Money Advice Service

A lot of people haven’t used their phone landline service properly for years but need it to get broadband, while others prefer to chat ‘on the phone’, than use a mobile.

Whatever way, the vast majority are stuck with landline payments, but shopping around for the best deal and understanding your tariff is key to cutting the cost of your phone bill.

If you’re someone who has a bundle, or is thinking about bundling up your telecoms to save some money, we have just the guide for you!

Big tip

“Unlimited” phone plans sound great – but check which calls are actually covered. Just landlines? You’ll pay extra every time you call a mobile phone, abroad or on a premium rate number. If it’s an issue, see if you can save with a package including international calls or mobile minutes.

Now that you’ve saved a few quid, we’ve a few ideas that will get you saving. Try them out here.

How long it’ll take: A morning

Equipment needed:

    • Internet access, so you can research and negotiate on price
    • Mobile phone with unlimited data, if you want to avoid having a landline

1. Cut the chat

Some call packages put time limits on free calls at 30 or 60 minutes. If you talk for longer, they start slapping on the charges. Know your limits, and if you’re still in full flow, put the phone down and redial.

2. Pay upfront

If you’ve got the spare cash, it’s usually cheaper to pay a lump sum for a whole year’s line rental, plus you’ll end up with lower monthly payments. Weigh up the benefit against being tied to your provider for another year.

3. Wonders of the web

Cut the cost of calls from your home phone by using the internet instead. Genius!

Take advantage of what the techies call ‘Voice over Internet Protocol’ (VoIP) to make free calls to other VoIP users, or free or cheaper calls to landlines.

Use the likes of Skype, Facetime and MSN Messenger (though with some versions of these you will have to pay) for free calls between two computers, smartphones or tablets.

Install apps like Skype, Viber and Google Talk on your smartphone, for free voice and video calls to people using the same app.

You know what, also think about if you just want to use your mobile and ditch your landline altogether, especially if you only want to use the internet now and then. Your local library can help you get on the web.

Use your head and use your mobile - If you have a mobile phone contract, chances are you aren’t using all your free minutes every month. Instead of picking up the phone to chat, use your mobile instead.

Out of the house during the week? Look for a deal with cheaper calls in the evenings and at weekends, rather than paying for an anytime plan.

Bundle up - Consider a bundle, where you buy your landline and internet (and maybe TV) package all at once. Sometimes these are cheaper options, especially if you include the TV.

Struggling? If you are struggling with money, are on specific benefits or have a certain disability, you may be able to switch to a cheaper social tariff. Talk to your phone provider for details.

If you are on income support, jobseeker’s allowance, Guaranteed pensions credit, income based Employment and Support Allowance, or Universal Credit (with zero earnings), you can get access to a BT Basic account.

BT actually runs at a loss so they can meet their Universal Service commitment by charging as little as £5.10 a month. You can find out everything you need to know on BT’s website.

Know when your contract ends - Check when the end of your contract is to avoid paying hefty termination fees that would make switching uneconomical.

This article is provided by the Money Advice Service.