closeup image of smartphone use

7 Hacks to Save Money While on Data Plan

Almost everyone who has a smartphone relies heavily on data connection. When you buy a smartphone, it usually comes with a data and voice plan to make sure that you’ll have the best smartphone experience. Also because there are features that smartphones have which require data connection, like navigation, streaming, uploading, downloading, messaging, and emailing.

Unfortunately, as much as we want to spend all day connected to our smartphones, data connection does not come free. And it’s not exactly cheap, either. Streaming songs from Spotify alone for one regular workday can use up nearly 1 GB of data already. Watching TV shows or movies on Netflix in high definition eats up about 1 GB of data each hour. If you really love music and movies on the go, and only have 10 GB of data allowance each month, you can easily consume that in less than a week. For afficionados, you can also do online shopping using your credit card, which can quickly reduce your allocated data as well. How do you make your data last, and how do you save money while doing so? Here are 7 ways.

image of free wifi logo1) Use Wi-Fi as much as possible.

If you have Wi-Fi connection at home, you can save a lot of money on your data plan already. If you don’t play a lot of online games, or stream music and movies on the go, you pretty much stay within your monthly data allowance. Most establishments, like malls, coffee shops, and restaurants have Wi-Fi connection. You can simply connect to their networks and enjoy unlimited surfing on your phone. Always turn off your mobile data when you’re connected to Wi-Fi.

2) Reduce background data.

There are some apps that eat up a lot of data without you even realizing it. Disable the Background App Refresh option if you’re using an iPhone. Go to Settings, General, and then Background App Refresh.

If you’re using an Android phone, you can download task killer apps that can close running apps with just one tap. You can also use the built-in task manager app on your phone by going to Settings, Apps, and then choosing Disable on the app that you want to stop running. This applies to syncing your emails, and updating your feeds and weather information, as well. If you want to activate these apps again, simply click on Enable.

3) Use mobile browsers.

If you use Chrome as your mobile browser on your Android smartphone, turning on the Data Saver option can save you as much as 35% in your data consumption. It may affect your browsing speed a little bit, but your data consumption will be significantly less. Just launch the Chrome app and tap on the three dots at the right hand corner. Click on Settings, and then turn on Data Saver.

mobile data streaming image4) Stop online streaming.

This includes high quality music streaming services like Spotify, Apple Music, and SoundCloud. As well as movie and video streaming sites like Netflix, iFlix, and YouTube. If you really must watch them while on the go, you can always enable the offline option. This way, you can still watch them on your device without being connected to the internet and eating up precious data. Download them so you can watch offline, or just wait until you connect to Wi-Fi.

5) Avoid automatic downloads.

Download large files when you’re connected to Wi-Fi. Latest software updates should also be done over Wi-Fi connection if you don’t want to get bill shock because of using too much data. Auto syncing options are data guzzlers. Facebook and Google+ are notorious for this. Disable this option until you have strong and stable Wi-Fi connection.

6) Turn on your data alerts.

You can configure your phone to alert you once you’re about to reach your data usage limit for the month. On an Android phone, go to Settings and tap on Data Usage and set the dates of your billing cycle. You can tick the Set Mobile Data Limit option and adjust the meter according to your mobile data allowance. Your phone will automatically send you a notification when you’re nearing your data limit so you can monitor your data usage.

If you’re using an iPhone, simply click on Settings, and then click on Cellular. Under Cellular Data Usage, you can view how much data you have used since you last reset the statistics. Simply refresh on the first day of your billing cycle to see the latest and most accurate information.

turn off mobile data image7) Turn off data.

If worse comes to worst, simply turn your mobile data off. You can still function without checking your Facebook for the latest updates. You can still receive regular SMS even if you’re not online on Whatsapp and Viber. You can also make use of your mobile plan’s free minutes to actually have a normal voice call without the use of filters, stickers, and emojis.

One thing you can do to enjoy unlimited data and still save money is by subscribing to prepaid mobile internet services. You can get affordable mobile internet only on days when you don’t have Wi-Fi connection. It also cuts your smartphone bills significantly while still being connected all day.

When it gets right down to it, a data plan is just a bonus to keep you connected and entertained. It’s not the worst thing in the world if you go without it once in a while, right? If you have an internet connection at home and at the office, that should still give you more than enough time to check and reply to emails, tweet your thoughts, share a status update, and post a photo of what you ate for lunch on Instagram. And even without a data plan, friends and family can still reach you and ask where or how you are.  

Managing your data plan is a lot like managing your credit card. You should be mindful of your usage so as not to be overwhelmed when it’s time to pay the bills. You have a data limit for the simple reason that this is the amount of data that you should only consume for each month. If you keep going over your limit, what’s the use of even having one?  

This article was written by Angel Rouselle Isla.

Rouselle loves the hustle of writing, reading, and creating content. She currently works with different clients on their web content and social media presence.

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