How to use your smartphone if you’re feeling the pinch.
Lockdown has brought with it a new way of life for the UK. While the end might be somewhat in sight, we’ve still got a long way to go. Many of us been able to work from home. For those who haven’t, the furlough scheme means that we can receive 80% of our usual wage.
But a few people aren’t eligible for either, which is where things begin to get tricky. If you started a new job after 28th February 2020, for example, or had only been self-employed for a couple of months before the nationwide lockdown began, you might be struggling to maintain your usual income. While Universal Credit is available to those who are unable to work as normal and aren’t eligible for furlough during the COVID19 lockdown, it’s definitely a huge dent in income for many as this benefit is only designed to cover the bare essentials.
If you’re getting through lockdown on a massively reduced income, scaling back on your spending is probably a priority. The good news is that there are several things you can do to cut back your expenses during this time. Many of them might even continue benefitting you financially after the lockdown is lifted. If you’re like most people, you might be spending a lot of money on your smartphone.
1. Downgrade your phone contract
Smartphones are getting pricier and pricier. For those who have a smartphone contract, it can be a rather large expense each month. It’s not unusual for some newer handsets to be in the range of £60 or more monthly. This might be fine when you’re earning your usual salary, but not so great if you’re living on a reduced income. And, chances are, if you’re at home all day, you can use your Wi-Fi for most of the things you need, like video calling or instant messaging. You can even use WhatsApp or Facebook messenger to make voice calls. So if you only need to get in touch with friends and family, you probably don’t need a lot of minutes, texts, and data.
What you can do depends on your current situation. If you’re still locked into your contract and have some time to go, then you’ll still be accountable for paying it. However, you might be able to get in touch with your smartphone provider and see what options they have available. They may be able to put you on a cheaper tariff for the time being or even freeze your payments until you are earning your regular income.
Another option is to consider a SIM-only contract. This is ideal if you have paid off your smartphone contract and aren’t tied in for 24 months. Lebara SIM only deals are ideal since it’s just £5 for 2GB of data and 1,000 minutes and texts. They have a range of SIM only deals to choose from including unlimited data, minutes, and texts for just £25, and you can change each month by browsing the best SIM only deals for your current needs on the Lebara website.
2. Downgrade your smartphone
Do you really need your flashy iPhone 11? Of course, you love it. But if it’s going to cause you a financial headache then it might be worth considering downgrading. If you’ve got a newer smartphone handset, you can often get a lot of money selling it on eBay, Gumtree, Facebook Marketplace, or even to a company like Music Magpie, which buys used tech to refurbish and sell on. Just remember that if you are going to sell your smartphone to another individual, be sure to follow social distancing rules at the point of sale, as you don’t want to put your health at risk in the process!
Selling your current handset might not be the nicest thing you’ll ever have to do. But if you really need the extra cash, it can be a great way to make some, fast. And, you can find some really nice refurbished handsets at a fraction of the price that you’d pay for them brand new. You’ll still make a decent amount of money from selling your iPhone 11 and getting an iPhone X, for example. You won’t have to take a massive hit in terms of the functionality of your phone and what you can do with it.
3. Make money from your phone
If these options are out of the question, you could consider ways to make money from your phone. The good news is that there are plenty of apps that you can download to make money from watching videos, taking surveys, and even playing games. Definitely worth considering if you’re at home with nothing to do during the lockdown.
Some of the best apps for making money from your smartphone include:
- Job Spotter: This is a handy app that pays you for spotting job advertisements posted in shop windows. You submit them to the app, where they are then listed on Indeed. With more people using essential shops than ever before, now’s a great time to be on the lookout for any local businesses that are in need of extra help. All you need to do is take a photo of the job advertisement and upload it to the app. You’ll be rewarded in points, which you can collect and turn into vouchers or cash.
- Roamler: This app pays you for performing shopping tasks, ideal if you are going out for essential supplies. You’ll need to perform some unpaid tasks before you can start earning cash to demonstrate your commitment. Then, typically, your tasks will involve taking photos of products in supermarkets and answering some questions about stock availability.
- Toluna: If you enjoy taking surveys and answering questions about potential new products and services then Toluna is an ideal app for you. The surveys typically take around 15-20 minutes to complete. You will be rewarded in points for each successful survey you complete. These points can then be cashed out in the form of PayPal credit or gift cards.