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Managing Your Cell Phone Data Plans: Avoid Going Over Your Limit

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Phone bills are a vital part of our utility bills, and data usage can cost quite a bit more on top of the cost of the phone. If you are trying to manage credit card debt, every cent counts — switching to a cheaper data plan might be the right choice for you.

There are a number of data plan options that are customized based on a customer’s needs. For example, some people might commute to work on a train, listening to music the whole time, then also listen to music at their desk on their smartphone. Pandora is a streaming service, for example, that eats up a significant amount of data. For customers like this, they’ll probably want at least a 10 GB/month data plan, or unlimited.

No matter your usage, you don’t want to go over and incur more fees. Here are a few tips to help you keep your cell phone data plan usage in check.

Use Wi-Fi as much as possible. There are security risks with using Wi-Fi in unsecured places, but make sure you adjust your settings so that your device automatically connects to your Wi-Fi at home or work. This means that you’ll automatically use your network to stream data, and not the 3G or 4G one you must pay for via your provider. You can even set your phone to download large files and update applications only when on Wi-Fi.

Disable when you’re not using. If you aren’t using your phone, put it on Airplane mode. This will disable the automatic notifications and GPS when you’re not using them. Even when you’re not using your phone, these items eat up data. If you want to still be able to receive calls, make sure to close out any apps that you’re not using. Apps like Facebook and Instagram are otherwise always using data. This also helps you save battery.

Set up alerts. You can set it up so that you get an alert when you get close to going over your data limit. Some phones and operating systems also let you set up a hard limit to shut down any data usage when you reach a certain point. Most data carriers have an app to allow you to keep up with your data usage and allowance.

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