You may have noticed recently how mobile data costs have nearly doubled over the last few weeks. At the same time, there is always so much that we want to do on the ‘net – whether it’s for fun or work. It can seems like a no-win situation: we either pay more or we reduce our time online. But, what if you didn’t have to do either? What if there was a super-clever fix that lets you continue to enjoy all the goodies the internet has to offer, while not worrying about mounting data costs?

Well, the good news is, we have a fix for you – you can indeed have the best of both worlds.Using mobile data when camping

Save data the Opera Max way

Opera Max is a free data-management and data-savings app for Android. It uses a virtual private network to route your online traffic — and this includes data used by most apps, as well as browsers — via Opera’s cloud and compresses it before sending it to your device. So, whether you are watching video, sharing photos, social networking or simply browsing, less data is being delivered to your mobile phone, which means your precious mobile-data limit takes a smaller hit. And, this means that you can continue to do the same (or more!) online for less data than you’d use without Opera Max.

Opera Max also has an option to prevent apps from sneakily accessing the ‘net in the background. It also doesn’t handle  your encrypted data. So, as a security-conscious user, you can rest assured that sensitive material, such as banking apps and the like, are not rerouted through the usual Opera Max cloud, but delivered directly to your device.

Save the Opera Mini way

If you’re a mobile data user and haven’t yet heard of Opera Mini, you don’t know what you’ve been missing. This pint-sized browser also works on the same principle —  it compresses data before it reaches your phone or tablet. Even though you may  get reduced quality of some graphics, the faster load times and data savings will more than make up for it. Opera Mini is available for Android, iOS and Windows Phone, as well as for basic Java phones.

Apply common sense

You’d be surprised how far a little bit of common sense goes in keeping your internet bills under control. For example, switch off your mobile data connection when not using it. Set updates or attachments to download only over Wi-Fi. Disable auto-sync on your smartphone. Choose a music-streaming service that allows offline listening. Use Google Maps’ offline mode. In short, don’t do online what can be done offline.

What do you do to keep your data usage down? Share your tips in the comments below.

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