the warranty. If the phone develops a problem then it falls to whoever did the refurbishment. Check before you buy!