Internet is expensive. Here are 8 ways to save on your internet bill

We all need a reliable internet connection, but the monthly cost that comes with it can put a strain on your budget. While some internet service providers are cheaper than others, you can still expect to pay a pretty penny for high-speed internet.

According to Parks Associates data from April 2022, U.S. households spend an average $116 a month on home internet, which represents a significant portion of the change. If you use it for remote work, stream your favorite shows, the online game or video chat with family, it’s hard to live without the Internet. We have it. But to keep your budget in check, there may be a few ways you can reduce your broadband costs and your monthly bills. Here are eight tips:

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1. Examine your Internet bill

Before you can find ways to save, you first need to know how much you’re currently paying. Read your bills from several previous months and try to figure out what your Internet Service Provider is actually charging. What download speed you should receive? You have a data limit? If so, do you stay within that data limit or are you typically charged for overage? It’s important to see how much you pay for your internet speed and data usage. While some fees can’t be removed, you’d be surprised how many can be removed if you ask. So having this information handy will be crucial when it comes time to negotiate with your provider.

Save on your Internet bill Frequently Asked Questions

2. Check your speed needs

You want the fastest speed available, right? Some people have access to a 25Gbps plan, for charity! Let’s be honest: while most of us like the idea of ​​having the the maximum speed of the Internet available, probably not Need It. A fast internet package is probably high on your priority list if you work from home and have others in the house (be it several roommates or a family). But that might still mean you can rely on a 500Mbps plan instead of going straight to a full gigabit tier or even multi-gigabit plan.

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But if it’s just you and a roommate or spouse, or if you don’t work remotely and use your Internet service for little more than email and checking a few sites, you might want to consider reducing your speed further. of the internet. Perhaps you can upgrade from a 500Mbps plan to a 200Mbps level. This could be an easy way to reduce your bill without impacting the quality of your Internet experience.

3. Minimize devices if you can

This is difficult because our homes have become increasingly filled with connected devices, including smart televisions, phones, game consolesvoice assistants, smart thermostats, security cameras, smart watches, etc. The more smart home gadgets you have, the more they will consume your bandwidth. If you’re the only one in your household, you can organize them better so they don’t eat up your data limit (if you have one) or start reducing the overall speed of your home. Fewer devices means you could avoid paying data overage fees and get better internet service.

On the other hand, this probably won’t work if you have other people in the house, like family members or roommates, and they all have multiple devices. It’s one thing to ask your family or roommates to turn off (or minimize usage of) their devices so you can stream a big game, but it’s another to ask them to give it up altogether. .

Father working from home in residential kitchen with family

In a larger household, breaking down the number of internet-connected devices at home can be difficult.

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4. Explore cheap internet options

Another potential way to reduce your home internet spending is to dig into what rebate programs might be available. You should start your search with government programs to help eligible customers cut costs. This starts with Lifeline, a program that offers assistance to low-income families. You’ll get just over $9 a month off your broadband bill if you’re eligible.

If you qualify for Lifeline, you will also be eligible for the Convenient connectivity programa government subsidy from the Federal Communications Commission that offers $30 a month off your Internet service (and up to $75 a month for families in tribal lands).

Finally, while you can use the money and discounts from those federal programs on any Internet plan from the more than 1,600 participating ISPs, you can also pair those subsidies with low-cost plans from providers, nearly all $30 or less. This means that you could get your home internet service for free. In the past, that might have meant paltry speeds of 10Mbps or less, but in 2022, many providers committed to offering low-cost plans with a minimum download speed of 100 Mbps. This is a significant difference.

5. Search for available competitors

Now that you know your internet speed, what you use it for, and how much you’re paying to get your home broadband, it’s time to shop around. Many competitors are vying for your business. For example, TMobile and Verizon have aggressively entered the home internet space with their 5G home internet products. Other providers will happily give you an introductory fee that is lower than what you currently pay. Sometimes smaller local ISPs can provide a better rate than internet giants like AT&T extension AND Comcast Xfinitybut that’s not always the case. Use our comparison shopping tool to search suppliers in your area.

