Mobile phones never used to be a concern for families as when they first came out they tended to only be issued by companies and be used for business purposes. However, now they are commonplace and it is likely that most adults and older children will all have a phone. With those phones come costs, such as the cost of the phones themselves and the contracts or pay as you go costs too. These can really add up, particularly if you are a big family and you may even find yourself borrowing money to pay for it, so it is good to have a think about how to keep those costs down.
Do not always have the latest phones
It can be so tempting to keep updating your phone. If you have children, then you can use them as a way of justifying doing this as well, by telling yourself that if you pass your old phone to them then they can gain from you getting a new phone too. However, you need to be really honest with yourself and think about whether you really need the latest phone. Before the phones hit the shelves, they are already out of date with regards to the technology, so you will never be able to keep up. You will also have the problem of many of the updates being features that you will not use anyway. So, be careful and do not give in to the marketing. Make sure the phone you have does what you need it to rather than what you want and that you are not fooled into thinking you need functions on it that you do not really need.
Use wi-fi and free messenger services at home
If you have broadband at home then make sure that you make use of the wi-fi on your phones. Not only should you make sure that you are always using the home broadband that you have already paid for, but that you try to minimise calls and text messages when in the home too. You should be able to use messenger apps instead which you can send using the broadband. You may have free calls, data and texts for your phone on your contract, but try to save them for when you are out and about. If you can reduce them significantly then you might be able to reduce your contract to a cheaper one or go onto pay as you go instead, which can be cheaper if you use the phone minimally.
Decide whether land line is necessary
If you have a landline phone at home, then it is worth deciding whether it is really necessary. You will be paying a line rental charge as well as call charges for it. It is good to find out exactly how much you are paying. Then work out whether, if you swapped to making calls on mobile phones instead, perhaps making use of free calls you are allocated, this could be cheaper. Obviously, you will need to consider the cost to people that call you. If you have a lot of people call you on the landline, they may not like the idea that they might have to pay more money to call you if they can only contact you on a mobile. However, you might be able to use online free calling apps or video calls on your phone with them instead.
See if you can get a family deal
If there are lots of you all using the same phone company, it might be possible for you to get a family deal. Even if you cannot do this, then all being with the same company could be handy as it is likely that it will be cheaper for you to contact each other if you are with the same provider. It is worth looking into this and seeing whether you could get the costs down. If you cannot do this then perhaps setting a phone budget within the family could help you all to make sure that you are not spending more than you can afford. You may have to sit the children down and explain carefully why this is necessary.
Make the children pay for their own
If things are getting too pricey then it might be a good idea to get the children to pay for their own phones. This could mean that you take some money from their pocket money to pay for it or you make them pay for it out of their wages. It will obviously depend on the age of the child. If they are old enough for a phone, then it is likely that they are old enough to get pocket money. If you do not give them pocket money, then it can be a good idea to make them do some jobs around the house to pay you for the phone costs.