11 Ways to Reduce Your Internet Bill

By Timothy Moore · October 16, 2023 · 9 minute read

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11 Ways to Reduce Your Internet Bill

Wondering how to lower your internet bill? With families paying roughly $64 every month for high-speed internet services, it can be a significant drain on the monthly budget. But the internet, like a phone plan, has become just as necessary for everyday life as other major utilities, especially with remote working and learning environments.

To help, here are 11 great tips for cutting back costs without getting rid of the internet altogether. In this post, you’ll learn how to save money on internet with tactics like:

•   Negotiating your rate

•   Buying your own equipment

•   Setting up auto pay

•   Downgrading your plan.

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How Much Does the Average Household Spend on Internet

The average household spends $64 a month on internet services, according to a recent Parks Associate Survey. But internet prices can vary significantly depending on the speed you require, what other services you have it bundled with, what promotional offers you qualify for, and the way the internet is delivered to your home.

Broadband (cable or fiber) is the high-speed internet connection many of us have come to depend on, but some homes utilize dial-up, cable, or even satellite internet connections. These come at varying price points. Understanding what you have and what your options are in your neighborhood can help you find the best deal.

Recommended: How to Organize Your Bills

11 Money-Saving Internet Tips

With internet prices accounting for a notable portion of your monthly budget, you may be wondering how to cut internet costs — without sacrificing quality. To help you do that, here are 11 money-saving tips for decreasing your internet bill:

1. Shopping Around

Depending on where you live, you may have a handful of internet providers to choose among. If you’re not happy with the cost of your current internet bill, you can research what competitors are charging. They may offer low promotional deals for the first six months, year, or even two years. Often the deal is a lower rate, but sometimes it involves a prepaid gift card or other bonus.

It’s a good idea to read the fine print, as the price may go up when the promotional period ends. There may also be one-time fees to start up the service that could counterbalance any savings. Still, if you find a good offer, it could be an option if you want to find out how to lower your internet bill.

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2. Negotiating for a Better Rate

If you spot a better offer from another company, you don’t have to jump ship. It may be worth your while to call customer service for your current provider and negotiate your rate down. Letting them know that you’ve found a better deal elsewhere but appreciate their service can go a long way. To retain you as a customer, they may be willing to offer you a discount.

If the conversation with the customer service rep feels like a dead end, you may want to end the call and try your luck with another rep. You can also ask to speak with a manager.

Not comfortable haggling over the phone — or just don’t have time to spend on hold? You might be able to find a third-party service to negotiate your rate for you. Services like Trim, BillFixers, and BillCutterz will call and negotiate on your behalf, but they’ll take a cut of any savings they earn you.

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3. Checking Your Internet Speed

Your internet contract should spell out a certain speed that you’re meant to receive. Higher-tier plans offer faster speeds (and cost more). But internet service providers (ISPs) may not be delivering that speed to you at all times; in fact, research shows that 79% of us aren’t getting the speed we pay for.

You can test your internet speed with a third-party test site like speedtest.net, though many ISPs have their own proprietary speed tests. If you discover that you’re not getting anything close to the speed your contract stipulates, you may want to call customer service to demand a discount or faster speeds. Some providers may even offer a bill credit for the time you paid for higher speeds but didn’t receive them.

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4. Downgrading Your Plan

In some cases, you may be paying for faster speeds than you really need. If you regularly stream 4K videos and rely on Zoom meetings all day for your job, paying for fast internet is likely worth the cost. But if all you use the internet for is checking email, scrolling through Facebook, and occasionally streaming Spotify, you might be fine with slower internet service.

Similarly, individuals who live alone or with one other person are less likely to need internet services as fast as a larger household with multiple users accessing the internet at the same time.

Some ISPs offer “economy tiers” as slow as 3 mbps, though they may not always advertise these. If that sounds too slow for you, there may be a middle ground between the bottom and top tiers. Calling customer service to discuss options could be a good move if you’re ready to downgrade.

Recommended: How to Save Money on Streaming Services

5. Bundling with Another Service

Many ISPs offer discounts when you bundle your internet service with a phone plan or cable TV package. While this technically lowers your internet bill, it could add on new or higher costs for other services, so proceed with caution.

