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How Much Data Do You Need? Check Your Usage to Save $756 Per Year

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How to check your data usage on iPhone and Android, and how doing so can save you up to $756 per year

Have you ever wondered how much cellular data you use, or how much you actually need? Does the unlimited data plan you are on right now, for example, even make sense?

It turns out, checking your data usage and selecting an affordable phone plan to meet your actual data needs can save you from $340 to $756 dollars per year.

In this post I'm showing you exactly how to check your data usage on both iPhone and Android, and I’ll even show you great plans to choose from that start at just $7 per month. The best part? Because this is based on your actual data usage, you can continue to use your phone exactly how you’re used to. 

And if you check your usage and it turns out you do need unlimited data? I'll show you the best cheap unlimited data plans to choose from.

It turns out most people don't need an unlimited data plan

The reason I am writing this article is because many people have unlimited plans, even if they don’t need unlimited data.

Reach Mobile recently conducted a survey of 400 respondents, and they found 33% used less than 5GB, and 85% use less than 10GB of data per month. Yet, over 90% pay more than $60/month for their unlimited plans.

Guys, this is expensive and a huge opportunity to save a lot of money.

451 Research estimates the average smartphone data usage will be 7.2GB per month in 2020, and predicts it will only grow to 8.9GB per month in 2021.

Even Verizon themselves say most smartphones on their network average about 2GB of data each month.

So how much data do you need? Here’s how you find out:

How to check your data usage on iPhone

On iPhone, go to settings > cellular. Here at the top you can see your data usage. Mine is 5.6GB. But you can also see it says “current period”. To figure out what your current period is, scroll all the way down to the bottom.

Here you can see when your statistics were last reset. Mine were last reset on December 14th, 2019, which means I’ve used 5.6GB between December 14th and Today, February 7th.

Now take your total data usage, divide it by the number of days in your current period, and this will give you your average data usage per day. Multiply this by 30 and you’ll get your average data usage per month. 

For me, this is about 3GB per month. So if I get a plan with a little bit more data, say 4GB or 5GB, I’ll be set for the month and these plans are much more affordable than unlimited plans.

How to check your data usage on Android

To check your data usage on Android, go to settings > network & internet > mobile network and here right up top you can see your current usage for the month. 

Now, what’s even cooler is you can tap on “App Data Usage” and see historical charts of your data usage. You can use these charts to estimate how much data you need each month. 

For me, I’m all over the place using about 3GB, 14GB, 182MB, and 839MB, so I’d probably say this phone would be fine with about a 3GB-5GB plan.

Now, how can this information help you save up to $600 per year? Well, because if you don’t need an unlimited plan, you can often find a plan for much cheaper. 

Not only that, but you can get the same coverage you’re used to, because all carriers in the United States will use either Verizon, AT&T, Sprint, or T-Mobile networks for coverage.

Best Cheap Data Plans on Verizon, AT&T, Sprint, and T-Mobile

So here are some of the best, most affordable plans, and how they can save you money on service. I’ll also leave these linked in the video description if you want to check them out. 

Best Cheap Verizon Plans

On Verizon, instead of paying $80/month for Verizon Do More Unlimited, you can get a super affordable plan from US Mobile. These will save you anywhere from $600 to $720 per year. You can also check out affordable plans from Red Pocket too. Oh, and if you need unlimited data, definitely check Visible. This plan will still save you $480 per year.

Best Cheap AT&T Plans

On AT&T, instead of paying $75 per month for AT&T Unlimited Extra, you can get an amazingly affordable plan from Pure TalkUSA. You can save anywhere from $360 to $600 per year. Cricket has some great options too, and heck, even AT&T’s own 8GB promotion will save you $600 per year. If you need unlimited data, check out Wing’s plan. I’ve seen this discounted down to $50 at times, and it can save you around $240 per year.

Best Cheap Sprint Plans

On the Sprint network, instead of paying Sprint $70 per month for Sprint Unlimited Plus, DEFINITELY check out Tello. They have straight up some of the best deals on the Sprint network right now. 1GB for $7, 2GB for $11, 4GB for $16, and they even go up to 25GB for $39.

These plans will save you anywhere from $360 to $756 per year. And if you need unlimited, consider Sprint Kickstart for only $35 per month, saving you $420 per year.

Finally on the T-Mobile network, instead of paying $70 per month for T-Mobile Magenta, you could be paying $15 to $25 per month for a plan from Mint Mobile. With 3GB to 12GB options to choose from, Mint is great for average users, and their plans will again, save you up to $660 per year. And if you need unlimited, Simple Mobile has a plan for just $50 per month.

Of course, all of these plans are just suggestions of plans to look into. Really what I want the message of this video to be is checking your monthly data usage and finding an affordable plan to meet your needs instead of just going with an unlimited plan can save you a LOT of money on cell service. 

You can check out even more options for affordable plans in my best cell phone plans 2020 video, which you can find


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Stetson Doggett profile picture
Stetson Doggett

Stetson graduated from Ithaca College in 2019 with a degree in Communication Management and Design. He launched BestPhonePlans.net as part a senior project in school. He loves helping people find great, affordable cell phone plans that meet their needs. When he’s not reviewing cell phone plans on his YouTube channel or website, Stetson is out hiking in the crisp Colorado air, playing board games with friends, or competing in an epic game of pickleball.

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