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How to Get a Cheaper Phone Deal

How to Get a Cheaper Phone Deal

These days, most of us hold on to our phones for a long period of time. That’s why when the time rolls around for you to finally upgrade, you may find yourself overwhelmed with the idea of embarking on something different. We understand: you’ve spent two or more years with your chosen service provider, blissfully unaware of the plethora of deals out there that are so much better for your needs. That’s why we’re here to outline some of the ways to get a cheaper phone deal.

Contract Deals

Phone companies offer a huge range of different deals, varying on the limit of data, calls, texts, and other perks. The amount you pay for a contract depends on the make of your phone and what you want from it. It’s easy to get lured into a contract where you receive a free phone, however this may be a 24-month contract that can result in you paying more by the time the contract has finished. Using comparative websites like ComparetheMarket or phone retailers like Smartphone Company allow you to compare different contract deals before you buy, seeing which deal best meets your criteria.

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If you’re on an existing contract, have a look at your current phone bills. These will show you exactly how much of your allowance you actually use, so it may be wise to rethink your needs if you don’t currently use all of your allocated data, minutes, and calls. You can find a cheaper contract package based on what you actually use.

SIM-only Deals

SIM-only deals require a monthly payment for a package deal of mobile data, minutes, and texts. The only difference from a contract is that you don’t get a phone with the deal, just the SIM card. If you want to keep your current phone but improve the price of your monthly bill, this may be an ideal option. If you choose this option, be sure to check which SIM cards your phone is compatible with, as many are blocked from certain networks.

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Network Providers

You’re probably on your current phone network because that’s the one your parents chose for you when you first got a phone but, believe it or not, networks will not give you a better service just because you’ve been with them for ten years. There are a huge selection of networks you can choose from and they do provide slightly different services depending on your needs. It’s worth shopping around to see if there’s a network out there that matches up to your needs.

The network EE (formerly Orange and T-Mobile) is widely known for offering the fastest 4G coverage, so if you’re on the move a lot or working on the go, EE is probably the one for you. If you like to be safe in the knowledge that your network is the most popular, Three is maybe the one for you — it covers 98% of the UK population and offers great deals on 4G. If you like to get a little more bang for your buck in terms of extras, perhaps O2 is the sweetest deal. O2 offers some of the best incentives around and O2 priority offers customers a great deal. If you’re a music fan without a subscription to a music stream service, Vodafone is a good deal as it gives you just that — but only for 6 months. Although a sturdy network, it does little to offer customers much more than that. It’s also worth considering networks like Tesco Mobile (who give you clubcard points on your contract deal), GiffGaff (whose price points are extremely cheap), and Talkmobile (a network with absolutely no frills).

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Mobile Tariffs

Choosing the right mobile tariff can be a minefield, especially when you try and wade through the amounts of minutes, calls, and data each different tariff offers. One of the best ways to try and get the best phone deal is actually to sit down and inspect your current mobile usage. On average, how many texts are you sending each month? How much data are you using? Once you’ve got this figured out, you’ll be able to better assess what exactly it is you need from your mobile tariff.

Most companies offer unlimited texts and calls these days, and as most of us are on either WhatsApp or iMessage anyway, the amount of texts on a tariff rarely has an impact on our choice. Data is probably one of the main things you’ll be worried about and, unfortunately, apps like Instagram, Google Maps, and Facebook can eat up your monthly allowance. It’s better that you don’t use all your given data rather than spending over the limit every month, so add up what you use on average and then give yourself a bit of wiggle room.

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Featured photo credit: The Bubble via bubblear.com

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Last Updated on February 15, 2019

7 Tools to Help Keep Track of Goals and Habits Effectively

7 Tools to Help Keep Track of Goals and Habits Effectively

Now that 2011 is well underway and most people have fallen off the bandwagon when it comes to their New Year’s resolutions (myself included), it’s a good time to step back and take an honest look at our habits and the goals that we want to achieve.

