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Over the past fifteen months, the COVID-19 pandemic has changed a lot of things about the UK. People are keeping in touch digitally more often than before, working from home has become the new normal, and everybody’s wearing a face covering. Throughout the pandemic, finances were one of the main areas where people in the UK were affected, with job uncertainty and the furlough scheme leaving employees earning a little less and with no idea as to when they might be able to go back to work. As a result, many of us have had to become savvier with our spending habits to make sure that we’re able to get through any financial difficulties caused by the pandemic. Smartphones have been essential throughout the crisis for many things including keeping in touch with loved ones in a safe way, working, entertainment, and keeping up to date with the news – but has COVID-19 changed our attitude towards our smartphones, how we use them and how we buy them?

Necessity Rather Than a Luxury

Up until 2020, many people still saw a smartphone as a luxury item – until COVID-19 hit, when many began to realise just how cut off from their friends and loved ones they would be without one. Attitudes towards smartphones as an essential rather than a luxury have been shifting over the years, but the pandemic seemed to solidify that for many people around the world, who realised just how much they rely on their smartphone every day. Because of this, the way that many people view buying a new smartphone has changed. Connectivity to others is likely to be a key feature that people will search for when buying a smartphone, rather than getting their hands on the latest model or the model with the most modern features. Great front cameras for video calling, battery life, and unlimited minute plans were definitely ‘needs’ during the lockdown. 

Refurbished and Second-Hand Phones

Money was tight for many during the early months of the pandemic, and some are still feeling the pinch fifteen months later. This has meant cutting back expenses and looking to save money wherever possible, including when it comes to getting a new smartphone. Refurbished and second-hand smartphones are an ideal way to save money and throughout the pandemic, have offered a cheaper alternative to brand-new for anybody who was in need of a new phone but didn’t want to pay full price. It’s likely that people will be rethinking the need to get their hands on the latest phone handset for the sake of it, instead being more drawn to slightly older, preloved handsets that work just as well, allowing them to get a great smartphone at a much cheaper price. 

SIM Only Plans

Traditionally, you might sign up to two years’ worth of monthly payments when getting a new smartphone. But the COVID-19 pandemic made a difficult truth very clear to many; you simply don’t know what is going to be around the corner. No matter how great a position you might be in when it comes to committing to making monthly payments of £50 for two years, you don’t know if you’re going to be in the same position a year later. As a result, the pandemic may have changed the way that some people approach signing up for anything that requires a financial commitment. After all, you don’t know if things are going to suddenly change, and it be completely out of your control. Many SIM only deals don’t require a credit check and won’t show up on your credit file, meaning that if you’re ever in a position where you can’t afford a month, there’s absolutely no need to worry about anything. They give you full control and mean that your smartphone no longer has to be a financial priority. 

Environmental Concerns

COVID-19 also highlighted some environmental concerns, with many noting how clearer the air felt and how nature seemed to bloom more when everybody was staying at home with very few vehicles on the roads. As a result, this got more people talking about the environment and thinking about the impact that they have on it. Consumerism is one of the biggest threats to the environment today, especially when consumer attitudes are all centred around getting the latest things – and getting them brand new. Recycling and reusing to make sure that we are getting the most out of our products or passing them on to somebody else who can make use of them is likely to become more commonplace. Refurbished handsets do this well, by taking unwanted smartphones and allowing them to continue being useful to somebody else rather than ending up in a landfill. 

Making Money

Throughout the pandemic, many people found themselves with additional time on their hands to look for new ways to make money. Some people started businesses, others began freelancing, while some spent more time on hobbies and crafts to turn them into an income-generating activity instead of something that they do just for fun. Others decided to turn their smartphone-scrolling time into a way to earn some cash, and discovered the many different and sometimes surprising way that you can make money from your smartphone today. 

If you are scrolling aimlessly through social media and wondering if there is anything better you could be doing on your phone, you’ll be glad to hear that the answer is, ‘yes’. Survey sites, paid rewards, and earning cashback on your necessary purchases are just some options. You can also earn cash online from your phone if you’re using Lebara. Lebara refer a friend allows you to earn money from home with their refer program by paying you a reward each time you successfully bring someone over to the network. With plans starting at just £5 per month, no commitments to pay, no credit checks and great service from the award-winning Vodafone network, it’s a great way to earn money from home by reaching out to anyone you know who might be looking to save some cash. 

Flexibility Needs

One of the biggest things that has been highlighted by the COVID-19 pandemic is our need for flexibility. People have realised that they work much better when they are able to work flexibly, enjoying better mental health, a happier home life and more productivity at work. And when it comes to money, people also want things to be as flexible as possible. Being able to choose how much to spend in a certain month, for example, will work far better for a lot of people compared to being obliged to pay a certain amount regardless of how much they have used their smartphone. For example, many people found themselves with tons of data left over at the end of each month since they were at home and connected to Wi-Fi – with no reimbursement for what they’ve paid for but didn’t use. With a SIM-only deal, you can easily review your usage and change it on a monthly basis depending on what you need right now. 

Smartphones kept us all connected during the COVID-19 pandemic and the 2020 lockdowns. As a result, the way we think about buying and using our smartphones is likely to have changed in many ways. 

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