I have been using a tool called vnstat, and there is a php front end available which gives nice graphs.  both easy to set up and can be forgotten about untill you need to know

On Tue, Jul 26, 2011 at 11:58 AM, Peter Reutemann <fracpete@waikato.ac.nz> wrote:
Hi there

Since the question came up at yesterday's WLUG meeting, of how to
monitor internet traffic, especially over a whole month to track data
usage on limited plans (eg 3G). I just had another look on the
internet and came across "Netmonitor screenlet" for Ubuntu/Gnome,
which seems to do the trick:
 http://www.botskool.com/geeks/network-tools-monitor-internet-data-usage-ubuntu-1010

HTH

Cheers, Peter
--
Peter Reutemann, Dept. of Computer Science, University of Waikato, NZ
http://www.cs.waikato.ac.nz/~fracpete/           Ph. +64 (7) 858-5174
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Rob