I may need to start monitoring my data usage

Evan Selleck
Contributing Editor from  Arizona
| January 21, 2014

Finding a Wi-Fi hotspot isn't as hard as it used to be, but it can still be tricky depending on where you live, work, or where you may be traveling to. I never used to pay much attention to them, but now that I've ditched unlimited data in the last year or so, I feel like they can be an island in a huge sea. That last-ditch effort to save yourself from getting submerged.

Of course, even if you don't have unlimited data, you are probably safe enough month-to-month. The carriers that have done away with unlimited data offer plenty of monthly allowance, as long as you're willing to dish out the cash. Each case is going to be different, and it'll all come down to how much data you consume on a monthly basis, but when it comes to the two biggest carriers here in the States, you also have to take note of that data bucket.

It's Verizon's Share Everything and AT&T's Mobile Share. As you can see, that "share" word is the common denominator, and it says everything you'll need to know about the new data plans. You have to share a certain amount of data every month with everyone on your plan, whether that's just two lines or five or more.

I don't use a lot of data on a normal basis, thanks to those Wi-Fi hotspots (and the Wi-Fi at my home). I had 6GB per month allotted to my plan for three active lines up until very recently, and I just switched it down to 4GB per month. I use the most data compared to the other lines, and even I barely ever get to 2GB. So, dropping the monthly plan, and the monthly cost, just made sense.

I'm still on my road trip right now, and Verizon recently unveiled a brand new tier to their Share Everything plan: 250MB per month, for $20 every month. Add that to the $40 smartphone access, and you've got yourself a bill of $60 for 250MB of data. Not a lot of data, that's for sure, but the price tag could be worthwhile to anyone who's looking to save money, and who's near Wi-Fi pretty much everywhere they go.

That plan could never work for me, because of these road trips that I go on, but it could possibly work for someone like my mom. She varies on her monthly allotment, but I think she could probably get by on 250MB per month. 

When I saw that new plan, and as I drive around using data without any Wi-Fi around, I couldn't help but think about my own data usage, and how much it's probably going to spike on this trip. I don't plan on being on the road for much longer, so I won't have to worry about it soon, but with two days already down and one more to go, I realized I probably have to start monitoring it.

Which got me curious: How do you monitor your data on a monthly basis? If you don't have an unlimited access to data every month, do you even monitor your usage at all? And if you do still have unlimited data, are you refusing to get rid of it for any particular reason? Do you just use a lot of data, and don't want to pay the equivalent on any of the Share plans? Or, does it simply come down to the fact you're not ready to leave a carrie that still offers it? Let me know!