Save Your Data Plan By Avoiding These 3 Things

Published on September 17, 2014

Going over our data allowance on our cell phone plans can be expensive and inconvenient.  Unfortunately, it is easy to do.

USA Today recently outlined the top 3 ways that most users go over their data plan without even realizing it.

Here are 3 things you too can avoid to conserve your precious data on your data plan.

1. "Free texting" apps

Free texting apps sound great, on the surface. However, if you're sending more than just text, you may have a problem.

Services like iMessage, Google Voice, or third-party apps like TextFree, textPlus, or WhatsApp use your cellular data. When you're sending or receiving media through these services, it costs you in data. This means video messages, photos, and audio messages - and it burns up data like crazy.

Luckily, you're most likely in the clear if you're only sending text-based messages through these messages. Keep your media to a minumum and your data should be safe.

2. Facebook videos

Did you notice that the Facebook app behaves a little differently these days? If you scroll past a video, you're no longer just seeing a still image preview of the video, but rather it starts playing - albeit without sound.

Even if you're not watching these videos intentionally, their movement alone burns up your data plan. Thanks Facebook.

To put an end to this, you can look in your Facebook app Settings for "Videos Auto-play" and switch it to off. Or you can set it to "Wi-Fi only" so they will only play when you're connected to wi-fi.

3. Streaming music

This is a big one. I am now personally a big fan of my Spotify Premium account (with its ability to download music for offline listening), as I've gotten into dangerous data territory with Spotify's free streaming service and other free music streaming apps like Grooveshark, Pandora, and Tune-In Radio in the past.

Apps like these use around .72 megabytes of data per minute. If you're on a 2GB data plan, that means you've got about 40 hours of music listening per month - and that's if you're ONLY using data to stream music!

Be careful streaming music in locations without Wi-Fi, or invest in a paid app that allows for offline (and data-free) listening, like Spotify Premium.

Burning through data like crazy? Try a data compressor.

If you're still struggling with your monthly data plan, try using a free data compressing app - like Onavo Extend - which will compress your data so that you aren't using as much on your plan. This app will let you use up to 5 times more data, they claim. Sounds good to me!

What has your experience been with data usage? Do you have a strategy for staying under your monthly limit, or have you found it difficult? Let us know in the comments below!