Data: nobody likes using it, but free and secure Wi-Fi can be hard to find.Without, you’re forced to mete out data by the megabyte, using it only when you need to check a map or settle an argument with Wikipedia. Despite your best efforts, it’s easy to go over your data. Like the last time you left the house streaming the latest episode of This American Life podcast. If you weren’t sweating when you realized you had your data on mid-episode, then you were when you received the bill, bloated with overage charges.
The wireless carriers will want you to upgrade your plan to include unlimited data, but there’s a less expensive option. Rather than paying more on your monthly bill, you can cut down your data usage by following these simple tips. Once you reduce your data usage, savings on your monthly bill will follow.
Step One: Get to Know Your Habits
According to the NPD Group, the average person uses 2.9 GB of data each month.It’s okay if you aren’t sure how you measure up. Your phone keeps a tally of your data usage in an aptly named “Data Usage” tab under settings. Here you’ll find how much data you use during each billing cycle. It also shows you a breakdown of how much data each app uses.
By reviewing this section over multiple billing cycles, you can get a better understanding of how you use your data. More importantly, it will highlight any apps that represent the worst culprits for data usage, so you know which ones you need to be careful with.
Step Two: Understand How and When Apps Use Data
Whether you’re a data aficionado or mobile luddite, you’re probably aware certain apps naturally use more data than others. Those apps that stream audio or video are likely known to you as data guzzlers. What you might not know is how other apps use data and whether they drain it just as quickly. Use a guide like this one to help you learn how much data common apps use.
Step Three: Make Some Changes
Once you’re aware of how much each app is using, you can make some tweaks to your behavior to limit your usage. While eliminating video steaming is a great way to reduce your data usage, it’s not the only way you can prevent going over your limit. You can customize how and when certain apps use data by going through each app’s settings menu.
There you can restrict data entirely or limit the amount the app may use. For example, with Facebook, it naturally autoplays videos shared on your feed. When in the app’s settings, you can disable this feature, so it only autoplays when you’re on Wi-Fi.
However, you can’t just blame it on your apps. You’re a guilty player in this as much as Mark Zuckerberg. It’s important that you start preparing for your wireless-free moments during the day. Download your favorite playlist, the next podcast episode, or Netflix original before you leave your house, so you can listen or watch without relying on your data.
Step Four: Have a Contingency Plan
Though you’re committed to a data-lite lifestyle, you may still encounter some bumps in the road. You can run up your data by using Google Maps when you’re lost in an unfamiliar part of the state, or you may accidentally update apps when you aren’t connected to Wi-Fi. These things happen. What’s important is that you know how you can recover from these mistakes.
When you only have a few days before you’re expected to pay your higher-than-normal bill, an online lender like MoneyKey can help you pay it on time. They’re a fast-acting alternative to the traditional lender that may take too long to review your application or issue your cash advance. Their digital platform operates 24/7 — meaning can you apply for their payday loans online as soon as you need help instead ofwaiting until a bank branch is open. They’ve eliminated many of the barriers that delay loans issued in-person at retail banks, so you can trust their online loans will help you cover an urgent bill.
As American cellphone users pay more for data than ever before, upgrading to an unlimited data plan isn’t always possible. Controlling your data, on the other hand, is. You can reduce your reliance on data by approaching this problem sensibly. Follow these step-by-step tips to keep your data under control; the days of being shocked by your cell phone bill are over.