Whether you use the internet for business or pleasure, there’s a chance you’re paying too much for it.
The cost of internet service is only going up — even with lower-tier plans.
If you can’t live without the internet, here are some of the best ways to cut your costs.
1. Use a service to lower your bills
If the company succeeds in lowering your bill, it takes a cut from the money it saved you. Since you don’t keep all your savings, first determine whether it’s worth your time to do the negotiating yourself or better to get someone else to do it.
2. Review your bill
If you opt to lower your internet costs on your own, start by reviewing your bill. You’ll have a hard time finding ways to save if you are unsure how much you’re paying.
Check out your internet speed, which is measured in megabits per second, or Mbps. The higher the Mbps, the faster your internet.
Also, look at your data usage. You should be able to find it by logging in to your account. If not, ask your internet service provider, or ISP, how to find it.
Understanding your usage patterns is the key to knowing whether you can get by with a lower internet plan — which might mean a decent cut in your bill.
Just be mindful of data caps — which are limits on how much data you can use each month. If you switch to a plan that has lower data caps and you go over the limit, your ISP might charge you overage fees.
3. Shop around
After you know how much speed and data you need, you can also see which providers offer the best deals. Check with your current provider and competitors. Many times, companies will offer deals for people looking to drop their current providers.
Many companies can create plans tailored to your usage. Try visiting provider websites and putting in your address to see what your desired speed will cost. Then, compare the prices of providers in the area.
Make sure you know which companies offer plans for where you live. The closer you are to a city, the more options you’re likely to have.
4. Haggle hard
If you get a good offer from another company, tell your current service provider about it and see if they can make a counteroffer.
It’s best to remain calm and patient when chatting with the company. If you’ve been with your provider for a long time, mention how much you love their services and want to keep using them but that it’s straining your budget. See if there’s any wiggle room.
Don’t be afraid to end the call if you don’t find something that works for you. Sometimes it’s all in which customer service representative you get in contact with, so calling more than once can do the trick.
5. Bundle your services
Consider looking for bundled packages. Many companies provide TV and internet packages — or cellphone and internet packages — for a cheaper price than if you bought the two services separately.
Just make sure you’re adding products you want. If you add a TV package and only watch three channels, it might not be worth it.
6. Set up auto-pay
Sometimes companies give price breaks if you set up auto-pay for your bills. Ask your internet provider if it offers a discount — such as a percentage off your bill every month — if you set up recurring payments.
7. Create reminders
Internet plans may have six-month or one-year terms on the initial offer. Once they expire, they often go back up to their old price or full price. If you aren’t paying attention to your monthly bill, you might not realize when the bill goes up.
To avoid that, set a reminder on your calendar to check your bill every six or 12 months.
8. Look for subsidized programs
Nonprofits like EveryoneOn seek to connect low-income households and people in certain other situations with affordable home internet service.
Visit the EveryoneOn offers webpage to find out if you are eligible.
9. Buy your own equipment
If you rent a modem or router from your internet provider, consider investing in one of your own. It likely would save you money in the long run.
In the past, ISPs could charge you “rental” fees if you used your own equipment. But the Television Viewer Protection Act of 2019 put an end to that practice, as we detailed in “Internet Providers Can’t Charge You for This Anymore.”
Before buying your own equipment, however, Consumer Reports advises that you ask your ISP or check its website to make sure the equipment you want to buy is compatible with your ISP. Then, remember to return any rented equipment to your ISP if required to avoid being charged a penalty.