Data — when it works, it’s one of the biggest perks of owning a smartphone. That LTE symbol in the top corner of your screen means you can scroll and stream your way through the Internet.
It also means you may be paying top dollar for the privilege. Without an unlimited plan, it’s easy to go over your data and rack up hundreds of dollars in penalties.
If you want to avoid another month paying overage charges, try out these simple tips. They’ll help you change the way you use data, so you don’t have to pay an arm and a leg to browse.
Match Your Plan to Your Usage
It’s easy to say you’ll stick with a restrictive data limit to save money, but it’s an entirely different thing to actually do it.
Setting an ultra-low limit is like setting yourself up for failure. If the average person uses a little more 30 GB a month of both wireless and cellular data, something like 200 MB may not be a realistic goal.
While 200 MB may be too restrictive, 2 GB may not be. It’s all about finding that data sweet spot that’s affordable without being impractical.
Tap open your settings and look under Data Usage to see how much you’ve used in past months. Use this figure to choose a new plan with a limit that’s restrictive without being impossible.
Change Your Carrier
The biggest names in the data game are like brand name sneakers or purses. The name of the brand is what makes it more expensive. AT&T, Sprint, T-Mobile, and Verizon are some of the most common carriers in the US, yet they often charge the most for their plans.
By switching to a smaller and prepaid competitor, you could end up with more data for less money. According to cell phone expert Christine Gallup, the switch could cut your monthly bill in half.
Change Your Data Habits
If you don’t have an unlimited plan, there are some things you should never do on data. Falling down a click hole on YouTube or listening to your Spotify playlists are prime examples.
Apps that stream video and audio are the worst culprits for data overages, but they aren’t the only reasons why you go over your limits. There’s a long list of apps that use more data than you realize.
Once you identify the data guzzlers on your phone, here are some tips to help you work around these apps:
- Wait until you’re on Wi-Fi to check your notifications
- Download playlists, podcasts, and videos when you’re on Wi-Fi
- Turn off automatic downloads and set it so your phone only updates apps when on Wi-Fi
Have a Contingency Plan
Although you have the best intentions to stay under your limit, you may still go over it.
Things happen. If you get lost, you’ll have to rely on Google Maps to find your way home. If you forget you didn’t actually download that episode of In The Dark, you’ll stream it during your walk.
If your higher-than-normal bill arrive as at the same time as an unexpected expense, you may not have the savings to cover everything.
If you don’t have extra savings set aside for emergencies, an online lender can help you pay off data overage charges. They offer short term loans online that are ideal for last-minute emergencies when you’re low on funds.
Online lenders are faster alternatives to traditional lenders because their digital platform operates 24/7. To find out how their online platform helps you, you can learn more about online lenders and their installment loans before you apply.
When you’re regularly using too much data, the obvious solution is to upgrade to an unlimited plan. But as data gets more and more expensive, that’s not always right for your budget. Luckily, there are cheaper ways to control your bill. Change the way you use data to see how much money you can save before you lock into a more expensive plan.