Never buy an EE, Three or Vodafone contract without checking THESE numbers first

IF you're buying a phone contract, you should double check to see if you're getting good value for money first.

Sometimes pay-monthly phones deals aren't as good as they seem – but there's a quick way to check.

When you buy a phone contract, you're usually paying for the handset itself – as well as a SIM card.

This SIM card gets you certain allowances for call minutes, texts and mobile data.

Some people buy SIM contracts on their own, particularly if they're buying a handset outright.

What's important to check is that you're not paying more for the phone and SIM card as a contract than you would pay together.

If you look hard enough, you can sometimes find deals that are even cheaper than the separate prices combined.

That's important: it's not always cheaper to buy the handset outright.

First, multiply your monthly payments by 24, to find out the full cost over two years.

Then find the two-year cost of a SIM-only plan with the same amount of data – and add on the price of the handset.

Compare the two final figures and see if your contract is cheaper, or far higher.

If it's far higher then it's worth looking around, as it's not too difficult to find phone contracts that come in cheaper than a handset and SIM-only plan.

However, you might still be better off buying a handset outright – especially if you're found a good deal.

For instance, you can often get brilliantly low prices on top phone models if you buy them refurbished.

Look for manufacturer refurbished models that are "like new", and you could keep costs down significantly.

Similarly, you can make great savings just by buying second-hand phones.

Of course, buying a handset outright means a big upfront cost – so always be aware of that.

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