How to survive with 50MB of data every month?

Pre-exam de-stress.

For the better half of this year, I've been enjoying the comfort of home - that is staying close to the people I love most in this world and having access to cheap 3G. How cheap? Well in prepaid terms there are a few plans, the most limited is 50MB for 10,000VND (just slightly over .50).
I picked just that. Here's how I survived.

1. Use an Android.
Since the introduction of 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich, data limiting is built in to Settings.
And since most Androids out there are running 4.x, we're off to a good start.

2. Use that setting.
There are two main settings to take note - setting limits & disable background data. First, set the "red" limit to the bandwidth cap i.e. 50MB. Then set the "orange" limit to slightly lower e.g 40MB. Most important, DISABLE BACKGROUND DATA. Because when you only have 50MB, every random sync counts.

That takes care of "passive" data draining. How about "active"?

3. Don't use data-hungry apps.
Good examples: Instagram, Facebook, Twitter.
They are data-hungry because they attempt to sync as soon as they are opened. Use alternatives that don't attempt to auto-sync like... on Opera Mini or (my personal favorite) Tweedle for Twitter.
Speaking of Opera Mini, highly recommended because it compresses pages before delivering them. Less data. Chrome does the same thing, but not as efficient (and it must be toggled in Settings).
And WhatsApp? Not a major problem unless you're transmitting like 10 batches of photos every minute.

And the most critical point.

4. Use (unlimited) wifi as the PRIMARY mode of connection.
Because great people of the Internet, you simply don't live on 50MB of data every month.

Basically it will work wonders if data is secondary e.g. I'm on the road and I need to do a few searches or write a random tweet. But if you don't have wifi, just go with unlimited data. Still cheaper than pay-per-use.

And if you have more than 50MB a month, you are accorded certain degrees of freedom when it comes to data usage. Take my current situation for example, 350MB for 50 days. 7MB a day is rather generous, so I could afford to upload a random photo to Instagram if I wish to. Plus I don't need to disable background data; instead I curb it using a little application called Greenify (its paid version allows data-friendly GCM syncs to go through. Which means real-time WhatsApp on the go).

Results? Still got 150MB after 50 days, which rolls over as long as I top up at the right time.
And the original case? Didn't even hit 40MB.

The bottom-line: it's possible. Just have to make (a few) sacrifices.

All the best for exams everyone.


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