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8 Ways to Ration Your Mobile Data Usage

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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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Last Updated on January 5, 2022

33 Painless Ways to Save Money Now

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33 Painless Ways to Save Money Now

In a difficult economy, most of us are looking for ways to put more money in our pockets, but we don’t want to feel like misers. We don’t want to drastically alter our lifestyles either. We want it fast and we want it easy. Small savings can add up and big savings can feel like winning the lottery, just without all of the taxes.

Some easy ways to save money:

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  1. Online rebate sites. Many online sites offer cash back rebates and online coupons as well. MrRebates and Ebates are two I like, but there are many others.
  2. Sign up for customer rewards. Many of your favorite stores offer customer rewards on products you already buy. Take advantage.
  3. Switch to compact fluorescent bulbs. The extra cost up front is worth the energy savings later on.
  4. Turn off power strips and electronic devices when not in use.
  5. Buy a programmable thermostat. Set it to lower the heat or raise the AC when you’re not home.
  6. Make coffee at home. Those lattes and caramel macchiatos add up to quite a bit of dough over the year.
  7. Switch banks. Shop around for better interest rates, lower fees and better customer perks. Don’t forget to look for free online banking and ease of depositing and withdrawing money.
  8. Clip coupons: Saving a couple dollars here and there can start to add up. As long as you’re going to buy the products anyway, why not save money?
  9. Pack your lunch. Bring your lunch to work with you a few days a week, rather than buy it.
  10. Eat at home. We’re busier than ever, but cooking meals at home is healthier and much cheaper than take-out or going out. Plus, with all of the freezer and pre-made options, it’s almost as fast as drive-thru.
  11. Have leftovers night. Save your leftovers from a few meals and have a “leftover dinner.” It’s a free meal!
  12. Buy store brands: Many generic or store brands are actually just as good as name brands and considerably cheaper.
  13. Ditch bottled water. Drink tap water if it’s good quality, buy a filter if it’s not. Get 
      a reusable water bottle and refill it.
    • Avoid vending machines: The items are usually over-priced.
    • Take in a matinee. Afternoon movie showings are cheaper than evening times.
    • Re-examine your cable bill. Cancel extra cable or satellite channels you don’t watch. Watch the “on demand” movie purchases too.
    • Use online bill pay. Most banks offer free online bill paying. Save on stamps and checks, and avoid late fees by automating bill payment.
    • Buy frequently used items in bulk. You get a lower per item price and eliminate extra trips to the store later on.
    • Fully utilize the library. Borrowing books is much cheaper than buying them, but in addition to books, most local libraries now lend movies and games.
    • Cancel magazine/newspaper subscriptions: Re-evaluate your subscriptions. Cancel those you don’t read and consider reading some of the other publications online.
    • Get rid of your land-line. Do you really need a land-line anymore if everyone in the family has a cell phone? Alternatively, look into using VOIP or getting a cheaper plan.
    • Better fuel efficiency. Check the air pressure in your tires, keep up with proper auto maintenance, and slow down. Driving even 5MPH slower will result in better fuel mileage.
    • Increase your deductibles. Increasing the insurance deductibles on your homeowners and auto insurance policies lowers premiums significantly. Just make sure you choose a deductible that you can afford should an emergency happen.
    • Choose lunch over dinner. If you do want to dine out occasionally, go at lunchtime rather than dinnertime. Lunch prices are usually cheaper.
    • Buy used:  Whether it’s something small like a vintage dress or a video game or something big like a car or furniture, consider buying it used. You can often get “nearly new” for a fraction of the cost.
    • Stick to the list. Make a list before you go shopping and don’t buy anything that’s not on the list unless it’s a once in a lifetime, killer deal.
    • Tame the impulse. Use a self-enforced waiting period whenever you’re tempted to make an unplanned purchase. Wait for a week and see if you still want the item.
    • Don’t be afraid to ask. Ask to have fees waived, ask for a discount, ask for a lower interest rate on your credit card.
    • Repair rather than replace. You can find directions on how to fix almost anything on the internet. Do your homework, and then bring out your inner handyman.
    • Trade with your neighbors. Borrow tools or equipment that you use infrequently and swap things like babysitting with your neighbors.
    • Swap online. Use sites like PaperBack Swap to trade books, music, and movies with others online. Also, look for local community sites like Freecycle where people give away items they no longer need.
    • Cut back on the meat. Try eating a one or two meatless meals every week or cut back on the meat portions. Meat is usually the most expensive part of the meal.
    • Comparison shop: Get in the habit of checking prices before you buy. See if you can get a better price at another store or look online.

    Remember that saving money is not about being cheap or stingy; it’s about putting money into your bank account rather than giving it to someone else. There are many ways to save money, some you’ve never thought of, and some that won’t appeal or apply to you. Just pick a few of the ideas that sound doable and watch the savings add up. Save big, save small, but save wherever you can.

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    Featured photo credit: Damir Spanic via unsplash.com

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