No matter how tight your budget is, there are some things that are hard to do without. Internet service is one of them. For many people, the internet is a news outlet, a way to stay connected with friends and family, an education resource, a way to pay bills and save money, and much more. If you can’t stand the thought of giving up your internet, but can’t afford to keep it either, there are a few things you can do to cut costs and still maintain your service. Here are five to consider.
Take Advantage of Promotional Offers
The cost of internet service can vary by provider–and by customer. New customers tend to get the best monthly prices. They may also get special deals and freebies, such as free installation, low- or no-cost equipment, or free web hosting services. If you have been with your ISP for a long time, try calling them to see if they offer a loyalty discount or any other deals for long-time customers. If not, ask about other promotional offers. If you still can’t get a deal, you may want to consider switching internet service providers so that you can be a new customer once again.
Bundle Your Services
One of the quickest and easiest ways to save on internet service is to bundle it with other services. Many internet service providers also offer cable TV, land line telephone service, and cellular service. If you buy two or more of these services from the same company, the savings could be significant. The best bundling deals may be reserved for new customers, but current customers are almost always eligible for these promotions.
Buy Your Own Equipment
Your internet connection may require special equipment depending on the type of connection you have as well as the number of computers in your home. Required equipment is often supplied by your internet service provider–but it isn’t always free. You may pay a fee each month to lease this equipment. It may seem like a small amount, but it can certainly add up over time. If you do pay a fee, find out if you can buy the equipment instead–either from your internet service provider or from another source. Buying the equipment outright could save you money over time.
Although it is never a good idea to use unsecured Wi-Fi without permission, you could share a connection with a neighbor as long as you both agree to it and are not violating the terms of service set forth by your ISP. Sharing could cut your bill in half. If you live close enough to a free hot spot, you may be able to take advantage of that as well. If sharing with someone else isn’t a possibility, try sharing with yourself. You can use the connection on your smart phone. You are paying for the service already. Some cellular internet providers offer portable routers and modems with a USB connection to make sharing easy. If you go this route, make sure you have an unlimited plan or enough gigabytes of data transfer to get you through the month.
Downgrade Your Service
Most internet service providers offer different types of connections as well as different levels of service. If you currently have a wireless, DSL, or cable connection, but rarely download anything, you may not need a super-fast connection or download booster. Consider looking into high-speed dial-up or a lower-level cable connection. These services are usually slower, but they are much cheaper. If you try them and don’t like them, you can always switch back to the speedier version.
This is a guest post from Karen Schweitzer. Karen writes about internet providers for Internetserviceproviders.org.