How to save money on data and still browse freely on your phone

by Nicole on May 03, 2013

Why This is Wirefly BUZZworthy

Gone are the days of a five phone selection and limited service plans.  With today's large assortment of smartphones from every wireless carrier also comes a multitude of service plans and options, including "unlimited" and "shared" plans.  What's the Buzz on picking the best plan today? People are asking: "How much data do I need?". 

Refreshing your Facebook feed, Google-ing local restaurants, and downloading apps are all daily activities we smartphone users are doing on the regular, and potentially more so than actually talking on our phone.  With all of the data usage we're doing, it can be easy to get dinged for overages.  On the other hand, why pay too much for a large data plan that you (or family members on your shared plan) won't use?  You can be a savvy smartphone user by understanding 1) how much data you use in order to select the right plan, and 2) how to reduce some unnecessary data usage that may be adding to your monthly bill. 

First, how much data do you need? Think about which activities you do the most of on your phone.  If your data usage consists mainly of web browsing, sending email, and occasionally downloading apps or photos, a smaller-sized data plan would work for you.   If you do all of these activities on a more frequent basis, as well as activities that use higher amounts of data, such as use turn-by-turn navigation, and streaming music or movies, then you should look at a moderate sized data plan.  Heavy streaming of music and video, numerous app and pic downloading/uploading, and high internet browsing and emailing are activities that signal you should opt for a larger data plan, in order to not incur overages on a lower level data plan. 

What You Need to Know Before You Start

Now, need some tips on reducing some unneeded data usage you may be racking up? The biggest tip on reducing data usage is that you should enable Wi-Fi, whenever this option is available to you.  At home, a hotel, or a restaurant with Wi-Fi? Change your setting on your smartphone to Wi-Fi, and this will allow you to continue doing all of your web-based activities without using your data plan! This is also especially key when streaming music or movies, which eat up the most data. Here are a few more tips to reducing data:



Let's Get Started


Reduce the setting on your email so that it checks for updates less frequently, if you do not need up to the minute refreshes


Turn off apps that may be running in the background that are downloading frequent updates


When using navigation, pull up a directions list you can refer to with one download, instead of using turn-by-turn directions

Data Calculator

Check out Wirefly's own widget for estimating how much data you use, and remember to increase the scales if you have multiple people on your plan.


You are now prepared to pick the data plan that is right for the amount of your usage, avoid overages, and potentially save a few bucks off your next bill!