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Two Mobile Plans for Families on a Budget

With youth typically getting their first mobile phone earlier and earlier, and using it for schoolwork, games and entertainment, and staying in touch with parents and siblings, you can hardly say no to a phone anymore. But what you can do as a parent is get creative about bundling the phones and plans of you and your spouse and your kids all onto the same platform, so you pay a better rate for interaction among just these few phones. 

There are a number of different ways to go about getting yourself hooked up with an affordable family plan that’s right for you. O2 offers Your Family Bolt On, a programme allowing one person (the techno head of the family) to pay a small extra fee and then connect themselves and four additional people to be included on the unlimited family plan. Or, if you choose not to go the way of the contract, you can try out FamilyMobile, a basic pay as you go system designed with families in mind, where you can shell out as little as you want and still keep your existing mobile number which allows you to have the phone of your choice

Let’s start with a rundown of O2’s popular option. With Your Family Bolt On, one person on the plan gets charged an extra £7.65 per month, either on top of their monthly bill or added to their Pay & Go top-up charge, for non-contracted customers. They pick four family members - presumed to be already on O2 - to be in the group, and then all five of you get unlimited calls, texts, and picture messages from one to another for the next month. Of course, friends can do this to, to save a bit of cash. You can update or edit the people in your group online through your account, and cancel the service with 30 days notice. Because only one person takes the charge for Bolt On, the fee equals out to only £1.53 per person, with five people in the group. The Extended Bolt On version of the add-on is available for families with more than five people. But, frustratingly, you’ll have to cancel your current Bolt On and re-start with the Extended, if you decide to jump from 5 to more than 5 in your group.

It makes sense to opt with O2’s family plan if you are already with O2 and want to save yourself the hassle of switching to another provider, if you have five or less people on your family plan, if you tend to call and text each other a lot, or if you are otherwise happy with your phone, plan, and service. A switch internally within O2 is pretty simple - just have you or your spouse fill out the online “Choose Bolt On” agreement, or do it over the phone.

FamilyMobile, on the other hand, is ideal for families who use their mobile phones infrequently or mostly for short calls or emergency purposes. It’s great for those who want to avoid the world of contracts and heavy-handed bills altogether, and prefer simple charges per minute or text under just one mobile account. Families who sign up get free SIM cards, and can decide whether they want to keep their old phone number (if they have one) or get a new one. A nice perk is that there is no minimum spending amount, so you can put as little as 5 quid on your automatic top-up, and you’ll never have to fret about running out of credit (as long as you don’t use your phone too often). At the bargain bin prices of 8p a minute for calls, and 4p per UK text, you likely won’t run up too high of a bill. With its Family Budget feature, with lets you set “allowances” on each phone in your family account, you can set limits on how much each person can spend, making it ideal for savvy parents and kids who want simplicity over all. 


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