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8 Ways to Ration Your Mobile Data Usage

8 Ways to Ration Your Mobile Data Usage

Mobile phones make it easy to connect to the Internet, but they can also make it easy for you to outgrow your data plan in a hurry. Try these 8 ways to ration your mobile data usage so you can spend less money on your phone plan.

Keep an Eye on Your Plan With the Data Usage App

Data Usage is an essential app for anyone who wants to stay within their plan’s limits. Data Usage not only tells you how much data you have used, it even tells you what percentage of your plan you have used this month. If you’re only half way through the month and you have already used 90 percent of your plan’s data allotment, the app alerts you to ease up on your data usage.

Data Usage will even send you a push notification if you exceed a certain percentage of your plan. It’s the tech equivalent of someone reminding you how many calories are in a piece of cake before you decide to have a second slice.

Let Opera Mobile Squash Your Data

Opera Mini and Opera Mobile compress data so you save money on your wireless plan. Can the browser you use really make a significant difference in your data rates? Opera says that its Mini browser compresses websites by 90 percent and that Operate Mobile compresses them by up to 80 percent.

Compressing website data is optional with Opera, so you can turn off the feature when browsing the Web with a Wi-Fi connection.

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Let Mailsuite Squash Your Email

If you use your mobile device to check email, then it makes sense to rely on a service like Mailsuite to reduce your data usage: Mailsuite can compress your emails by up to 98 percent. The company’s tests show that the average user sees a 93 percent reduction.

Mailsuite’s compression makes it easier for you to use push notifications without going overspending your data plan. If you want push notifications from email and Twitter accounts without burning through your data, this is a good option.

Set Your Email Notification to Manual

You can also set your phone’s email notification feature to manual. This prevents the phone from constantly checking your email, Facebook, and Twitter accounts for updates.

Automatic notifications can eat up a lot of data even for people who don’t get a lot of messages. Every time the phone asks your accounts whether you have messages, it uses a little bit of data. It’s not a lot, but it’s important to monitor if you want to reserve your data for more useful things.

Turn Off Unnecessary Apps

Some apps try to constantly connect to the Internet even when you don’t need them to. They sit there in the background silently destroying your data plan. You might think it’s cool that your phone automatically syncs its contacts and calendar to your other devices, but that convenience could cost you a lot more than you realize.

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Take a look at your apps and disable automatic connections for those that aren’t important to you. You can always turn them back on when you want them.

Use Wi-Fi Whenever You Can

Instead of using your cell network to download large files like movies, apps, and pictures, wait until you have access to a Wi-Fi network.

Assuming that you have Wi-Fi at home, plan ahead so that you don’t need to rely on your cellular connection during the day. If you know you will want to play online poker during your lunch break, download the app at home so you can use more data playing games instead of downloading the software you need to play them.

Knowing the Wi-Fi hotspots in your area will make this option easier. Remember that it’s unsafe to access private accounts through a public Wi-Fi network, though. If you’re on a public network, don’t check your bank or credit card accounts. It’s not worth the risk.

Avoid Streaming Except With Wi-Fi

Few things use more data than streaming. Even if you’re just streaming 128 kbps songs, they can add up to several GBs a month. That means you shouldn’t stream music in your car, when you’re cutting the grass, or when you’re trying to kill time before a meeting. You’ll get more out of your data plan by downloading songs at home and listening to them directly from your device.

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If you must stream, or you just really want to, stick to the lowest bit rate options available.

The last thing you should do is stream HD movies. Streaming HD movies for 10 hours can take 3GBs off your plan. That’s a waste of data, especially since you’re trying to watch a high-definition movie on a tiny smartphone screen.

Don’t Get Too Attached to Siri

iPhone users who get too attached to Siri could find that the voice recognition software does more than they think. Siri could be eating up your data allotment without the slightest hint.

Of course Siri uses data when you ask a question that requires searching the Internet. According ArsTechnica, the typical Siri query uses about 64kb. That’s a huge amount even for someone who only uses Siri on occasion. It’s much better to talk to your phone than try to use its screen while driving. That’s a no-brainer.

The problem with Siri is that it needs to access the Internet to interpret your speech. That means the software uses data even when you ask it to do something that doesn’t have anything to do with the Web. When you mark an appointment on your calendar or set an alarm, using Siri burns some data.

