Breaking down the cost of everyday data use

Have you ever wondered how much it costs to send an e-mail or browse Facebook? How much are you paying to watch YouTube or use your phone as a GPS?

It isn’t very simple to figure all of these things out as the number varies between carriers and depending on your service and smartphone. Verizon has a data calculator on its website to help customers figure out which data plan they need. I decided to crunch the numbers to help you decide if you’re buying enough data so as to not go over the limit.

According to Verizon’s calculator, sending 25 emails a day from your phone generally takes up 7 MB of data a month. If you browse 25 websites a day on your phone, it’s using around 293 MB/month.

Watching or streaming videos is the biggest data hog. Watching just 30 minutes a day of Netflix, YouTube or even those auto-play Facebook videos is 5.25 GB of your data plan each month.

Streaming music from Pandora, Spotify or Amazon Music for an hour a day takes another 1.8 GB of data and uploading photos to Facebook, Instagram or Snapchat every day will eat up around 9 MB a month.

Many people are using their phones for GPS navigation. If it’s always on during your 30 minute commute each day, Waze or Google Maps will take 1.3 GB of your plan.

All of this, for one phone adds up to 11.55 GB per month of data usage. That fits well into the limit of a 20 GB monthly plan. It isn’t enough for 2 phones sharing the same data. If the phones use the same amount of data you’ll go over your limit by around 3 GB

Families trying to use the same 20 GB plan will almost certainly go over and have to pay overage charges. Since kids generally use much more data than their parents uploading photos to Instagram and Snapchat and watching more videos over the network a family can easily reach 45-50 GB of data spent each month. On a 20 GB plan, that’s a lot of overcharges.

Fortunately for families all of the wireless carriers are offering data plans again because like a $20 bill, 20 GB doesn’t go as far as it used to.

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