Follow these tips to better manage your monthly data usage.

According to the market research firm NPD, the average American consumes between 2GB and 3GB of data per month. The truth is that consumers' data usage is all over the map, with some blowing past their plan allotments in the first week of a contract, and others barely dipping. But if consumers take a look at their usage habits, they can better manage their data needs going forward.

One tool we created for this purpose is the My Verizon mobile app. It allows users to track when, where and how much data they're using each month.

With the combo of Wi-Fi connectivity and the My Verizon mobile app, you can choose when to use your data allowance, know exactly how much data you're using each month and figure out if you need more or less.

Wi-Fi cuts down on data usage

It's hard to know exactly how much data is needed for any given online activity, because actual file sizes and download times vary. For a 3G/4G LTE smartphone, a text-only email could be featherweight, but the data required to send it can be considerable. On the 4G LTE network, audio streaming and standard definition video streaming use 60 MB per hour and 350 MB per hour, respectively.

Bottom line? It's always best to use a secure Wi-Fi connection to do all of your heavy downloading and streaming.  

Monitoring data usage

Keeping track of your usage throughout the month is important. With the My Verizon mobile app, users have a convenient, comprehensive channel for viewing their monthly data usage. And it's not just useful at the end of a billing cycle. The app gives Verizon users a detailed rundown of how much they've used up to any given point. You can set limits on data and get notifications at certain percentage benchmarks, and add more data if need be. Monitoring gives users a better understanding of how much data they actually need.

How much data do you need?

After viewing monthly usage or tracking it wih the My Verizon mobile app, you might find that you use more or less data than your plan includes. Changing a plan is simple. Just pick a new data allotment within the app or go to