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You don’t have to totally dump Siri, but it makes sense to learn how to use your iPhone instead of relying on voice recognition that will raise your monthly bill.

Have you found other effect techniques to keep your data in check?

Smart mobile technology is changing the way kids are educated: How Mobile Technologies are Changing the Way Education Works

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Published on May 7, 2019

How to Invest for Retirement (The Smart and Stress-Free Way)

How to Invest for Retirement (The Smart and Stress-Free Way)

When it comes to stocks, I bet you feel like you have no idea what you’re doing.

Everyone who’s not a financial expert has been there. I’ve been there. But, time is passing and you need to be crystal clear with how you’re investing for your retirement.

Otherwise, it’s back to work until you can afford not to. So, how can you invest for retirement when you’re not a financial expert?

You take the time to learn the fundamentals well. If you do, you can grow your wealth and retire happy. The best part is that you don’t need to be a financial expert to make smart investment decisions.

Here’s how to invest for retirement the smart and stress-free way:

1. Know Clearly Why You Invest

Odds are you already know why should invest for retirement.

But, maybe you know the wrong reasons. It’s time you get clear on why you’d like to retire. Here are some questions to help you get started:

  • Will you spend more time with your family?
  • What does retirement mean to you?
  • Are you looking to launch that business you’ve been holding off for years?

Everyone wants to retire but not for the same reasons. Once you’re clear for why retirement is important for you, you’ll focus on making it happen.

Investing in the stock market allows you to take advantage of compound interest.[1] All this means is that your money earns money on top of its interest. A reason why investment in the stock market is one of the best ways to plan for retirement.

2. Figure out When to Invest

“The best time to plant a tree was 20 years ago. The second best time is now.”– Chinese Proverb

It’s true if you’d had started investing when you were 10 years old, you’d have a lot more money than you do today.

The reality is that most people don’t start investing until it’s too late. So, if you’re currently waiting for the perfect time to start an investment, it would be today. Open your calendar and block out 2 to 3 hours to choose how you’ll invest for retirement.

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A quick way to get a snapshot of where you stand is to use Personal Capital. Input all your personal information and spend some time setting your retirement goals. Once completed, you’ll know where you stand with your retirement.

Having a savings account for retirement isn’t planning for retirement. Why? Your money loses value when you factor in US inflation.[2]

3. Evaluate Your Risk Tolerance to Create the Perfect Portfolio

Investing your money well depends on your emotions.

Why?

Because when the market drops most people panic and withdraw their money. On average, the US stock market yields an annual 6% to 7% ROI (return on your investment.) But, this won’t happen if you’re worried about short-term loses.

Before you invest your next dollar, know your risk tolerance.[3] Your risk tolerance determines the number of risky and safe investments you’d have.

Regardless of your investing style, you need to view investing for retirement as a long term game. Know that some years you’ll lose money but recoup this in the long-term.

Avoid watching market-related new. Also, create a double authentication to log in your investment account. This way you’re less likely to withdraw your money.

4. Open a Reliable Retirement Account

Depending on your circumstance, you may need to open a new brokerage account. This is the account is where you’ll invest your money.

If you’re currently working for a company, odds are that they offer a 410K investing account. If so, here’s where you’ll invest most of your money. The only problem with this is that you’re limited to the stock options that are available.

You do have the option to open a separate IRA (individual retirement account.) Here are some of the best brokers:

  1. Vanguard
  2. TD Ameritrade
  3. Charles Schwab

5. Challenge Yourself to Invest Consistently

Committing to invest for retirement is hard, but continuing to do so is harder.

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Once you’ve started investment for your retirement, you run at risk from stopping. Often you’ll want to contribute less, so you’d have more money in your pocket.

That’s why it’s important that you create a budget that allows you to invest each month. If you’re working for a company, you can set a percentage for the amount you’d like to contribute each month. Most people by default contribute 1% but aim to contribute 10% to 15%.

Be the judge for how much you can afford to contribute after covering important expenses. To stay motivated, use Personal Capital to view your net worth.

