When asked why they dropped cable, the majority of cord cutters put “saving money” at the top of their list. There are plenty of ways to save money with streaming, but first things first – how can you save money on your internet plan, even after losing out on a cable TV bundle discount? Here are six tips for saving money on a new plan or lowering the cost of your current plan.
If you’re lucky enough to have multiple internet providers in your area, you might be surprised by how much pricing can vary from one company to another. Start by checking for providers in your area. You’ll likely see at least one of the big names: AT&T, Cox, Verizon, Comcast. You might also see smaller or less well known providers like Wisper ISP and Toast.Net.
Don’t count out the smaller companies. Some will offer better prices, others will offer higher speeds, and most will provide better customer service.
Find Out if You Qualify for a Low Cost Plan
Depending on your household income, you could qualify for a low cost internet service. These plans start around $10/month and eligibility is based on income or participation in programs like the Supplemental Nutrition Access Program (SNAP), National School Lunch Program, or Head Start Program.
Here are a few low cost programs to look into if you think you might qualify:
Don’t Start with the Fastest Plan
When shopping for an internet plan, your first instinct might be to choose the plan with the fastest speeds. Making a jump in speed also means your plan will jump in price and for many cord cutters, the increase isn’t necessary.
For example, Comcast is currently charging $34.99/month (for the first 12 months, before added fees) for 100 Mbps. That price jumps up to $84.99/month for 1,000 Mbps, which might not be necessary if you’re just using your internet to watch Netflix at night.
What Internet Speed Do I Need to Stream?
- Netflix notes a minimum required speed of 3 Mbps for standard definition, 5Mbps for HD, and 25 Mbps for Ultra HD or 4K quality.
- If you’re streaming content on multiple devices, you may need to bump that number up. YouTube TV recommends at least 13 Mbps for streaming video in HD on multiple devices.
If you decide you need more speed later on, it’s much easier to upgrade to a more expensive plan than it is to downgrade to a more affordable plan.
Bring Your Own Equipment
Are you using a modem and router supplied by your cable company? You might be able to save money by buying your own rather than renting one from your service provider. Investing in your own will require spending money upfront but could save you $5-15/month.
Here are some of our picks for modems and routers:
- Netgear CM500 Cable Modem $59.99
- Motorola MB7621 Cable Modem $77.98
- Amazon eero 6 Wi-Fi 6 Router $129
- Google Nest WiFi Mesh Router $169
Watch Out for Special Offers
Most of us have gotten ads from internet providers offering all kinds of deals for switching to their service. A popular offer is a “free upgrade” to a faster plan. Be sure to check the fine print. Most of those free upgrades will only apply to the first year of service. After that, you’ll likely see a dramatic jump in cost that will put your price well above the plan you were upgraded from.
While these offers can save you money or get you a better plan for your first 12 months, be sure to reevaluate when you get close to your renewal date and consider downgrading to a more affordable plan – something your service provider is hoping you won’t bother to do.
Make a Phone Call
Have you noticed your monthly bill creeping up month after month? An increase could be due to anything from additional fees being added for all customers to your promotional pricing coming to an end. If your bill has gone up, it might be time for a phone call.
Start by pricing out other internet options in your area, even if you’re happy with your current company. Give your provider a call and let them know you’re thinking of switching to another company to pay less for the same speed you currently have. Your current company may match the price to retain a customer.