Are you paying for data you don’t need?

Or do you have enough?

Pre-paid smartphone plans are gaining popularity as consumers look for ways to cut their sometimes $400/month phone bill. Some of these prepaid plans advertise a $25/month which sounds good, but when you look closer it is only for 8gb of data. Is that enough?

Of course, some people can get by with 8gb or 10gb per month, but for the most, there will be overages. Maybe big time.

I thought I’d do the math to find out how much data some of the more popular apps and actions require. These numbers do not reflect usage when you’re on a wifi network.

According to multiple sites, browsing Facebook gobbles up about 95 mbs per hour. That doesn’t sound too bad until you consider that many power-Facebook users are on the app 4 or more hours a day. If they’re watching videos or uploading photos, the data being spent is much greater. But for the sake of discussion, let’s say you spend just an hour a day using Facebook on your cellular network. For a month you’re using just under 3 gbs.

Browsing the internet is about the same amount. Almost all of us will spend more time than an hour on either the internet or Facebook, but we will use nice even numbers (because I’m not great and multiplication).

Streaming video is a huge data hog. According to Netflix, an hour of streaming video is 1 gb. That’s as much as 3gb for just one movie. Already, we’re at 9 gb used, and that’s before you consider the photo and video uploads to Instagram or Snapchat, YouTube, Pandora, Spotify, Waze or Google Maps and sending emails.

Do you use these apps? Do you watch a lot of videos and listen to a lot of music? Do you use your phone as a GPS on long rides? You might want to find an unlimited plan.