The average American will pay $32,400 for a lifetime of Internet access. This number, calculated by the researchers at Reviewed.org, doesn’t even include the big dogs of today. I’m talking about your cable, streaming, cellphone and other subscriptions.
When it comes to technology, there’s no shortage of ways to spend your money. Why not use free software that is just as good as the paid versions? Tap or click for free alternatives to Word, Excel, Photoshop, and more.
I like to check every now and then a lost or hidden amount of money that is floating around me. This is how one of my national radio show listeners got $25,000. Maybe you’re lucky too! Tap or click for secret places to check unclaimed money.
And then there are all those monthly internet charges. If you’re paying full price for everything or haven’t scanned your needs in a while, it’s time.
1. What do you really need?
When it comes to your home internet, speed definitely matters. If you browse the web and play Candy Crush on your phone, you’re light. You can get away with less bandwidth than someone who prefers to watch 4K movies every night.
Take a look at your monthly recurring charges. Make sure you are getting the speed and bandwidth you were promised. I hear all the time from people who are not. Tap or click for My Pro Tips to do a more scientific speed test that you can report to your ISP.
When you first signed up for your cable TV, you probably got a pretty good price. Providers like to throw a bunch of free channels at package deals. Unless you are paying attention, free channels become pay channels after a few months or a year. Make sure the channels you are paying for are the ones you watch.
It may be high time to remove cable altogether and get a good antenna to get local channels and more programming for free. You need to get the right antenna, otherwise you will be completely disappointed. Tap or click here to see the difference between indoor and outdoor antennas.
2. Look for Hidden Fees
Next, scan your bills for any excess charges or additional charges. If you’re exceeding your Internet data cap, you can save money by stepping up to the next level of service.
Be sure to compare your most recent bill with a bill from a year or two ago. Has the price of anything gone up? Are you renting equipment every month? Is there a fee you’re not sure about? If so, call your provider and find out why.
3. Get Your Own Equipment
Monthly router and modem rental fees may seem small, but those dollars add up quickly. As a nice bonus, you can get better gear from the equipment your ISP provides.
When it comes to routers, Netgear, Linksys, ASUS, and TP-Link are all solid choices. Be sure to get one with WPA-3 encryption, which is the latest security standard you can get.
If your Wi-Fi is poor, you may want to consider moving to a mesh system for better coverage. I have one, and it works like a charm giving me strong Wi-Fi in my house.
It would be best for your internet speed and savings account if you also bought your modem. Just make sure it’s DOCSIS 3.0. Here are my recommended modems for any Internet provider.
4. move on or … say you are
You probably have other Internet or cable service options in your area, and your current provider knows it. It pays to shop around. In all likelihood, a competitor will offer you a better deal, faster speeds, or both. Don’t be afraid to bargain, and make sure they don’t try to downgrade your speed, bandwidth, or options to lower the price.
Do your homework ahead of time. Learn what your provider’s competitors offer and write down the introduction rates you get by switching.
Pro tip: If you can’t get anywhere with a customer service representative, ask to speak to someone in the “retention department.” These people are generally authorized to give you the best deals.
5. View Bundles & Promotions
Bundles can go one of two ways. In some cases, you pay for something you wouldn’t otherwise because you’re obsessed with the idea of getting more for less. Do not do this. The better option, of course, is to bundle together the services you’re already paying for and save a little bit each month.
Visit your cable company’s or ISP’s website or call them to see what bundles are available to you. If you don’t need a landline, don’t get bogged down in paying for a landline. Tap or click for my thoughts on why it’s okay to leave your landline for good.
You can also get streaming bundles. Instead of paying for Disney+, ESPN+, and Hulu separately, you can grab them all together for $13.99 and get paid per month.