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Welcome to “2-Minute Money Manager,” a short video feature answering money questions submitted by readers and viewers.
Today’s question is about the internet; specifically, how to pay less for this essential service.
There’s been a lot of talk, and articles, about the high cost of cable, along with how to drop the service and watch your favorite shows by streaming them from the web instead. The problem? Paying for all that internet access.
Watch the following video, and you’ll pick up some valuable info. Or, if you prefer, scroll down to read the full transcript and find out what I said.
You also can learn how to send in a question of your own below.
For more information, check out “Should You Hire a Service to Negotiate Your Cable and Other Bills?” and “Ask Stacy: Should I Drop Cable and Stream Instead?” You can also go to the search at the top of this page, put in the words “internet” or “cable” and find plenty of information on just about everything relating to this topic.
Got a question of your own to ask? Scroll down past the transcript.
Don’t want to watch? Here’s what I said in the video
Hello, and welcome to your “2-Minute Money Manager.” I’m your host, Stacy Johnson, and this two-minute answer is brought to you by MoneyTalksNews.com, serving up the best in personal finance, news and advice since 1991.
Today’s question comes from Marylou:
“I’m a disabled veteran and need to find cheaper internet service. How do I start?”
Marylou, thank you for your service. I’ve got three things for you:
Thing No. 1: What do you need?
Before you can shop, you’ve got to know what you’re shopping for. If you’ve got internet now, go back and look at the bill from whoever your provider is and see how much data you’re using monthly. Things to ask yourself include:
- How many megabytes do you use?
- How many gigabytes do you use?
- How are you using the internet? Are you streaming video or watching Netflix? Or, are you just checking your email every now and then and looking at the occasional website?
These things matter a lot when you’re looking at options, so that’s job one.
Thing No. 2: Check your choices
There are nonprofit agencies whose mission it is to make sure everybody has internet access. So, if you’re low-income or otherwise qualify, find a subsidized program.
If your income or situation may qualify you, here’s your site: EveryoneOn.org. Go there, and you’ll instantly find out which subsidized programs may work for you. For example, are you on Medicaid? Is your kid in the school lunch program? Check a few boxes, put in your ZIP code and you’ll find out what options are available your community. You’ll find plans for as low as $10 a month.
Thing No. 3: Negotiate
Perhaps you don’t qualify for low-income options and you’re OK with your current provider, but it’s simply too expensive. In that case, call and tell the provider you’re thinking about dropping its service because you found a better deal elsewhere. (Note: It will be useful if you actually have found an alternative, because your current provider is likely to ask.)
Your current provider is likely to respond with a lower price. If nothing else, it can analyze your current use and let you know if there’s a cheaper option.
Another idea: Use a company that will negotiate your bills for you. I’ve personally used BillCutters. In exchange for the percentage of the money BillCutters saves you, it will call up your cable company and negotiate for you. And it will negotiate other bills in addition to cable.
So, negotiate yourself if you can. But if you don’t want to do so or fear you won’t do a good job, hire a company like BillCutters to do it for you.
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The questions I’m likeliest to answer are those that will interest other readers. In other words, don’t ask for super-specific advice that applies only to you. And if I don’t get to your question, promise not to hate me. I do my best, but I get a lot more questions than I have time to answer.
I founded Money Talks News in 1991. I’m a CPA, and have also earned licenses in stocks, commodities, options principal, mutual funds, life insurance, securities supervisor and real estate.
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