Money-Saving Tips: Those Pesky Data Limits on your Internet Bill

I’m going to put this out there in case you didn’t already discover it for yourself. I’m probably repeating everyone, but we learned this the hard way, and had to figure out the solution (easy!) on our own!

Back when we first moved, I sat the kids in front of the Netflix way more than I care to admit. But I was trying to get the house in working order, and I needed them to be entertained so I could focus!

(I will note here that now that I am not relying on Netflix to babysit my kids during Lent, I have realized that they are a lot more entertained just playing with their toys and with each other. In fact, I think they were more needy when they were watching the Netflix. I guess that was a rookie mistake, if moms of 4 are allowed to make those.)

Anyhoo, a few (11 or 9) days into our internet billing month, and a big red “Notice” appeared on our screens telling us that we had been warned, we had already used 90% of our allotted data for the month. Then the next day, it said we were over, and we had been charged an extra $10 for going over our data limits.

They will tell you that the limits are really high and that normal usage should not take you over. They will tell you they have no idea what you, the internet junkie/horrible parent for sitting your kid in front of Netflix for hours on end, have done to take your usage to its limits…but you did. And the advice? Don’t watch so much streaming video.

Well, Michael looked up how much streaming video you should be able to watch with our data limits, and it just didn’t add up. I think in 9 days there was not even enough time in the day to stream enough to use up our allowance. Then we wondered if our handy-dandy Chrome-cast thing was doubling our usage. But after reading a bit about that on the internet, the answer was no. Then we discovered it.

Our Netflix account settings were set to watch HD whenever available. And guess what. Dinosaur Train? HD. My Little Pony? HD. Polar Express? HD. (That last one kills me because I let them watch it on Netflix even though we own it on DVD. Because it was easier than finding the DVD and putting it on.) 19 Kids And Counting? HD. (Yes, I kinda watched a lot of the Duggars while folding laundry and nursing…and no, I don’t plan to have 19 kids).

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The great thing about Netflix is that it keeps a record of everything you watched, so your frugal husband who is greatly annoyed that he got charged an extra $10 for the internet access that month can look at everything you watched, and judge you (fair enough) for all 8 episodes of the Duggars you watched or had on in the background that day.

In your Netflix account settings, you can tell it not to play things in HD. For most things you probably wont even notice a difference. You may even find that you don’t have issues with videos buffering anymore. Every once in a while, if you want to splurge, you can watch something in HD, but those kids cartoons & TLC shows? They’re just as good without it.

Now our usage of our data allowance barely approaches 1/3! Often less….and that’s in our full month. Thanks so much, internet providers, for not suggesting any of this & letting us figure it out for ourselves.

I hope this tip helps you out & if not, at least now you have something to make fun of me for.

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