Balancing your budget in times of economic turmoil is a tough task. Expenses keep on piling up, bearing down on your savings and forcing you to live from paycheck to paycheck. This includes internet bills, too. Though internet services like Time Warner internet are offering low-cost plans for low-income households, it’s not enough to make a significant change.
Despite everything, consumers are expected to pay $70 or so every month to their internet providers. This average cost may sound affordable to some high-living households, but for others, who are in a cash crunch, it is a major warning sign for monetary destitution. So, how can you cut down your internet bill every month? Here are a few tried-and-tested tips to consider in this regard.
Reduce Your Data Usage
To lower your monthly internet bill, start by lowering your internet consumption. Reduce your data usage from the get-go. Disable internet connectivity on devices that are not in active use. Close all background applications and programs, which are notorious for eating up data. Stream your videos in SD quality that only consumes 700 MB per hour instead of 4K UHD. Avoid heavy downloads. Allocate bandwidth optimally to all the members of the household, setting a data-saving schedule in place. Prioritize online activities, while you are at it.
Thus, by reducing your data consumption, you will be able to save up on bandwidth and won’t require higher-tier internet that goes overboard on both prices and speeds.
Downgrade Your Internet Plan
Internet service providers often advertise faster download speeds prominently to trick customers into buying the top speed tiers that they might not even need. This is a marketing strategy, which works out in the favor of the ISPs. Since higher download speeds cost more, so people end up paying for unsuitable internet plans that waste their money eventually. Moreover, as prices go up every few months, subscribers are forced to abide by the rate hikes, thus, destabilizing their budget.
What’s the way out, then? Recognize your internet needs and subscribe to the right internet speed. If you’re hooked on excessive bandwidth, then downgrade your internet plan to a speed tier that suits your daily online requirements, and lower your monthly internet bill accordingly.
Bring Your Own Equipment
If you scan your internet bill, you may find monthly charges for the equipment rental. These are the costs for using the internet equipment, i.e. modem, router, or a modem-router gateway, leased by the provider as a part of your subscription. Though the rental fee ranges between $10 to $15 a month on average, and this may appear meager in comparison to other expenses, the aggregate cost can build up to $200 annually, which can easily burn through your yearly savings. So, take the smart route and purchase your own modem and router.
Make sure that your ISP approves the swap and allows you to introduce your own, compatible equipment into the network. Buying your equipment will cut down the rental charge on your monthly internet bill, and save you from the hassle of dealing with repairs or returns. Moreover, you can take your own modem and router with you when you move to a new area. It is a one-time investment that will help you cut down the internet bill.
Negotiate to Lower the Internet Bill
Calling the customer service number of your internet provider and negotiating for a lower internet bill works wonders if done wisely. You can give this a shot, but remember, preparation is the key, here. Start by doing some market research. See what other competing ISPs in your area are charging for internet services and note their introductory charges to use as leverage later on. Then, keeping a pad and pen nearby, call the customer service number. If you don’t get an agent who is willing to hear you out, continue dialing till you reach the right representative.
Speak patiently and professionally. Urge them to lessen the internet cost. If they refuse, then load another arrow. This time, structure your argument around leaving the service for another provider. Chances are that your call will be forwarded to retention. Repeat your request for a price reduction and tell them you’ll leave if your demand is not met. Take the point home by quoting the competitor pricing. Don’t back down. Keep insisting and the retention will ultimately give in. They may cut down the internet bill or give you special discounts to make you stay with the company.
Inquire About Promotions
ISPs roll out limited-time discounts and localized promotions throughout their footprint from time to time. Unfortunately, customers remain unaware of these and lose the opportunity for enjoying lower costs. Instead of waiting for the news of promotions to reach you, visit the website of your ISP frequently or call their customer care to inquire about the seasonal promotions and delectable deals. If you’re lucky, you’ll come across a promotion that reduces your internet bill or land you with a freebie.
Use Free Wi-Fi Hotspots
You can skip out on your internet bill altogether if you live in a hotspot-intensive area. This may be a risky maneuver since free and open hotspots are often riddled with malware and viruses. However, you may be able to find safe and secure access points set up by credible organizations and institutions such as libraries in your neighborhood. These free access points will give you the speeds you require and fulfill your connectivity needs, saving you from paying a hefty internet bill every month. This tip may be valuable for students and travelers, and not so much for entire households of active users who demand a dedicated connection.
Get a Governmental Subsidy
One of the best ways to pay less for the internet every month is to enroll in a governmental subsidy. There are financial assistance programs like Temporary Assistance for Needy Families, Supplemental Security Income, National School Lunch Program, Public Housing, Pell Grant, and Lifeline Internet Discount, etc. available all over the US for eligible citizens. Pick a subsidy, read the conditions and see if you qualify to receive the grant, and lower your internet expense thereby.
Internet access is a necessity, these days. However, given the high rates rolled out by internet service providers, it may become hard for an average consumer to afford the costly plans. If you’re suffering from such a financial dilemma, then use the aforementioned tips to dial down the rate of your internet bill without compromising on the value.