Phone data is there for you when Wi-Fi isn’t. Unfortunately, the convenience of data comes at a price. Unlike Wi-Fi, data isn’t able to feed your social media addiction free of charge. On average, phone plans with 500MB of data cost around $85. That’s excluding fees that are given when the monthly data plan is exceeded. Expenses for going over your data plan limit can add up. Most carriers will charge up to $15 per extra gigabyte. If you’re a frequent data user, it’s important to understand these costs.
If you’re currently receiving the inevitable “Turn off your data, you’ve gone over your limit” text message from your parents each month, you’ve come to the right place. You can avoid these unwanted costs and data-related text messages by checking out the tips below:
1. Monitor your data usage
Like a full tank of gas, knowing you have a whole month of unused data ahead of you can feel comforting. Unlike a gas tank, there isn’t a light or beep to alert you when you’re running low on your remaining data. Luckily, there are tools available that can do this for you (though they don’t involve beeping). Knowing how much data you have available each month is a good place to start. This can be found on your bill or by signing into your account. Also, there are apps that can monitor your data, provide you with detailed records of your usage, and send you alerts to warn you about going over your limit.
2. Connect to Wi-Fi
It may seem obvious, but it’s important to connect to Wi-Fi whenever possible. Sometimes, you may have your Wi-Fi connection turned off without realizing it. Avoid sabotaging yourself by making sure it’s always on.
3. Repeat Step 2
Connecting to Wi-Fi is the single best alternative to using data. Take advantage of coffee shops, bookstores, and other free Wi-Fi hotspots. It may seem hard to find Wi-Fi in public places, but it’s more available than you think.
4. Be careful when streaming media
One of the biggest data guzzlers is streaming media or music. It’s easy to fall victim to this when you’re in the car and the same three songs playing on the radio have lost their appeal. However, if you get in the habit of streaming, be sure to monitor your usage carefully. Remember, silent car rides are always an option.
5. Avoid data roaming when abroad
If you plan on vacationing in a different country, an additional phone charge for roaming is probably not the type of souvenir you hope to bring back. Unless you turn off data roaming in the settings option of your phone, you will be charged. This happens when your phone connects to other wireless carrier networks for data usage. It’s important to check with your carrier for more information about international roaming fees and any plans that are available before travelling.
6. Turn off your data
If you’ve made it this far down the list, your best bet is to turn off your data altogether. You can do this in the settings of your phone. You can also view which apps eat up the most data and control them individually. It’s a good idea to turn off any option on your phone that enables Wi-Fi assistance as well. Then, you can be sure that you won’t go over your limit.