Unless you are subscribed to an unlimited data plan, chances are, you will always be checking if you are staying within your monthly allowance. Failure to do so will mean paying for costly overages and charges which will cause you to break your budget not only once but probably even every month.

To be sure you will be sticking to your monthly data plan and won’t be shocked by the bill you will receive, follow these handy tips and tricks:

  1. Use Wi-Fi whenever possible

Turn off your phone’s cellular data function whenever you are at home, in the office, at a café, or any place where there is Wi-Fi. Even if you are simply reading or replying to emails or checking your social media accounts, use Wi-Fi to do all of these things.

In addition, use Wi-Fi whenever you are downloading videos, images, or music. Downloading these files can take you several minutes and, hence, can eat up more of your data.

  1. Download updates when connected to Wi-Fi

Aside from videos, images, and music, updates can also eat a large chunk of your data allowance.

If you want to lower your monthly data usage, set up your device to only download updates when connected to Wi-Fi. Both Android and Apple phones have these features which can be configured easily.

  1. Turn off your phone at night

In case you don’t have Wi-Fi at home, turn off your phone before you sleep. This will prevent your device from transferring data especially if you leave various apps running.

If you use your phone as an alarm clock or to listen to music, turn on Airplane mode or turn off the Cellular Data feature so that your apps will stop streaming data at night.

  1. Deactivate Wi-Fi Assist

If you have an iPhone and your Wi-Fi Assist is turned on, your device will use cellular data automatically if the Wi-Fi connectivity is poor. This will allow you to browse the Internet smoothly but it will consume a huge chunk of your data allowance.

To disable this feature, go to Settings, choose Cellular and disable Wi-Fi Assist.

  1. Install and use a data-efficient browser

When using your phone to browse online, use Chrome since this app reduces the size of web pages and, as such, will cut your data usage by up to 50%.

Other options include Opera Mini and Opera Max. These apps have an algorithm that compresses all data coming in and out of your browser. They can reduce your data consumption as well.

  1. Turn off cellular data for some apps

Certain apps tend to consume a lot of mobile data. Disabling these apps’ access to data will significantly reduce your cellular data usage.

Start by choosing apps that you don’t use often. Next, go to your options settings and block the data usage of these apps.

  1. Limit the data usage of apps you frequently use

If you have an Android phone, you can further lower your monthly consumption by limiting the data usage of apps that you use.

Many apps continue to run even after you close them. This means that they are still using data even if you have stopped using them. This is known as background data.

To do this, go to Settings and choose Data Usage. Next, select the app you want to restrict data for. You will then see two types of data: foreground and background. To restrict background data, toggle the “Restrict app background data” switch and tap OK.

  1. Use cache and other offline mode features

Lastly, many popular apps today allow users to store data locally. These include Google Maps and Google Play Music.

If you frequently use these apps, cache as much content as you can while using Wi-Fi. You can then enjoy the content even if you are not connected to Wi-Fi or using your cellular data.

Certain apps also have offline mode features which means you can use them even if you are not connected to the Internet. YouTube, for instance, now allows users to pre-download videos. You can watch these videos even if you are not connected to the Internet.  

Selecting the right postpaid plan will also help you avoid paying for overage charges from the start.

Choose your plan based on your requirements and lifestyle and estimated monthly usage. Next, add another 1 to 2GB as a buffer and you will have fewer worries about going over your monthly data plan.

So, be wise and follow the above tips to avoid any unpleasant surprises in your next phone bill.

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