Perhaps you saw through the ploy of the unlimited plan and instead opted to pay for what you use. Perhaps you settled for a set monthly mobile plan and only have a small amount of data to work with.
Whether either of the above cases fits you or whether you’re looking for something new, by taking a few simple steps, you can take control of how much data you can use. Ultimately, that means you’ll save money with the right mobile plan.
Some carriers even let you enter your current usage to see what you might save by switching.
1- Use Wi-Fi whenever possible
If your plan consists of a set amount of monthly usage, it pays to use it wisely. You don’t want to have to pay overage fees if you could have avoided going over your limit by simply using Wi-Fi.
There are some easy methods you can take to route calls, texts and data through a Wi-Fi connection, leaving your mobile plan unscathed. Google Hangouts, for example, lets you call any number in the United States or Canada using the internet instead of your mobile voice minutes. If you’re on Wi-Fi, that translates to completely free calling for as long as you want!
You can set this up through Google Voice to receive inbound calls and texts as well.
Interested in more data saving tips? We’ve got you covered!
2- Track your usage
The majority of smartphones offer the ability to track the amount of data you use, and you can set alerts and caps when you reach a certain threshold.
If you’re on a set mobile plan or with pay as you go, you can keep track of your daily, weekly, monthly and overall data usage inside the Android settings menu. It’s worth it to keep track to make sure you don’t get dinged with hefty overage fees. You can set an alert to warn you when you’re nearing your limit or even turn off mobile data when you’ve reached the cap.
Learn more in the corresponding Ting tip for Android. If you’re an iPhone user, we can also help with controlling which apps use cellular data.
Some carriers, like Ting, also offer control panel tools that let you restrict the number of minutes, messages and megabytes separately, which is useful for parents and those that want to take complete control.
Onavo Count (Android | iOS) is an app that tracks your overall daily, weekly and monthly data use. It lets you view the amount of data used by individual apps to help identify culprits that are wasting your mobile data and costing you money. You get an indication of when you stand in your current data cycle and can easily set up real time alerts for when you’re approaching your data limit.
3- Rethink unlimited (and don’t sign a contract)
If you’re currently in an unlimited plan, you might want to rethink this choice once your current contract or term ends. You’ll likely be able to find a better, cheaper option. Ultimately, unlimited just doesn’t make sense. Each month, you’re struggling to use up what you’ve paid for instead of just paying for what you used
By not signing a contract, the control is put in your hands, not the carriers. You’re free to choose which mobile carrier you accept service from, and if you have a poor experience, you’re free to bring your phone to a different company at any point in time. You also never have to pay off that dreaded early termination fee.
If your contract or term has expired and you’re satisfied with your current device, call your company to renegotiate your rate. You’ve finished paying off the subsidized device so you shouldn’t continue paying for it on your monthly bill.
4- Buy used
If you’re in the market for a new device, think used.
Many carriers allow you to bring your own device and activate on the network. You’ll often get a cheaper rate because you aren’t paying back the cost of a subsidized smartphone. Typically, this cost is buried into your monthly plan.
Purchasing a used smartphone from Glyde, eBay, Amazon or another online marketplace is an excellent way to get a top-notch device at a fraction of the cost of buying it new. If your current device isn’t compatible with the carrier you’re looking to sign up with, you can always look into selling your device and purchasing the compatible model.
5- Add a device
Combining your mobile plan with friends and family can save you big time in the long run.
Some carriers allow you to add another phone line to the same account for a low monthly fee. That means you don’t have to pay for an entirely new plan. If you purchased a used or inexpensive device, you can minimize the upfront cost as well.
A few mobile companies even allow you to share a pooled amount of minutes, messages and megabytes across all your phones. The more devices you have on an account, the less you pay per device. This becomes an excellent value for families and anyone else with multiple devices on one account.
Bonus: ETF buyout
Depending on your current rate, leaving your contract now might be worth it in the long run. You can run the numbers on your early termination fee to find out the exact moment you’ll save by jumping ship.