How to Save Money On Internet
Internet has become a necessity of everyday life for most people, but it can also be a big monthly expense. Whether you’re on a tight budget, saving for a dream home, or planning for a once-in-a-lifetime vacation, lowering your monthly internet bill can help you meet your goals.
The good news is that you can follow proven approaches to save on monthly internet costs. We’ve compiled a list of some smart moves you can make to keep more money in your pocket. You can apply one, or several, of our tips to get the best internet for your needs at the most affordable price, regardless of the internet service provider (ISP).
Choose an ISP that meets your needs
It’s worth noting that not all ISPs provide coverage in all states, counties, or cities. For instance, some only service the East coast, while others might cover the Midwestern US. However, larger companies tend to have better infrastructure and support, which means lower maintenance costs. This can result in a significant price difference when compared to smaller, local ISPs.
Smaller services may piggyback off larger ISPs, but that could also increase the costs as they would need to pay a fee for using the larger ISP’s infrastructure.
On the other hand, you might find that moving to a local or regional service doesn’t always come with higher costs. Some ISPs don’t need to rely on other providers and can keep their overhead to a minimum. These local or regional ISPs can be a good option, but your best bet is to shop around and compare available providers to see which best fits your needs.
Be honest about your need for speed
While it’s nice to have the highest, unthrottled internet speed, you may not need it. If you’re not streaming HD videos through multiple devices or participating in online gaming, your speed requirements might not be that high. Scaling back your plan can be a great way to save money.
How much speed do you really need? You should be able to get away with 25 to 50Mbps if you’re simply browsing or using the internet for moderate video. A 100Mbps plan might work better if you’re streaming in HD and gaming, or typically have three to five devices accessing the internet at the same time.
The 100+ Mbps packages are better suited to those who want to immerse themselves in what they’re watching in 4K ultra-high definition. If you’re looking at connecting more than five devices simultaneously, this is the minimum speed you’ll want to consider.
Consider the connection type
Not all connection types are the same, even if the speeds are equal. That means you may pay less for a 100Mbps DSL connection than someone with a 100Mbps fiber connection. This is because fiber-optic is pricier than copper or cable. While cable and DSL internet tend to be the cheapest, they have limitations in terms of maximum speed. DSL and cable also run the risk of being phased out over time, as options like fiber internet grow in popularity.
Fiber can be expensive but it offers a higher potential for speed if you want to up your bandwidth. On the highest end of the price spectrum, however, is satellite internet. It’s not very competitive in terms of speed but offers connectivity to more remote destinations that may not have access to fiber or cable internet service.
Check out bundled options
If you’re already paying for cable TV, a mobile phone, and the hardware for your internet service, it’s worth comparing bundled options to see if there are any potential savings.
Items to consider when choosing your ideal bundle include:
- Mobile device(s)
- Hardware such as routers or extenders
- Internet connectivity
- Access to streaming services
- Cloud storage
- Internet security
Some of the best bundles that are currently available include:
Verizon triple play
With Verizon’s triple play deal, households enjoy bundled savings on three standard home services: internet, TV, and home phone. You’re able to choose your internet speed, which can affect the pricing. The savings on the triple play deals are more significant than the double play offer, which is simply home internet and a phone plan.
AT&T and DIRECTV STREAM
These deals combine internet, live TV, DVR cloud storage, and full or limited access to certain streaming services. The cost of the package depends on the internet speed and a few other add-ons that differentiate each package.
There are many other bundle deals to be found by shopping around. Researching providers and packages in your area is the best place to start.
Unbundle if you need to
Needs change, and you may find that you don’t have time to watch live TV, or your mobile phone is paid for by your employer or included in another deal, such as a family plan. That’s why you should regularly check to see whether you need all the services listed in your bundle and take the time to individually price each item to get a feel for the true value of your bundle. If it doesn’t make a price difference, you might as well stay where you are. However, if you’re saving even $10 a month, the cumulative effect of those savings quickly adds up.
