We all know that sinking feeling: you think that you’ve budgeted well for the month and considered all of your outgoings, only to be faced with a massive phone bill that you just didn’t factor in.

These days, we’re all surgically attached to our mobile phones and everything from using it abroad to going over your data limit can lead to a nasty surprise at the end of the month.

So how can you enjoy your phone without hurting your wallet? Here are a few simple tips to help you save money on your mobile phone bills.

Pay As You Go Phone

The first thing to think about is whether or not you really need a contract phone. We commonly associate pay-as-you-go phones with children and teenagers, and assume that contracts offer better value for money - but dependent on how you use your phone it isn’t always the smartest choice. If you rarely go online and only use your mobile for texts and calls, keep a record of how many minutes and texts you use. If it’s a relatively low amount you could be better off with a network like GiffGaff or Lebara which offers pay-as-you-go SIM cards with deals like free calls and texts to other users. Lebara, and international SIM card to deals on calls to other countries  are available to test out these networks, so you’ve got nothing to lose by giving it a go.

Monitor Phone Usage

If you do have a contract phone, going even slightly over your monthly limit of calls, texts and data allowance can result in high charges. Make sure you don’t run up a massive bill by keeping tabs on how much you’re using your phone. For smart phones, free apps like Stats Free will help you keep track of your monthly usage of calls, texts and data – some of them even allow you to set an alarm so you know when you’ve gone over the limit. If you know you’re going to use more of something than usual one month, or if you are going abroad, check to see if your service provider offers ‘add-on’ services which allow you to buy more talk time, cheap international calls or browsing on a one-off basis.

International SIM Card

Another thing that guarantees you high bills at the end of the month is making international calls. If you have friends or family abroad and spend a lot of time on the phone to them, it can be worth considering a specialist operator that offers deals on calls to other countries. With an international SIM card you can get international calls from as little as 1p a minute, and send texts abroad for just 10p.

Mobile phones are an integral part of our way of life, and look set to be around for a good while yet. So instead of fretting about high phone bills at the end of every month, take a look at how you use your phone and choose the network or tariff that suits you best.

Lebara, and international sim card to deals on calls to other countries