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10 Ways to Cure Your Mobile Bill

Cell phones are ubiquitous, and tend to be important if not necessary to own. Yet sometimes the cost of owning and using a mobile phone can get out of hand. And the prevalence of daunting cell phone bills only grows as more and more apps and functions that use data come into popular use.

The high cost of mobile data is a familiar problem for many; too many of us have run up against exorbitant bills after underestimating just how much data we have been using. And, for those with restricted monthly data allowances, exhausting the monthly supply of data can be irritating or even crippling for those who often depend on data.

Thankfully, there are a few tips and tricks you can use to make sure your cell phone bill stays manageable. By attacking from all angles and ensuring that your mobile plan, data usage, and even texting are as efficient as possible, you can save considerably on your mobile each month. Here are our ten tips to cure your mobile bill woes:

1. Minimize your plan.

It may sound intuitive, but before doing anything else, make sure that you are not paying for features you simply don't use or need. Many overpay for plans that cover far more than their needs. Keep tabs on your monthly texts, calls, and data use, and compare these figures to your monthly allowance for each function. If you pay for unlimited texts or data, for example, but do not use much of them, you could save by switching to a plan with lower usage caps.

2. Watch your usage.

While it also seems obvious, use your phone's settings or an outside app to keep an eye on your usage of paid functions such as texts, calls, and data, not only to observe patterns but simply to ensure that you do not incur extra fees for extra use. Check up on your usage a couple of times throughout your billing cycle to ensure that you do not meet or exceed any of your caps, and so that you can plan accordingly if your usage has been higher than you might have thought in a given month.

3. Relegate app updates to WiFi.

Automatic app updates are convenient, but they can be a great expense when they happen over data. Not only that, but using data to update a slew of apps can slow your device, especially online browsing, and over time incur long-term damage by overheating the phone and degrading its battery. To ensure app updates don't eat up costly data, set your phone to update automatically only when connected to WiFi. To do this on an Android, open Settings from the menu found in the Play Store. Select General in the settings menu, then Auto-update apps, and finally choose the WiFi-only option. Using an iPhone, open Settings, then select iTunes & App Store, and switch the Use Mobile Data option to "off."

4. Disable automatic data use.

Some devices will automatically use data to perform additional functions that require a connection when they are not connected to WiFi. When you don't really need programs to use data, this can be a drain on resources. Avoid this waste by turning off data when you can. For devices running iOS 9, you can disable Wi-Fi Assist, which automatically uses data in the event of a poor WiFi connection, to conserve costly data. To do this, select Cellular in your device's Settings, then toggle the Wi-Fi Assist switch off.

5. Turn off or adjust push notifications.

Another way of cutting automatic data use, and therefore associated expenses, is to adjust your push notification settings. Because so many of the apps we receive notifications from use Wi-Fi or data, push notifications will use data when you are not connected to a Wi-Fi network. This small amount of data use can add up if your phone frequently receives push notifications. You can either limit or completely disable push notifications in your phone's Settings menu to save data in yet another area.

6. Cut data use by app.

If universally tweaking automatic data use is too intrusive, you can still conserve data by disabling automatic data use for only some apps. By blocking background data use from specific apps, smart phone owners can get normal function from apps of their choosing but save on data where it least affects them. On an Android, this can be done by selecting Mobile Data under Settings and then selecting Restrict background data for chosen apps. iPhone users can disable data use by specific apps by entering Settings, then Mobile Data, and from there toggling app data use.

7. Make email syncing manual.

Email remains a dominant mode of communication, especially in professional and academic settings, making it a significant source of data use for many. This is especially true for those who send and receive a great deal of heavy files over email. If this is a problem, change your email sync settings from automatic to manual. For Gmail users, this can be done by checking the "Unsync Gmail" box in the app's Settings, which can be accessed through its Menu.

8. Use data compression on Google Chrome.

If you are one of the many Google Chrome users, you're in luck if you hope to cut back on data use. Google Chrome offers a feature called Data Saver on most devices, which reduces the amount of data downloaded from each website a user accesses. While the amount of data actually saved depends on what kind of content you use Google Chrome to access, Google states that Data Saver can conserve up to half of the data you would otherwise use. To enable Data Saver, simply enter Settings, select Data Saver, and click Enable.

9. Communicate over Wi-Fi, not text, when possible.

We tend to look to texting less when we want to save money on mobile bills, but savings lie in SMS, too. One way to cut costs with respect to text messaging is to shift communication you might usually make over text to apps that can use Wi-Fi. While this may involve encouraging some loved ones to download and use a new app, communication apps like WhatsApp and GroupMe are growing in popularity and have all the functionalty of texting, if not more. By relying more on apps for communication, you can pay for fewer texts per month, or forgo a text messaging plan altogether, provided you have fairly regular WiFi access.

10. Use a prepaid phone.

While not the most popular option, prepaid phone plans have come a long way, providing affordable service for a range of smart phones and other mobile devices. While a prepaid phone may not be the best option for a heavy user of functions like text and data, minimal cell phone users can save a great deal using prepaid plans, and can ensure that they never pay for more functions than they are actually using.

Though it's all too easy to rack up an alarming mobile bill, it's easy to take preventative steps, too. With a number of angles of attack, your cellular bill worries need be no more.

About the Author -
Sharon Housley is the VP of Marketing for NotePage, Inc. a software company for communication software solutions. http://www.notepage.net

 

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