Before you sign up, get an idea of ​​your monthly costs when you switch your Internet service to a new provider. Compare what you are paying now with what you will pay next month, six months and year. Along with that, what is the cost at the end of the promotional plan? Also consider your long-term use. With the competitive landscape out there, try to avoid signing long-term contracts unless you know for sure that you are getting the best possible rate at your address.

AT&T and Xfinity logos on phones

Shop around a bit before making a decision on your next Internet provider.

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6. Consider using your equipment

Some Internet service providers charge an additional monthly fee for modem and router rentals. Sometimes it’s just an extra $5 a month, but some ISPs charge up to $15 a month. In the long run, it may prove cheaper to buy your own, which may even increase speed and performance. My CNET colleague, Ry Crist, goes into more detail about saving using your modem and router.

7. Bundle your broadband

Of course, your Internet connection isn’t the only home service you pay for. You could pay less with bundling the Internet with other services, such as cell phone and cable TV plans. Check if your provider offers discounted bundle packages. If you like the offer, signing up through the company’s website is usually easy.

This is a good idea if you use what you buy. If you’ve cut the cord and are now a streaming family, buying a cable TV package might not be the best move.

8. Negotiate with your Internet provider

You reviewed your bill and checked your internet speed. You’ve counted how many devices you own and compared competing offerings. Now you can negotiate with your current ISP and call them with confidence.

This isn’t always the easiest or most time-efficient step, but it’s an important one. If you’ve had the same provider for a few years, they’re more likely to work with you to lower your bill. Many will ask the same questions: Can you slow down your internet speed? Can you increase your internet speed (they will often try to lure you into a faster speed by offering better promotions and a better cost per Mbps)? You are now equipped to better answer these questions.

Do your research on the competition. If you mention offers from competitors you’ve encountered, your customer service representative may be able to offer you a deal to keep you a happy customer. Knowing about competing offerings gives you an edge: Your provider knows you can switch to another ISP if you don’t like what you currently have or what’s on offer.

Ask your current provider, if any promotions are available for new customers. If so, you would like to receive them too. If you haven’t found a deal that fits your budget (or you’ve come across an inflexible sales rep), you can hang up the call and try again later, or plan to end your service with that provider.

Don’t be afraid to cancel your service. It may take some time to close one account and open another, but it’s worth saving a significant amount. But remember, it’s not just the promotion period. If not, you may need to negotiate the bill this time next year when the promotional rate has ended.

Save on your Internet bill Frequently Asked Questions

Is it possible to get home internet service for free?

YES. You will have to take advantage of some federal programs to do this. Get started with Lifeline, a government program that can get eligible customers a little over $9 off their monthly Internet service cost. If you qualify for Lifeline, you’re eligible for the FCC’s Affordable Connectivity Program, which gives you $30 off your home broadband connection. Many ISPs nationwide have plans of up to 100Mbps download speed for $30 or less, so you can use your federal rebates to get free internet at home.

What is the cheapest type of internet connection?

This is a tricky question because a lot depends on what’s available in your location. In general, fiber internet often offers the best cost per Mbps, where you’ll get the most download and upload speeds for your money. However, as far as the cheapest internet goes, at least in terms of what you’ll pay upfront, which usually comes from cable internet providers. Their first year promotional prices can be hard to beat. Just avoid signing any long-term contracts so that you can give up once the price goes up.

Do internet prices always go up after a year?

Often they do. Many providers will offer an attractive price for the first 12 months of service and then raise the price after a year. However, we see the practice declining as more competition has developed. Some providers, like AT&T, Spectrum and Verizon Fios, for example, don’t do promotional pricing, while others, including Optimum and Verizon 5G Home Internet, offer two- to three-year price guarantees. Not to be outdone, some other providers (including T-Mobile Home Internet) will offer a price lock guarantee for the life of your contract.

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