Adventures in Tracking Phone Data Usage

In an effort to determine whether or not my current phone plan can be cut down (fact: it can), I am tracking my data usage over this month. When I opened my Settings, I saw that my usage was FIFTY GIGABYTES, and I am only halfway through the month! A very big reason for this is because I had a million apps open in the background, sucking data while I’m at work because I turn off the wifi (so I can check Instagram at school…busted). I also stream podcasts a lot, and that streaming uses so much data when I could be pre-downloading them while I’m on wifi.

Why am I so lackadaisical about this, you ask? Well, I have used Virgin Mobile my entire life, and while I really did think that their service worked for me, I bought a new phone last year upon dropping my phone in the toilet. When you switch a phone, you’re not grandfathered into your old plan. This becomes a lifestyle creep if you don’t pay attention to the costs associated with this. To achieve the same plan, I paid 20 more dollars a month, to a total of 54.00 a month for unlimited everything. My husband also has the same plan. So, we both pay 108.00 a month when it used to be 70. Virgin’s prices beats Verizon and ATT, but I am now aware of even lower cost options, thanks to Choose FI. Wondering if I could stomach a data limit of 5 gigs, I have decided to track my data usage to see if this is a good idea. I don’t want to be hit with data overage charges, and I also don’t want to be out climbing or something and forget to download route data on Mountain Project and be stuck because I hit my data cap (if I even get service). I could argue there are logical ways around all of this; e.g., being proactive rather than reactive.

I am not a ‘phone junkie,’ although I can get caught in the browsing trap like the best of them. I really like the idea of saving at least 20 dollars a month (and maybe more), amounting to at least 240.00 a year!

So, I’m resetting my usage today and determining how it goes when I turn off data usage completely and just turn it on when it’s absolutely necessary (example: I have to pull something up in my email while not in a wifi area, or needing more than just the gps function on Google Maps).

I’ll download music playlists I want to listen to from Spotify, and download my maps before heading out. I’ll also download and delete podcasts as I listen to them. And sorry, but no Instagram while waiting somewhere—will be using my Kindle instead!

Updates to come. Hopefully this helps me focus on other non-phone related things…like writing, painting, reading.

Have you switched your phone plan, or are you thinking about it, to save on monthly costs? Comment below!