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Should you buy a PAYG or contract for your teen at Christmas?.... Blog Discussion

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Should you buy a PAYG or contract for your teen at Christmas?.... Blog Discussion

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MSE_ArchnaMSE_Archna Former MSE
1.9K posts
MSE Staff
This is the discussion to link on the back of Martin's "Should you buy a PAYG or contract for your teen at Christmas?....." blog. Please read the blog first, as the discussion follows it.



  • Clearly, contracts offer you better rates per call. But how many calls do you need to make before you start to claw back your £20 a month contract fee?

    I, for one, only spend about £5 a month on my PAYG phone. What is the minimum contract fee? And how do such cheap contracts compare to PAYG rates?

    Secondly, PAYG encourages you to spend less time on the phone and, therefore, less money. (I rarely hear those with contract phones say they have to keep it quick before their credit runs out.)

    So, if you don't need to use the phone much, or are on a very tight budget, I'd suggest that PAYG might help you spend less even though the individual minutes cost more.

    And that applies to adults as well as kids ;)

  • spookspook Forumite
    233 posts
    I agree Andy - I never spend more then £10/month, so why would I ever go for a contract that costs more than that?

    I don't get why "the best contract mobile packages are substantially cheaper than the best Pay-As-You-Go packages" - surely that's a huge oversimplification, or is everyone using their phones waaay more than I am? :o
  • piper5piper5 Forumite
    2.4K posts
    it depends, if you think about it, on PAYG it is around 35p a minute to call other networks, this is depending though on network, and obviously the different PAYG tarriffs and promotions. on PAYg this works out around 85 minutes in total (thats not including texts).
    depending again on provider pay monthly does get you more for your money, so they do work out better value for money. orange do one at the minute which is 325 minutes (AT/AN) 150 landline and 150 texts so i think it works out better value, plus free phone??? plus free orange broadband!!
    The places i have been so far: Palma, Tunis, Rome, Corsica, St.Raphael, Naples, Pompeii, Barcelona, Villefranche, Ajaccio, Livorno, Genoa, Madiera, Martinique, St Maartens, St Kitts, St Vincents, Dominica, Barbados, Antigua, Tortola, Jealous anyone????? :T
  • Yep, and most teens seem to communicate only by text anyway. Mine spends about a fiver a month on her mobile - on Tesco Mobile - which at 3p/text gives her about 170 texts a month.

    Having said that; she'd love to have the capability of using it more, and I'm thinking of taking out a cashback contract (see eg it's possible to get a full year's contract for nothing. (Yes there's some risk attached - you have to jump through hoops to get your cashback, and if dealer goes bust during the year you're up the creek; however I've done them for years myself and never got burned).
  • MSE_MartinMSE_Martin MoneySaving Expert
    8.3K posts
    Hi folks - as for contracts cost £20. They don't actually most cashback deals, can bring it down to just a quid or two. Remember we're talking the top deals here.

    Also we're talking teens, who dream of using the phone much more than for a few quid a month :)

    Martin Lewis, Money Saving Expert.
    Please note, answers don't constitute financial advice, it is based on generalised journalistic research. Always ensure any decision is made with regards to your own individual circumstance.
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  • yeslekyeslek Forumite
    1.4K posts
    there are a lot of sims that offer 300 free text a month for a min £5 top up, so thats £30 of text each month right of, making a total for £40 credit for just £10.

    for a teen that should be plenty. it used to be for me, i always had credit and barely topped up my phone more than once in a month.
  • Edinburghlass_2Edinburghlass_2 Forumite
    32.7K posts
    10,000 Posts Combo Breaker
    I've read far too many stories on the Mobile board of parents having to pay large amounts when teens run up huge bills on a contract phone.

    Admitedly its usually for older teens rather than that first mobile for the teen heading off to high school but I would still ensure that its a PAYG and the teens' responsibility to pay the bills.
  • Being a teenager (18) myself who has a contract phone which my mum pays for. In the 2 years I've had it the only time I have had an excessive bill is when I was abroad. I don't know how I'd cope now on pay as you go topping up every week etc. I always reset the counters on my phone when the bill comes so I can track how I'm doing each month. Plus there is never the problem of never having any credit so can't call home etc.
  • jb66jb66 Forumite
    1.7K posts
    Part of the Furniture 1,000 Posts Name Dropper Combo Breaker
    I reccomend pay and go, ive seen friends rack bills up to 50 pound a month, its so easy to top up, cash machines, shops, online, over the phone. also if you get an o2 sim online, you can get well over 300 free txt!
  • £50 a month? I have two friends that regularly have bills in excess of £100 a month! In fact he once had a bill of £200!!
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