8 Ways to Save on Your Internet Bill
You’re paying too much for your internet. With providers increasing prices, setting caps on streaming and downloads, and service that isn’t reliable or speedy, there’s no reason to keep paying hundreds of dollars each month for your internet.
Start saving by taking a stand. Do some digging into what, exactly, you’re paying for on your internet bill. There are a number of ways to cut costs, but it’s crucial that you know what to look for–and how to negotiate with your internet company.
If you’re looking for ways to lower your current internet expenses, follow our tips below.
1. Compare Prices Between Providers
Your current provider isn’t the only one out there–there are a number of providers who all offer different options, like internet and cable, satellite internet, and fios. Before you consider switching to another internet provider, make sure you do a full comparison of your options.
Get quotes from at least three different providers to make sure you’re getting the best deal out there. You’ll probably find that other providers offer cheaper rates (and you might qualify for special discounts or deals as a new customer). Make sure you ask what specific features or internet speeds you will be paying for, too.
2. Purchase Your Own Equipment
If you’re planning on sticking with an internet provider for an extended period of time, it’s cheaper to buy your own hardware than it is to rent it from your provider. Most internet providers charge about $15 every month for their equipment, meaning you can save upwards of $150 a year by using your own.
All you have to do is buy a router and modem, which shouldn’t cost you more than $50. Before buying, check with your internet provider–they may require you to use a certain brand or a certain type of router or modem, or else your internet won’t work. Your internet provider won’t offer help with your personal equipment if you run into connectivity problems because of this.
3. Test Your Internet Speeds
Are you sure you’re getting the internet speed you were promised? There’s a way to check.
You can test your internet service speeds via Speedtest.net to make sure your connection is as fast as it should be. Remember, you’re paying a monthly price that’s based on how speedy your internet is; if the connection isn’t living up to what was promised, you don’t need to keep paying extra.
Test your speeds a few times throughout the day to make sure it’s consistent. If speeds fluctuate, you should notify your Internet provider and try to get the problem resolved. If they can’t, you should try negotiating reduced monthly payments for your slow Internet speeds.
4. Apply for Government Subsidies
Believe it or not, you can qualify for government subsidies that can help you pay for internet access. Many internet providers will allow you to apply online to see if you qualify for a reduced rate based on your income.
If your provider doesn’t offer this option, other government agencies do. The nonprofit group EveryoneOn can help you determine your eligibility. If you’re still curious about what you can save with government help, you can find out more information via the Federal Communications Commission.
5. Bundle Your Services
If you get a suite of different services beyond internet alone, save yourself some money by bundling. Whether you’re already getting your internet, cable, and telephone service from the same company or you’re using different providers, consider bundling your services together.
A bundle reduces costs across the board, lowering the rate of each service you’re paying for. Some might even become free–for example, some providers will offer landline telephone service at no cost if you’re already paying for cable and internet. The savings you experience by bundling will depend on where you live and your specific utility provider.
Do keep in mind, though, that you shouldn’t sign up for services you don’t need just because you want to bundle. This will end up costing you more, not less. Only bundle services if the total cost is lower, not higher.
6. Threaten to Cancel
You can also lower your monthly internet costs by negotiating with your service provider. You don’t need to be an expert negotiator to get a better deal on your Internet. Simply head into the negotiation process with the mindset that you know you can get a better deal somewhere else, and you will cancel your service if necessary.
Be prepared to walk away from the company, but don’t make any threats you aren’t prepared to keep. Additionally, you should back up your position with proof. Research other service providers in your area (including your own) and check out the promotional prices they offer to new customers. This way, you can head into the negotiation armed with knowledge.
If negotiations fail and you’re unable to land a better deal elsewhere, there is still a way to get new customer promotional pricing. If you have a spouse or roommate who hasn’t had an account with the provider before, just cancel the service in your name and reopen it in the other person’s name.
7. Cut Down Your Usage
Another great way to lower your internet bill is to learning what you’re using your bandwidth on and cut down your usage. Think about how much bandwidth you’ll need on a regular basis. Remember that your total bandwidth is shared by all internet-connected devices on your Wi-Fi connection including smartphones, tablets, smart TVs, and computers.
Different internet activities require different bandwidths. For example, browsing the web typically only requires 1 megabit per second (mbps), but streaming HD video requires 5 to 8 mbps.
Once you figure out how much you’re currently using and how you can cut down, you can lower your bill. Switch down to a lower tier with your current provider that better suits your needs. After all, you don’t want to overpay for the service. The trick to this tactic to make sure you don’t drop down to a new tier and forget to cut back on your usage–overage fees are incredibly high, and they can total more than your whole bill.
8. Remove Services You Don’t Use
Internet service providers are always trying to upsell you and talk you into buying services you don’t need. You can lower your bill by canceling these services and other extras. Only pay for what you use.
Consider downsizing your internet service. If you’re paying for premium service, but you only use your internet at home to browse Twitter and send emails, you should switch your plan to a lower bandwidth.
Arm Yourself With Money-Saving Knowledge
Getting the best price on your internet isn’t easy. Internet providers don’t want to give away savings, and they certainly don’t want customers discovering new ways to eat away at profits.
You need the right information before you can effectively convince your internet provider to negotiate and offer a better, more reasonable monthly bill. Prepare yourself with competitor pricing, and you can argue your case for a lower price successfully.