Stop Paying For Data You Don’t Need!


One of the ways I keep my mobile phone bill as small as possible is by physically turning off my data. Thanks to GiffGaff I’m already paying a minimal amount, but by physically turning my data off unless I specifically need to use it, I can stick to a £5 Goodybag each and every month. It only takes seconds and it saves me between £2.50 to £5 every, single month. That’s £30-£60 a year kept in my pocket. This is the perfect example of minimalism in practice – only using what you need and keeping things really, really simple.

On an iPhone, like mine – you simply need to go into settings and turn mobile data off. This stops your phone eating your data allowance if you’ve gone out of WiFi range. How many times has that happened to you when you’ve been watching a video or something else data heavy? Do you have any easy money-saving, minimalist tips like this?

The cheapest way to own a Smartphone

I have just started the 4th year of owning my iPhone 5s 32gb. It’s holding up well and I hope to get another couple of years out of it. I thought a bit differently when purchasing my phone and I believe this is the cheapest way to own a Smartphone.

I purchased my phone outright from the manufacturer, Apple. It was unlocked, so I wasn’t tied to any network and this meant I was free to select the cheapest deal. I had read great things about GiffGaff and a family member had been with them for a couple of years, so they were able to benefit from me switching too (as GiffGaff is run by its members, they pay you for introducing new people). I chose a 30 day, rolling SIM contract which I am free to change each month to suit my usage. Best of all GiffGaff email you with details of your best plan, or you can switch to Pay-As-You-Go at any time.

So, let’s crunch the numbers.

  • Upfront cost of unlocked handset £524.17
  • I’m currently on their lowest priced bundle, paying just £5 a month for calls, texts and data.

The //” target=”_blank”>iPhone cost, split over 4 years works out at £10.92 per month, so with the bundle on top I’m paying just £15.92 per month. £191.04 per year and that’s £764.16 over 4 years, not a lot more than the cost of the phone! O2 were the cheapest nearest competitor when I was purchasing, but buying outright won hands down on a new phone.

O2 are still selling the //” target=”_blank”>iPhone 5s, but only a 16gb model and they want £15 a month for that, plus £9.99 upfront. They’ll also tie you in for 2 years. But, it’s not really a fair comparison as I bought the newest model. So, let’s say you want an //” target=”_blank”>iPhone 7 the minimum cost is £45.00 a month (on the cheapest data package!), plus £9.99 upfront. You’ll be paying £1090 over the 2 years they’ll tie you in for. Then you’ll probably have to pay someone to unlock it, if you want to move away.

You’ll only pay £599 to buy the same phone outright, unlocked direct from Apple. So let’s compare that over 2 years for a fair comparison, adding £5 a month for your basic bundle. £719 is your cost of ownership, saving yourself an enormous £371! More if you keep your phone for longer, as there will be absolutely no need to upgrade it. But if you’re a serial upgrader for whatever reason, then you’ll still get a decent trade-in/ re-sale price for your phone. So my advice, if you want to do this (or for anyone really) is to buy a screen protector and great case so you keep your phone in pristine condition!

You don’t have to purchase an //” target=”_blank”>iPhone, to be honest – I probably wouldn’t again. My other have has an Android phone, a //” target=”_blank”>Motorola ‘Moto G’ and it’s been very good. We bought it outright on Amazon for £160 a couple of years ago, plus £11 on a //” target=”_blank”>memory card. Although it hasn’t been quite as reliable, it broke once and had to go away to be repaired. But you can expand the memory.

I might even go so far as to suggest that you might want to put some of the cost of buying a phone outright on a credit card, if you can’t wait to save up (which is what I would advise), since you can see how great your savings are! GiffGaff also sell phones now, which they didn’t when we were buying and I would imagine they have a competitive offering. If you would like to sign-up to get GiffGaffed, then you and I will both receive £10 credit – twice as much as usual. This great deal only lasts until 31st January 2017, so you’d better get moving!

My final word on this subject – don’t forget to go through a cashback site, wherever you decide to purchase from!

Branching out

I’ve just returned from a break away which has allowed me to get a fresh perspective on things. I’ve decided to branch out a little in my Minimalist and Zero Waste ramblings. Aside from minimising and trying to be zero waste as much as is possible, I also try to simplify my life in other ways. I’ve been self-employed for a number of years now and alongside this, I supplement my income with earning money online. Not only does this allow me to work more flexibly which is great, as I live with a long-term health condition; it also makes our household finances go further.

I know life shouldn’t be focused on money, but sadly as everything is SO expensive in the UK- we do need to factor it in! I reckon you need around £10,000 per year, just to live in the UK- that pays for food, living expenses, taxes and so on. I’m hoping to show you how you can work for yourself, no matter what your skill set and therefore, have more time to spend doing the things you love. You know, the things that are really meaningful to you- whether that be travelling or simply being able to cook more from scratch (that’s my bag, right there!)

I’m going to start sharing a myriad of ways you can reduce your household expenditure, whilst hopefully still maintaining your Minimalist/ Zero Waste values. Today I’m going to cover how we dramatically reduced our mobile phone bills, by at least half! No-one in this household is bothered about having the latest or greatest technology and I don’t need to start on the ethical dilemmas that come with tech like phones. A family member introduced us to a company called GiffGaff (this post will only be relevant to my UK readers, sorry!)

GiffGaff are a cooperative, which means they are owned and run by their members. I’m all for cooperatives, we use them for our food (as much as possible) and our energy. I’d happily use them for more too! Although GiffGaff have now branched out, they still off great SIM-only deals. We pay just £5 per month for our phones- calls, texts and data. We use our own SIM-free phones which we bought outright from the start (separately). We both tend to keep phones for around 6 years, or until they break! The SIM-only deals mean you have a 30-day rolling contract and you can change your bundle every month, if your usage changes. The bundles are called Goodybags and you can choose from the full range on their website. Now they are even more flexible and if you run out part way through the month, you can simply queue up your next Goodybag immediately. If £5 a month is more than you need to be spending, then just opt for a Pay-As-You-Go plan and spend as much, or as little as you need.

GiffGaff use the O2 Network and we’ve had much better reception all over the UK, than with our previous mobile phone provider Orange/EE. Every technical query under the sun is covered on their website and honestly, we’ve barely had a problem between us in the nearly 4 years we’ve been with them. If you need to, they do have special agents who can help you with more serious problems and I’ve found them to be great.

The great stuff is that no-one is pressuring you to upgrade, no-one is trying to up-sell you a package and their pries are LOW. If you want to experience the GiffGaff love, then you can sign up using my link: and we’ll each get £5 airtime credit as a bonus.

I’m under no pressure to tell you about them, I just want you to start saving some serious cash. Prior to this, I think we were both spending £15 a month on our phones- so we’re saving £120 a year, EACH! Surely that’s part of being Minimalist and Zero Waste- only paying for what you need and that goes for everything in life. I like to think about how much money we could all be giving to charity, if we didn’t waste so much supporting big corporations, but that’s another topic for another day.