If you want cable TV or have it through another provider, it doesn’t hurt to see how much a bundle can save you. But if you won’t use cable TV, it likely isn’t the right move for you.

6. Using Auto Pay

Often, you can get a monthly discount on your internet bill by opting in to auto pay, sometimes as much as $5 or $10 a month. To avoid overdraft fees, however, it’s important that you ensure there’s enough money in your checking account before the auto pay processes each month.

Recommended: How Bill Pay Works

7. Reviewing Your Bill

Many ISPs offer a temporary promotional discount when you switch to their service, but your costs could go up afterward. That’s one of the reasons why it’s a good idea to review your bill every month, even if it’s on automatic bill payment. Doing so will alert you to changes in your bill total, whether it’s from the end of a promotional period or other unexpected charges.

If you have questions about your bill, it’s wise to call customer service as soon as possible. The longer you wait, the more months you’ll pay a higher rate.

8. Buying Your Own Equipment

ISPs usually charge you a monthly rental fee to use their modem and router. Before 2019, consumers might have also paid a fee to use their own equipment instead. Either way, consumers typically paid an extra fee.

But in 2019, Congress passed the Television View Protection Act, which prohibits internet providers from charging you a fee to use your own equipment. You’ll pay an upfront cost for such equipment, but over time, it could save you a lot of money on your internet bill.

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9. Paying with a Cash Back Credit Card

Not every ISP allows you to pay your bill with a credit card. But if you have a cash back credit card that offers rewards with every swipe, you may want to find an internet provider that does permit it.

For example, if your card offers 3% cash back and your monthly internet bill is $64, that’s nearly $2 in savings every month. It’s not a huge savings, but every bit can help in today’s inflationary times.

10. Researching Low-Income Subsidies

In May 2022, President Biden announced the Affordable Connectivity Program, which offers up to a $30 discount toward internet services for qualifying low-income families. If you’re struggling with your internet bill, it can be a good idea to see if you qualify.

11. Reducing Usage

Some internet plans have monthly data caps. Once you reach these caps, your ISP may charge you extra for usage (or slow down your speeds significantly).

If your bill regularly has fees for exceeding your data cap, you might want to switch to a provider with unlimited data (this may cost more as a monthly fee) or focus on reducing internet usage at home.

Recommended: How to Financially Downsize

The Takeaway

Knowing how to lower your internet bill without sacrificing quality is important. If you’re willing to do some research and make some phone calls to customer service, you might be surprised by how much money you can save — and use elsewhere in your monthly budget.

3 Money Tips

1.    Typically, checking accounts don’t earn interest. However, some accounts do, and online banks are more likely than brick-and-mortar banks to offer you the best rates.

2.    If you’re creating a budget, try the 50/30/20 budget rule. Allocate 50% of your after-tax income to the “needs” of life, like living expenses and debt. Spend 30% on wants, and then save the remaining 20% towards saving for your long-term goals.

3.    When you feel the urge to buy something that isn’t in your budget, try the 30-day rule. Make a note of the item in your calendar for 30 days into the future. When the date rolls around, there’s a good chance the “gotta have it” feeling will have subsided.

Better banking is here with SoFi, NerdWallet’s 2024 winner for Best Checking Account Overall.* Enjoy up to 4.60% APY on SoFi Checking and Savings.

FAQ

How much is a good amount to spend on the internet?

The average household spends $64 monthly on broadband internet services. You may be able to spend less for slower internet or by bundling with another service; often, you can also find promotional deals, too. Ultimately, you’ll know if you’re spending a fair amount on the internet by comparing rates from other services and asking your friends and neighbors what they’re paying.

How can you lower your internet bill?

Wondering how to decrease your internet bill? You can try several tactics, including switching providers, negotiating for a better rate, using your own equipment, setting up auto pay, and even looking for low-income plans. Using a combination of strategies may help you get the best internet deal possible.

How much will your budget improve when you save money on your internet bill?

How much your budget improves when you save money on your internet bill depends on how much you’re able to reduce your internet bill by. For example, many people save $5 or $10 by setting up auto pay on their internet bill; this means they have between $60 and $120 extra a year to use elsewhere. Others earn cash back by using a rewards credit card to pay the bill; the earnings might be as little as 1% cash back, but every cent saved helps.


Photo credit: iStock/urbazon

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