Something that I have learned over the past few years is that if you track something, be it your eating habits, exercise, writing time, work time, etc. you become aware of the reality of the situation. This is why most diet gurus tell you to track what you eat for a week so you have an awareness of the of how you really eat before you start your diet and exercise regimen.

Tracking daily habits and progress towards goals is another way to see reality and create a way for you clearly review what you have accomplished over a set period of time. Tracking helps motivate you too; if I can make a change in my life and do it once a day for a period of time it makes me more apt to keep doing it.

So, if you have some goals and habits in mind that need tracked, all you need is a tracking tool. Today we’ll look at 7 different tools to help you keep track of your habits and goals.

Joe’s Goals

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    Joe’s Goals is a web-based tool that allows users to track their habits and goals in an easy to use interface. Users can add as many goals/habits as they want and also check multiple times per day for those “extra productive days”. Something that is unique about Joe’s Goals is the way that you can keep track of negative habits such as eating out, smoking, etc. This can help you visualize the good things that you are doing as well as the negative things that you are doing in your life.

    Joe’s Goals is free with a subscription version giving you no ads and the “latest version” for $12 a year.

    Daytum

      Daytum

      is an in depth way of counting things that you do during the day and then presenting them to you in many different reports and groups. With Daytum you can add several different items to different custom categories such as work, school, home, etc. to keep track of your habits in each focus area of your life.

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      Daytum is extremely in depth and there are a ton of settings for users to tweak. There is a free version that is pretty standard, but if you want more features and unlimited items and categories you’ll need Daytum Plus which is $4 a month.

      Excel or Numbers

        If you are the spreadsheet number cruncher type and the thought of using someone else’s idea of how you should track your habits turns you off, then creating your own Excel/Numbers/Google spreadsheet is the way to go. Not only do you have pretty much limitless ways to view, enter, and manipulate your goal and habit data, but you have complete control over your stuff and can make it private.

        What’s nice about spreadsheets is you can create reports and can customize your views in any way you see fit. Also, by using Dropbox, you can keep your tracker sheets anywhere you have a connection.

        Evernote

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          I must admit, I am an Evernote junky, mostly because this tool is so ubiquitous. There are several ways you can implement habit/goal tracking with Evernote. You won’t be able to get nifty reports and graphs and such, but you will be able to access your goal tracking anywhere your are, be it iPhone, Android, Mac, PC, or web. With Evernote you pretty much have no excuse for not entering your daily habit and goal information as it is available anywhere.

          Evernote is free with a premium version available.

          Access or Bento

            If you like the idea of creating your own tracker via Excel or Numbers, you may be compelled to get even more creative with database tools like Access for Windows or Bento for Mac. These tools allow you to set up relational databases and even give you the option of setting up custom interfaces to interact with your data. Access is pretty powerful for personal database applications, and using it with other MS products, you can come up with some pretty awesome, in depth analysis and tracking of your habits and goals.

            Bento is extremely powerful and user friendly. Also with Bento you can get the iPhone and iPad app to keep your data anywhere you go.

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            You can check out Access and the Office Suite here and Bento here.

            Analog Bonus: Pen and Paper

            All these digital tools are pretty nifty and have all sorts of bells and whistles, but there are some people out there that still swear by a notebook and pen. Just like using spreadsheets or personal databases, pen and paper gives you ultimate freedom and control when it comes to your set up. It also doesn’t lock you into anyone else’s idea of just how you should track your habits.

            Conclusion

            I can’t necessarily recommend which tool is the best for tracking your personal habits and goals, as all of them have their quirks. What I can do however (yes, it’s a bit of a cop-out) is tell you that the tool to use is whatever works best for you. I personally keep track of my daily habits and personal goals with a combo Evernote for input and then a Google spreadsheet for long-term tracking.

            What this all comes down to is not how or what tool you use, but finding what you are comfortable with and then getting busy with creating lasting habits and accomplishing short- and long-term goals.

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