The other day my husband and I got a letter in the mail from our internet service provider stating that new data limits will be set on our current internet plan. While this does stink, it doesn’t necessarily mean that we’ll be paying more. In fact, our provider (Cox Communications) is one of the last to enforce such limits.
How much data is your family actually using? This should be listed on your account/statement depending on which internet service provider you have. With Cox, we will get an email when we reach 85% of the data usage for the month and again when we hit 100% of our data usage for the month. Curious to see just how much you can stream/data you can use before going over? This handy tool will help no matter which provider you have. We maxed out every single option on this tool and it’s still showing below the new monthly limit. If you are big into online gaming or if you stream a lot you may have an issue.
My family is currently only using about half of the allocated data usage, and according to my husband (the former cable guy at said company) only about 2% of households will surpass this 1TB per month limit.
Still going over? Read on, friend.
Ways to Reduce Data Usage in Your Home
1. Turn off maps/GPS/locator in apps on your phone. These location services are constantly running in the background and if your phone is connected to your home’s wifi that’s just soaking up the data. Go to settings and location to see which apps are tracking you and turn them off. Bonus: it’s kinda creepy.
2. Switch browsers on your computer. Google Chrome compresses (ie: uses less) data on laptops and computers. Hey, it all adds up. If you’re not looking to change browsers, consider going to the “light” version of your preferred browser.
3. Download your music instead of streaming. Streaming music and/or video hogs up the data. Instead, play from your iTunes library or bust out those old CDs.
4. Get off the wifi. Do you have unlimited cell phone data? I know we do. While the wifi will speed up your phone’s browser, it also goes against the data usage in your home. If you’ve got unlimited phone data, get off that wifi, yo!
6. Don’t just turn off the TV. My kids have a horrible habit of turning off the TV while leaving the Roku, Chromecast or Amazon Fire Stick streaming. Get them in the habit of turning it all off at once.
7. Use lower quality streaming on YouTube. Do you watch a lot of YouTube videos? There are several channels I subscribe to and watch frequently. Did you know you can watch in lower quality which uses less data? On YouTube, just click the settings on the video (the gear) and change the quality of the video.
8. Lower the quality of streaming on Netflix. Why play Ultra HD/4K quality if you don’t have a 4K TV? Lower that to a decent/tolerable level and save that data. Don’t want to lower that quality all the time? Just do it when you notice you’re about to go over your limit for the month. Find this option under account > Playback settings.
9. Turn off auto-play. Do you fall asleep to TV? You may want to check the auto play feature on your streaming service. I know Netflix, Hulu and Amazon Prime all give you the option to turn off auto play. No use streaming video after you’ve fallen asleep.
10. Make sure your security is set on your router. Is your wifi not secured with a password? Your neighbors may be using your data without you even knowing. Secure, secure, secure!
What other ways are we missing? Let us know in the comments!