The best apps for keeping track of your spending
The summer holidays can be tough on everyone’s wallets. We’ve rounded up some of the best free apps available for your phone to help you keep an eye on your spending.
Finding a data plan that offers a sufficient amount of data and won’t break the bank can be hard these days. While fully unlimited plans are starting to become more available, you can often be saddled with unexpected charges, speed throttling or hidden limits.
We’ve put together some handy tips to help you set up customised limits and alerts to keep an eye on your data usage and get the most out of your plans.
Use Wi-Fi wherever you can
The best and most obvious way to save your mobile data is by making sure you use Wi-Fi wherever it’s available. Most shopping centres, restaurants and cafes offer free Wi-Fi for you to use whilst you’re out and about, only requiring you to sign up with your email address to get online.
Wi-Fi is even starting to become available on everyday public transport such as buses and coaches, rather than just trains.
Set data alerts and limits
If you have an iPhone, you can easily check your data usage by going to Settings > Cellular or Mobile Data. However, your data stats don’t reset each billing period automatically, so if you want more accurate monthly stats, you have to do it yourself by manually resetting.
Another easy way to check your usage is by using your mobile network app. This can tell you how much of your data allowance you’ve used per month and will normally warn you when you’re about to run out. For example, O2 send you a text when you reach your 50% limit, 75% limit and 100% limit, ensuring that you don’t run over and rack up a huge unexpected bill.
Limit background data
Background data is one of the biggest drains on your data allowance, and often you won’t even realise it’s happening. Features such as your mail constantly working to sync new emails as you receive them or setting your device to automatically download new app updates can swallow tons of your data, especially if you’re out somewhere with no Wi-Fi to help it along.
Fortunately, you can check which apps are guzzling the most data and make any necessary changes you need to save some megabytes. In iOS, this is located under Settings > Cellular or Mobile Data, and in Android it’s under Settings > Wireless & Networks > Data usage or Settings > Connections > Data usage.
Use apps with offline options
Lots of streaming apps allow you to download content that you can listen to or watch at a later data without needing access to the internet.
Netflix gives you the option to download a certain selection of shows and films to your device, meaning that you can watch them when you’re running low on data or unable to connect to the internet, such as on a flight.
Music mogul Spotify also allows offline downloads if you’re a Spotify Premium member, ensuring you don’t have to use all your data up when listening to your tunes on your morning commute.