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Cell Phone Data Plan & How to Avoid Going Over the Limit


When you're paying off debt, saving money is crucial.

When you’re paying off debt, saving money is crucial.

It seems like everyone nowadays has a smart phone that can take pictures, surf the web, download apps or play their favorite music. Well if you have a smart phone then you most likely have a Data Plan for it. Have you ever exceeded the amount of data you were limited to and got charged a massive fee for it? Do you incur these fees often? Well it’s time to defend yourself against those unnecessary and expensive data fees, especially if you’re paying off debt.

What Are My Data Plan Options?

The typical data plan options are 250mb, 2gb, and Unlimited. Obviously the higher the data plan the more expensive it is.

Unlimited plans will run you about $80.00 a month for 1 phone.

That’s $80.00 x 12 (Months a Year) = $960!

So in this case, to save money you may want to stick to either the 250mb plan or the 2gb plan.  Now the other issue at hand, is to avoid going over your data plan’s limit. Whenever your phone fetches data from the internet – whether you are checking Facebook, using your phone as a GPS navigation system, watching a video, or searching for things with Google, your phone is using memory from your data plan to do this. You would be surprised how quickly data can be used up. You could easily end up going over your budget for phone costs. To show you how quickly your data can be used up you can use T Mobile’s Monthly Data Usage Calculator at https://www.t-mobile.com/support/account/check-your-usage.

According to Nielsen.com, the average data used per month for

Iphone and Android users is around 535mb

What Can You Do To Avoid Going Over Your Data Limit?

After using the monthly data usage calculator, you saw just how quickly you can go over your data limit. So now you may be asking how can I avoid going over the limit? Well, here are a few tips to help:

  • Check your phone’s data usage frequently. There also are some applications that alert you on how much data you’ve used during the month as well. (Ex. DataMan, 3G WatchDog, Data Usage)
  • Do you have a wireless internet signal at home or at work? If so, you can sync your phone to it which avoids data usage because you are using your own internet signal
  • Some apps  are constantly using up data even when you are not using them. Especially apps that use location services that locate where you are (GPS, Traffic report apps, and even Facebook). These are called “Push” applications. Make sure to go through your phone’s settings and shut these applications off manually after using them to avoid data usage.
  • If you are using your phone to kill a lot of time, use a program that uses less data per minute (Ex. Instead of watching a video which uses about 3mb per minute, listen to music or text someone instead, which uses a lot less data per minute).
  • Are you using a lot less data than you are allowed? Maybe you could switch to a lower data usage plan and save some money. (Ex. You average using 100mb a month yet you have a 2gb plan).

If you’re struggling to pay off debt, ACCC can help. Schedule a free credit counseling session with us today. 


Andi is a Marketing Assistant at ACCC. He is passionate about supporting financial literacy efforts and helping to educate people on the Talking Cents blog!

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