In the past couple of years, smartphones have become a major expense for most South African households. Many of us not only want the latest and greatest gadget, but also enough data and talk time to keep in contact with our friends and family.
If you use your phone often, you might find yourself paying large amounts to your mobile phone bill each month. Luckily, we’ve got some handy tips to help you spend less and enjoy all the fun a great mobile phone offers.
If you want your financial life to improve, you have to be willing to stretch yourself in ways you never have before. Are you trying to get out of debt? Do you want to save money for an emergency fund, vehicle, or vacation? Whatever your financial goal, one of the best ways to reach it faster is to find ways to reduce your spending. 


Use Wi-Fi when you can.

Try to stay on a Wi-Fi connection whenever it’s available—especially at home or work. And if you don’t have Wi-Fi access when you’re on the go, be smart about it! Don’t download or stream any movies, podcasts or music unless you’re on Wi-Fi.
Those fees for using too much data can add up quickly, and some providers charge you as much as R1 a meg the instant you go over. Make sure you stay within your monthly limit by only using cellular data (4G/LTE) when you need it. Some carriers will send you a warning when you’re getting close to your limit. Sign up for those alerts!

Limit your background data use.

In South Africa, data can be very expensive – and that’s why a great way to save money off your phone bill is to be data savvy. This means that your phone will only be able to connect to the internet and download certain messages or items once you’ve turned its mobile network connection back on.
Even if you don’t use the internet when you’re out and about, your apps might still be using it in the background. Sneaky, we know.
Go into your settings and look over the Cellular Data Usage and Background App Refresh of each app and turn off the ones you don’t really use. Making this quick flip means you’ll know they aren’t running in the background. Draining your data (and your battery) while you’re minding your own business.
You can turn on cellular data for a specific app anytime you want. And remember that it isn’t free to make WhatsApp calls. Instead of using your call minutes, you’ll instead be using your mobile data.

Skip the phone upgrade

Cell phone companies know how to make money—lots and lots of money. One way they do that is through contracts. To buy a phone through them, you’ll usually have to sign a two-year or even three-year contract to use their network. And then they’ll hit you with a ridiculous cancellation charge if you try to switch carriers.
Your smartphone is built to last more than two years, but most people still trade up after 24 months. Doing so locks you into another 18 to 24 months of payments for that new phone. Keeping your smartphone for even a year after it’s paid off can save you hundreds of rands. So, wait until your phone truly needs to be replaced before upgrading.

Consider Family Share Plans

If you live with one or more family members, you will likely save by switching to a family share plan. Sharing data allowance is less of an issue if you are using Wi-Fi whenever possible and have chosen your data allowance carefully.
Most of the South African service providers have specials. You will see that you get things like family-to-family discounts. When you review your monthly bill, see which numbers you phone the most. There are always some special discounts available due to the strong competition between all the service providers.

The Bottom Line

When you’re trying to improve your budget, it’s critical to find ways to control your spending. There may be some conveniences you’re willing to cut altogether. Yet you can’t cut all expenses from your life.
Of course, just because you can’t cut an expense, like your cell phone bill, doesn’t mean you should ignore it. Lowering the cost of your cell phone bill can help you find more money to put toward the financial goals that matter most to you. Repeat this process in other areas of your budget, and these small changes can add up to something exciting in time.

A financial detox is the process of giving your wallet some room to breathe. It’s pressing reset on your spending habits. And it’s being more intentional about how you view and relate to money

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