There’s no getting around the digital world we live in which is why I want to talk about how to save on Internet. Long gone are the days where “using the Internet” consisted of AOL chatrooms and IMs. It’s not uncommon for people to connect to the Internet on multiple devices at the same time – you’re on your laptop, your spouse has the iPad, and your son is streaming a video on his phone. For most people, having Internet at home is a way of life. But it doesn’t have to break the bank. Here are some tips to make sure you’re not spending more than you need to for your Internet.
7 Easy Tips on How to Save on Internet
1. Bundle – but only if it makes sense.
Most Internet Service Providers (ISPs) offer an option to bundle your Internet with cable (or satellite) TV, and/or home phone service. If you’ve already ditched the cable TV or choose not to have a home phone and only use your cell, bundling is clearly not for you. If you do still use cable TV and a home phone, bundling will save you some money.
2. Don’t be fooled by “faster” Internet speeds.
Most households do not need the fastest Internet speed! There is a misconception that if you have the fastest speed, pages will load like lightning and your video will stream without pauses. That’s not how the Internet works. Websites send you data at a certain speed. Let’s say a website you’re visiting sends data at 5 Mbps. Even if your Internet connection is 40 Mbps, it will not make the website send you data any faster than 5Mbps. Where that extra 35 Mbps helps is when you have multiple devices accessing the Internet at the same time (who use that additional 35 Mbps of bandwidth). To see how much you’re using, have all family members get on their devices at one time and use them as they normally would. Use a program like NetWorx to determine how much bandwidth you’re using, and you can then downgrade your Internet tier as appropriate.
3. Buy your own modem/router.
Many ISPs lease you a modem/router, and you end up paying more than you would if you bought it outright. Call your ISP or look on their website to determine what compatible modems/routers you can purchase that will work with their system, and buy your own! They usually last for several years, and you’ll save quite a bit over that time.
4. Call your provider.
If you’re in a contract with your provider, you might have a little less leeway since they know they’ve got you hooked, but give it a try! Call them and ask if they are running any specials where you could get a discount on your bill. Have at the ready some of the deals being offered by other providers so you can mention them on the phone. If at first you don’t succeed, try again! The first rep might say he can’t help you, while the second rep says he can. It’s a fun game, right?
5. Switch providers.
Do your research about the other options out there. Make sure to pay attention to start-up/installation fees and contract terms (a lot of promotional prices increase after 12 months). If the amount you’d pay each month goes down by even $10, that’s an extra $120 in your pocket at the end of the year!
6. Switch to a mobile hotspot.
You might be able to get rid of your ISP altogether if you use a mobile hotspot instead. FreedomPop is a well-known option, and you’ll get 500 MB of data free a month (which is less than it sounds if you’re online a lot). Be careful not to go over the data limit since the cost is pretty hefty if you do. You can buy one of their devices or bring your own if you want to switch over from your current cell provider. Speaking of…
7. Consider Just Using your current cell phone.
If you have a smart phone, it likely can already act as a mobile hotspot. You can use other WiFi enabled devices to connect through your phone. This option will use the data on your cell plan, but if you have the unlimited data package, you’re already paying for it! If you don’t have the unlimited package, look to see what the difference in price is. It may be cheaper to increase your data plan than to keep paying your ISP!
While the Internet won’t be going away anytime soon (or ever), you can get online without feeling the burden to your monthly budget. Have you tried any of the suggestions above? What has worked for you?