Our adventures in limiting our Internet data usage

23 thoughts on “Our adventures in limiting our Internet data usage”

  1. We have never needed to limit our data, except on our cell phones because my brother in law somehow blows through our entire allotment every month (goodbye family plan and hello Republic wireless in 3 months). I figure we will need to begin to watch it at some point because we use Time Warner Cable in our area and I believe we will get data caps at some point. Even though most home broadband caps have been pretty high so far (~250GB), my guess is that as cable companies continue to fight for more revenue, those caps will begin to decrease making juggling data more important.

    Luckily, right now I don’t need to worry about it even though I know we could cut back in some areas if we needed to.

    1. Hey Thias – yeah, the home broadband connections have data limits that almost no one really needs to worry about. We are attending to buy a grandfathered unlimited plan at the moment so hopefully this won’t be an issue. We’ll see.

    1. Thanks Kalie – even if you aren’t looking to limit your data, this strategy will alert you to anything that’s going on within your computer that you might not know about, which is always a good thing!

  2. You may want to check (if you haven’t already) Google Fi Project. Still pricey if you need 15GB but at least you are credited for unused data. And if you happen to come visit us in Canada or go elsewhere in the world, there are no additional fees (I guess it’s the most interesting part of the deal).

  3. My data limit is 500 mb which I exceeded once, from using Google maps on my phone while on vacation. I download podcasts via WiFi, and make sure my data is turned off when I play them. I also set a limit to warn me when I’m close to the max. McDonald’s, Starbucks and Panera Bread are on several lists of places with the best free WiFi.

    1. Wow, 500 MBs is a pretty aggressive data limit! Good on you for keeping yourself in check, and I agree, free public WiFi is definitely a convenience that is getting more prominent around the country.

      1. My bad, Steve, the 500 is for my phone only. I meant to specifiy. (Maybe I thought you could read my mind!) We’ll try some tracking software to see what everything uses.

  4. We have the unlimited data plan from Sprint. As a carrier, Sprint never seems to be rated particularly high, but we use a ton of data and have never had an issue with the speed they provide. We use about 10-20GB a month with them (average is 14.6GB), so I’m not sure how much they are throttling us (if they are).

    When I travel internationally, I use the coffee shop / McDonald’s wi-fi approach. It works, but it gets annoying to have to “schedule” a stop in your day. We will be going to Japan in 2016 and I plan to rent a mobile hotspot for $4/day.

    1. I have considered Sprint, but honestly, they don’t have near the coverage that would make it worth it for us. If we were around larger metro areas, though, I’d definitely consider Sprint.

  5. Our internet usage is pretty low, at least on our phones. We still share maybe 1GB a month and rarely get close to using that. I guess except for when I travel use google maps, I don’t use my phone much on the go and even less as an entertainment device – streaming music, podcasts, etc… I have been using a new music streaming app, but our carrier sent an email saying certain apps had free streaming and data usage, so that one still doesn’t count against our data. I did notice when I used Waze (a pretty nifty traffic app), that my usage jumped up, but we were still well under our plan almost every month.

    This is the main reason we haven’t switched to Republic or Ting or one of those plans is that it’s essentially a wash with our current plans and data usage. Maybe in the future, but not yet.

    1. Hey Mr. SSC – yeah, our cell phone data is pretty low too because we mainly use the home-based broadband. Google Maps will definitely up it a bit, especially if you aren’t used to using much in the way of cellular data! 🙂

  6. With three children and smart phone data is something we are always keeping a close eye on. We always look for wifi when out and about, we shut off data when not using phone. Like you said a lot of apps use data in background. I think free wifi will be your friend.

    1. Thanks Brian, me too. We will definitely be on the look out for free WiFi, especially if we can’t find a grandfathered Verizon unlimited plan.

  7. For our entire household, it’s routinely over 100 GB. There are five of us and we all stream liberally from Netflix and youtube. I also play online games but I can’t imagine they suck up as much as streaming video.

    On my cell phone, I use 50-200 MB per month because I don’t use it off wifi very often, and I never watch videos on the phone (there’s a 50″ TV for that. 🙂 ).

    The data restriction would be hard for us if we had a cap of a few GB or 15 GB like you are aiming for. If I had to limit it, I would walk the few minutes down the street and jump on Starbucks or McD’s wifi, suck up all the data I could, then walk back home (maybe $1-2 poorer after buying a burger or coffee). Or make the slightly longer walk to the public library and leach their free wifi.

    1. Hey Justin! Yup, we use over 100GB too, but we stream pretty heavily just like you. This is really the most important thing that I’m still worried about. It’s about the data! 🙂

  8. I had no idea how much we use every month, but that was a good exercise.
    So my wife and I “spend” ~90GB / month.
    80GB goes through our broadband connection (video streaming, facetime, web).
    4GB goes through our cellphones each (podcasts, spotify and web).

    As long as data is unlimited (our cellphone plan is grandfathered from a truly unlimited data plan), I don’t see how we’d be able to reduce our data usage.

    An easy way to manage your data usage might be to aim for Wifi friendly campings and those close enough to Starbucks to use their free Wifi 🙂

    1. If you still have a high speed unlimited plan from someone like Verizon, you’re sitting pretty. We are trying to buy one of these off of someone at the moment so we don’t have to worry about this after we start full time travel. We’ll see how it works!

    1. Since we have a Verizon unlimited plan, we don’t really have to worry much about the data that we use. We’re usually in the 50GB to 100GB / month range. During football season, it’s definitely higher ’cause we stream many of the games. But yeah, no issues thus far!

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