BY: Trent Hamm/money.usnews.com
For many people, high-speed home internet service is a significant monthly expense. Availability and price vary widely between locations, but many people pay as much as $100 or more a month for high-speed internet and $200 or more a month for a bundled internet, phone and television service. Furthermore, people are actually dissatisfied with what they get with their internet service, according to a Consumer Reports telecommunications survey. On top of that, many people also have data plans for their cell phone service that duplicate what they're already getting with their home internet provider.
While you can't suddenly make your internet service great, you can certainly learn some strategies for trimming that internet bill. Here are five things you can do to lower your internet bill:
Stop renting your router or modem.
Cut your cellular data plan and rely on Wifi everywhere.
Read your bill carefully.
Shop around and arm yourself with competitor prices.
Move other services to your internet connection.
Stop Renting your Router or Modem
One significant expense that pops up for many people who have a home internet plan is the cost of renting the router or modem from the provider. Many providers will set up your service through an internet router or modem that's placed in your home, then charge you rent on that device.
Instead of paying rent on your router or modem, simply examine that piece of equipment, figure out what model it is and buy one yourself. They're usually quite inexpensive – often less than three months' worth of equipment rental – and easy to set up if you follow the guide. Once you have your own equipment in place, return the rental equipment to your internet service provider and have that line removed from your bill. This can easily save you as much as $20 a month.
Cut Your Cellular Data Plan and Rely on Wifi Everywhere
Change the settings on your smartphone so it automatically switches to Wi-Fi data access when it's available, then track your actual data usage on your phone. If you find that your actual data plan usage is much less than your data plan provides – and it often is unless you're streaming video every day on your commute, for example – then switch to a smaller data plan through your cellular provider.
For many people, setting your phone to use Wifi over your home internet connection and also setting it to download content only over Wifi can massively trim your data plan usage and make downgrading your plan super cost-efficient.
Read Your Bill Carefully
When you get your internet bill in the mail this month, read through it line by line and make sure you understand what every charge is. Many internet service providers add specific line items for things that are unimportant and not required, just to get a bit of extra revenue from you. By requesting that those markups be trimmed, you can save money every month going forward.
Go through your bill and do a Google search for everything you don't understand. Identify items that you think are unnecessary, then call up your internet service provider and ask that those items be removed from your bill going forward.
Shop Around and Arm Yourself With Competitor Prices
If you're in a large metro area, you likely have several internet service providers competing for you as a customer. Take advantage of this and shop around. Get prices from several different providers, do some research into the quality of each provider, then go to the highest-quality provider and ask for some price matching on a competitor's price.
Doing this will often net you a more reliable internet service provider at a better price than ever before.
Move Other Services to Your Internet Connection
Don't continue using a cable service. Instead, move to streaming services such as Netflix and Sling along with an over-the-air antenna. Together, those services can match most of the content you're already getting over your cable box. Drop your telephone landline (if you haven't already). If you want an actual phone at home, sign up for an internet telephone package via Skype or Vonage and cut your landline. You can easily get a home phone that functions just like your old one except that it connects via the internet rather than a telephone wire.
Using these strategies together can get you more value out of your internet service for less money.