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Saving money feels good, especially on costly (but often necessary) expenses like internet.
If you’re happy with your provider, but not your bill, try negotiating or bundling your services. Looking to make a change? If you’re lucky enough to have options, switching providers can help you score a great deal.
5 ways to get cheap internet
1. Buy your own cable modem and router for cheaper Wi-Fi (over time)
Planning to get your internet through a cable provider and staying with it for a few years? It might be more cost-effective to buy your internet hardware rather than rent it.
A provider may charge $15 to $20 per month to rent a combined modem and Wi-Fi router device. If you stay with that company for two years, the total rental costs would be $360 to $480. You can buy a top-rated cable modem and router for less than $200 on Amazon. Check places like Best Buy too. Be sure to confirm with your internet provider that the modem you plan to buy will work with its service.
Keep in mind that some providers won't offer support or troubleshooting for your compatible personal hardware.
2. Reduce your internet speed for a lower price
Internet providers are taking high-speed to the next level, with plans that promise download speeds of 400 Mbps or more. That’s great if you need that level of service. Most households don’t.
Dropping to a slower, perhaps more appropriate speed could reduce your monthly bill by about $27, according to the most recent figures from broadband association USTelecom.
Consult the guidelines below from the Federal Communications Commission to help determine what download speed you need, then consider contacting your provider to lower your plan.
1 user on 1 device
2 users or devices at a time
12-25 Mbps to more than 25 Mbps.
3 users or devices at a time
More than 25 Mbps.
4 users or devices at a time
More than 25 Mbps.
More than 25 Mbps.
Mbps (megabits per second) is a measure of internet data upload and download speed.
Light use: Basic functions such as email, web browsing, basic video, VoIP and internet radio.
Moderate use: Basic functions, plus one high-demand application, such as streaming HD video, multiparty video conferencing, online gaming and telecommuting.
High use: Basic functions, plus more than one high-demand application running at the same time.
3. Negotiate with your internet provider for a better deal
You don’t need to be a fast-talking salesperson to lower your bills. Your negotiating position is simple: I know of a better deal elsewhere, and I’m prepared to leave your company to get it.
Be polite, but firm. Don’t bluff. The better you can back up your position, the more leverage you’ll have. Research the promotional prices that your provider and its competitors are offering to new customers — and be prepared to actually cancel your service and change providers.
4. Bundle your services for a better combined price
If you already have cable, you can save with some providers by bundling your TV and internet service. But beware of the upsell. Carriers may try to talk you into extra speed, equipment or channels that can tack on an additional $10 here and there. Even small monthly increases add up over time and defeat your goal — to save money.
5. Check on government subsidies for a monthly discount
The government offers subsidies for broadband internet if you fall below a certain income threshold or are enrolled in certain government programs. The nonprofit EveryoneOn can help you find out if you qualify.