How can I enforce a low-power level in Mage: The Ascension?

I’m preparing for a Mage:The Ascension game as a storyteller. While my players and I enjoy many aspects of Mage and World of Darkness in general, we would like a much lower power level than seems baseline for Mage.

We aren’t interested in traipsing through other planes of existence with seeming god-like powers. The chronicle is shooting for a grittier, low-adventure setting where many challenges are solved through mundane skills, perhaps supported by magic.

As a relatively new storyteller, I’m not sure how to create this effect in my chronicle. There are a few tools that seem readily at hand, but I’m not sure which (if any) are going to help reach my goals without breaking something else in the game. My current ideas:

  • Award experience more slowly than recommended (so powers don’t get out of hand too quickly)
  • Place hard caps on magical spheres, arete, and probably other things
  • Limit freebie points, maximum spheres, and other things during character creation

How can I reduce the power of player-mages in my chronicle to create a low-adventure game without inadvertently hampering some other aspect of the game?