Find out if you qualify for free or reduced-cost internet
Members of programs such as the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) or Supplemental Security Income (SSI) should contact their ISPs for potential savings. One important program to know is the Affordable Connectivity Program (ACP), a US government plan for qualifying households. The ACP aims to get people connected to the internet by offering significant reductions in costs. Sometimes, people can get internet for free or at a very low monthly price.
Buy, don’t rent equipment
While it’s tempting to pay that small rental fee each month, it’s worth doing the math to see how much you’ve paid and whether you would have been better off just buying your hardware outright. Good hardware can last a few years, making an outright purchase of a modem and/or router worth it. However, you’ll need to do your homework and buy a device that’s compatible with your ISP.
Move on before the promo runs out
When you sign on for your internet service, you should determine if the cost suddenly goes up in the next year or two, as ISPs must disclose this upfront. Many ISPs run a promotional offer to get new clients on board by promising a low introductory rate that increases after the promotional period runs out. When that increase to the higher rate happens, you may want to look around to see what other ISPs have to offer.
Split the bill
If you happen to have housemates or share living quarters with others, it might be a good idea to share the cost of internet service. Splitting the bill increases affordability which might even open up an opportunity for you to choose a higher speed plan. If you go this route, you’ll need to keep in mind that others might not want to continue sharing internet costs at some point, so ensure that the total monthly payment is still within your affordability range.
Ask for a discount
Your ISP can respond in two ways when you ask for a discount. The first is the one you’re hoping for—they say yes. However, an initial no doesn’t mean you should end the conversation. Instead, you can try to negotiate for lower monthly fees. Companies are eager to negotiate when it comes to costs because it’s cheaper for them to keep an existing client than it is to onboard a new one.
While you can always discuss discounts with an existing provider, you can negotiate when signing on with a new ISP as well. You may be able to secure a special signup bonus, especially if you have a lot to offer your future ISP.
For instance, if you have a large family with multiple devices or a small business that requires higher speeds or multiple connectivity products, your ISP may be willing to give you some consideration. A small sign-on bonus in the way of reduced fees ensures they have a new client and the potential for future revenue.
Hire a bill negotiator
You can hire a professional bill negotiating service to help you save on monthly costs. These companies work with ISPs regularly to help people reduce their bills, so they know what is possible. While there is a service charge, they could save you tens if not hundreds of dollars, depending on the number of services being negotiated and their associated costs.
Keep an eye out for additional charges
Statements offer insight into your internet plan and whether or not you’re paying the right price. Your internet cost might be correct, but an add-on service as part of a bundled product might bump up your monthly bill. A sudden price increase on your statement might also be because you’ve signed up for a promotional deal, which has ended. It’s essential to check whether you’ve signed up for the right package and that you’re not using additional services that you don’t need.
Frequently asked questions (FAQs)
Which ISPs offer cheap internet service?
A little shopping around can yield some great savings on internet plans. While plans and prices are constantly in flux, we’ve seen low rates available from WOW! at $19.99/month for 100Mbps, Xfinity at $25/month for 50Mbps, and Cox at $29.99/month for 25Mbps. If you’re looking for the best price on fiber internet, you may want to consider AT&T’s $55/month 300Mbps plan or Centurylink, which offers 940Mbps for $65/month.
Of course, availability varies, so you’ll need to research what’s available near you. You may be able to save even more with special deals or local rates.
Does my ISP offer discounted rates, such as those subsidized by the government?
Many ISPs participate in the ACP benefit, and you can find lists affiliated providers online. A quick search provides all the information you may need to sign up for the benefit, either with your existing provider or a new one.
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*Pricing varies by location and availability. Speeds may vary. All prices subject to change; for current pricing and availability visit our internet service page. Prices as of 5/23/22.
Disclosure | Updater articles are based on our own data and research, independent from partner relationships. We are not compensated by partners for information and opinions presented here. Our Editorial Terms of Service can be found here.