With AT&T’s new data plans announced and going into effect in less than a week, users may feel the need to do some preparation.

Existing customers will be allowed to keep the current unlimited data plan for ~$30 per month if they wish, even when signing a new 2-year agreement. The catch is you cannot get back to the unlimited plan if you decide to move to one of the new plans. The two new plans have a maximum monthly transfer limit that could end up costing you your sanity in overage charges, so you’ll likely want to look into your past usage and keep track of your data as you go along. There are a handful of ways to go about it…

1) Go to www.wireless.att.com/accounts/, log into the wireless area, and go to Usage & Recent Activity near the top of the page. You can also View Past Data Usage (Data usage is at the very bottom of the page.)

2) You can call *DATA# ( *3282# ) from your iPhone and you’ll receive a free text message with the relevant information.

3) Get the AT&T myWireless Mobile app, log-in, go to the Usage section, and tap on the Data tab.

4) You can even go to the Settings app on your iPhone and go to the Usage section to see how much data you’ve transferred. This is only useful if you reset the counters at the beginning of each billing cycle.

Along with these…

Customer Text Notifications On Data Usage. When customers begin to approach their monthly usage limit, AT&T will send three text notifications – after they reach 65 percent, 90 percent and 100 percent of the threshold. Customers will also be sent emails if AT&T has their email address.

It’s also important to note…

Customers will see their usage reflected in their tools generally within 15 hours or less of actual data usage.

Now those of us who don’t gouge data, except around our trusty and high speed Wi-Fi spots (including AT&T’s), can save up to ~$180 per year on our wireless bills.