A benefit to contributing money to your retirement account is not taxed. For example, if you earn $100 and invest 10%, you’d contribute $10, then get taxed on the remaining $90. As of 2019, the most you’re able to contribute towards your 401K is 19K but this can change.

6. Consider Where to Invest Your Money

The most common way to invest your money is in stocks, but it’s not the only way. Here are other ways to invest:

Robo Advisors

Robo-advisors[4] are fancy algorithms that’ll choose the best investments for you. Sites like Wealthfront make it easy for first-time investors to invest their money. You’d input information about yourself and set your risk tolerance.

Then, set your monthly contribution amount and your robo-advisor would do the rest. Robo-advisors charge a fee to manage your money, but less than regular advisors.

Bonds

Think of bonds as “IOUs” to whomever you buy them from.

Essentially, you’re lending money and charging interest. Like stocks, not all bonds are equal. Some will be riskier than others depending on their rating.

Here are the different types of bond categories:[5]

  1. Treasury bonds
  2. Government bonds
  3. Corporate bonds
  4. Foreign bonds
  5. Mortgage-backed bonds
  6. Municipal bonds

Mutual Funds

Picture a group of people dumping all their money in a jar that’s managed by a professional. This is how mutual funds work. The fund manager manages the money looking to earn capital gains (interest.)

One of the best types of mutual funds is index funds. Since these funds don’t try to beat the market and instead follow it, they need less research. Because of this they often charge the lowest fees and yield the best long-term results.

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Real Estate

Yes, buying a home is an investment when done correctly.

Imagine buying a home and using it as a rental property. After repairing it, you receive a monthly surplus check of $100 to $200.

This may not sound like a lot, but repeat this process enough times and you’d earn a large amount of passive income. That’s why real estate is one of the best investments to not only retire but become wealthy.

But, it requires a lot of money to start and you should expect losing money along the way as you learn the process.

Savings Accounts

Your money can still grow in a savings account. Nowadays most online banks offer a 2% annual return. Although the average inflation is higher your money will be available when you need it.

7. Master Disincline to Dodge Short Success

Investing for retirement is a long-term strategy. That’s why you need to master delayed gratification. All this means is delaying short-term pleasure for something bigger in the future. Research shows that those who have delayed gratification are more successful.[6]

So how can you master delayed gratification?

By building your discipline.

Think back to what retirement means to you. A clear purpose will help you avoid withdrawing your money during a market downturn. It’ll help you contribute more towards retirement when you’d want to waste it instead.

Your journey towards retirement will be long, so reward yourself along the way. Choose a reward that’s relevant and meaningful, so that you reinforce positive behavior. For example, after contributing more towards retirement, treat yourself to dinner.

8. Aggressively Invest on This One Investment

I’ve mentioned several types of investments but haven’t covered the most important one.

It sounds cliche but here’s why you’re your best investment towards retirement. The more you know, the more money you’ll be able to make. The more good habits you adopt, the more secure your retirement will be.

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More importantly, investing in yourself is an investment that no one can take away. There’s no market downturn nor tragic circumstance that’ll wipe your knowledge and experience.

But, how can you invest yourself?

Reading books, blogs, and anything that’ll help you learn new topics daily. Listen to podcasts and audiobooks on your commute to/from work.

Save money to buy courses and hire coaches. I used to believe hiring coaches was a waste of money when I could learn the subject alone.

But, coaches see your blind spots and hold you accountable. Hiring the right coach will help you achieve your goals faster than you would’ve alone.

Retire Happy with Excess Money

The key to a secure financial future doesn’t only belong to financial experts.

It’s possible for you and I. What if you were able to retire earlier than most people and weren’t a financial planner? What if you were able to focus on what you enjoy doing the most while your money was working hard for you?

I know this sounds impossible now, but the truth is you’re capable of taking charge of your retirement. I’m not a financial expert but I’ve learned how to invest my money by reading books and learning from others.

Investing your money is scary. So start small and invest a small amount of your money with a robo-advisor. Feel your money drop and rise for a month or two. Then, invest more and keep this up until you’re aggressively saving for retirement.

One day, you’ll wake up with a net worth you’re proud of – confident about your retirement. You now know a few strategies you can use to invest in your retirement. Will you take action to retire happy?

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Featured photo credit: Matthew Bennett via unsplash.com

Reference

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