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Save Data, Save Money on Your Mobile Bill

Data is now the most hotly debated issue when it comes to picking the best pay monthly plan. Many deals have unlimited talk time and texts but not always on data, data usually comes in various allowances and understanding what this means, and how data is used can save you from some very painful, surprise bills at the end of the month. Providers are offering unlimited data, but these are limited and expensive, so most people opt for a fixed data plan.

Start With a Good Base

When it comes to data allowance, you need to be realistic. There is no point opting for a plan with 1GB of data if you regularly use 20GB of data in a month as you will end up paying over the odds. The cost of using data you have not subscribed for is more expensive than the price you are charged in your contract payment so thinking you are saving money by trimming the data is a false economy.

The first thing to do is work out how much data you use on average. If you already have a mobile phone, it should be possible to get this information from your carrier. Pay monthly information screens will show precisely what you use and break down any extra charges for going over the limit.  The rule with data is to find out what you use on average and then add some for the odd months when you end up doing more and balancing this against the contract price that you can afford.

So How Can You Save Data?

Good question! There are various things you can do to ensure you remain within your data allowance each month, so here is a quick rundown.

Say No to Background Data

One of the fastest ways to drain your data is to leave background data running when you do not need it. Background refresh happens all the time unless you have it under control. When you install an app, it usually switches background data on as standard, so you wouldn’t even be aware of it.

Background refresh when connected to the internet via Wifi is no issue; it means the apps are polling the web and updating where needed, whether that is updating the app or syncing your email, and even in games when nothing is happening just checking back in with their host. This is fine, harmless and normal when connected to wifi but when using 4G, it becomes a data spend.  

So, while you are out and about walking the dog with your phone in your pocket doing nothing, you would be forgiven for thinking you haven’t touched your data, but if the background data isn’t under control, you would also be wrong.  So, this is an issue that needs fixing fast, and it is straightforward to do and will be found in the settings of your phone.

Use Wifi if Possible

While you naturally cannot connect to your home or work Wifi if you are somewhere else, there are plenty of wifi networks open to the public, cafes, pubs, stores, and other venues will offer customers wifi access. Sometimes you have to get a key from the Wifi owner; sometimes you will have to accept terms and conditions by providing information about yourself.

The trade-off is usually worth it. Some network providers offer their own hotspots for customers to use and an app that locates them is normally available to show you where to find them. Generally, once you have connected once your handset will automatically connect again the next time you are in the location so you can build yourself a most visited route that means you can use minimal data and maximum Wifi.

Learn Smart Browsing

If you visit a website that has an app, use the app. So, for example, Amazon or eBay both have apps as well as their website. Browsing a site on a mobile will use more data than the app as the phone attempts to load all the images and information. The second best option is a mobile optimised website, but this is down to the website provider, most big websites will have mobile optimisation, and when their website recognises your device, it will adjust the data to correspond accordingly.  

Do not clear your mobile browser cache too frequently, as although it takes up storage it also means that when you visit a website more than once, it can use the cached images rather than downloading them again. To further enhance this if you use Chrome you can switch on data saver which is found on the three dots menu and then in settings.

Streaming video is one of the most significant ways to munch through your data, so if you really love to watch videos on the go, you might want to consider a mobile streaming service. Generally paid for these services might cost you about £10 a month but will dramatically reduce the data exchange because they are optimised.

The other option is to check out offline content, and sites like Spotify, Apple Music and Google Play Music all offer the creation of offline playlists that you store on your device meaning when you listen to these you do not even touch your data allowance.