The average American will pay $ 32,400 for Internet access throughout their lifetime. This number, calculated by the researchers at Reviews.org, doesn’t even include today’s large dogs. I’m talking about your cable, streaming, cell phone, 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 as good as the paid versions? Tap or click for free alternatives to Word, Excel, Photoshop, and more.
I also like to check every now and then if there is any lost or hidden money floating around me. One of my national radio show listeners found $ 25,000 this way. Maybe you will be lucky too! Tap or click for secret places to check out for unclaimed funds.
And then there are all those monthly internet charges. If you’re paying full price for everything, or haven’t analyzed your needs in a while, now is the time.
1. What do you really need?
When it comes to your home internet, speed really matters. If you are browsing the web and playing Candy Crush on your phone, you are a featherweight. You can get by with less bandwidth than someone who enjoys watching 4K movies every night.
Take a look at your recurring monthly fees. Make sure you get the speed and bandwidth promised. I hear people who are not all the time. Tap or click for my pro tips for doing a more scientific speed test that you can report to your ISP.
When you first signed up for cable TV, you probably got a bargain price. The providers like to launch a bunch of free channels on a package. Unless you pay attention, free channels become pay channels after a few months or a year. Make sure the channels you pay for are the ones you watch.
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Maybe it’s high time to ditch cable altogether and get a nice antenna to get local channels and more programming for free. You have to get the right antenna or you will be totally frustrated. Tap or click here to see the difference between an indoor and outdoor antenna.
2. Look for hidden charges
Then scan your bills for overage charges or extras. If you exceed your internet data cap, you can save money by upgrading to the next level of service.
Be sure to compare your most recent bill with the one from a year or two ago. Did the prices go up on anything? Do you pay to rent equipment every month? Are there any charges you are unsure of? If so, call your supplier and find out why.
3. Get your own equipment
The monthly router and modem rental fees might seem low, but those dollars add up quickly. As a bonus, you may get better equipment than what your ISP provides.
When it comes to routers, Netgear, Linksys, ASUS, and TP-Link are all solid options. Make sure you get one with WPA-3 encryption, which is the last security standard you can get.
If your Wi-Fi is crappy, you may want to consider upgrading to a mesh system for even better coverage. I have one, and it works like a charm to provide strong Wi-Fi throughout my house.
It would be better for your internet speed and your savings account to buy your modem as well. Just make sure it’s DOCSIS 3.0. Here are my recommended modems for any Internet service provider.
4. Continue or… say you are
You probably have other Internet or cable service options in your area, and your current provider knows that. It pays to shop. In all likelihood, a competitor will give you a better deal, faster speeds, or both. Don’t be afraid to haggle and make sure they don’t try to reduce your speed, bandwidth, or options to lower the price.
Do your homework ahead of time. Know what your provider’s competitors are offering, and write down any introductory rates you might get by switching providers.
Pro tip: If you can’t get anywhere with a customer service rep, ask to speak to someone from the “retention department”. These people are usually authorized to give you the best deals.
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5. Look for bundles and promotions
The prizes can go in two ways. In some cases, you end up paying for something that you wouldn’t have done otherwise because you are swayed by the idea of getting more for less. Do not do that. The best option, of course, is to bundle the services you already pay for and save a little bit each month.
Check available plans by visiting or calling your cable company or ISP’s website. Don’t get sucked into paying for a landline if you don’t need it. Tap or click for my opinion on why it’s okay to give up your landline for good.
You can also get streaming packs. Instead of paying for Disney +, ESPN +, and Hulu separately, you can grab them all together for $ 13.99 and save around $ 5 per month. Not bad.
But why pay for any streaming service once you’ve figured out what’s available? Cancel streaming services you don’t watch. You can always re-register later.
6. Consider a larger engagement
Here’s a streaming money saver. Pay a year in advance and you’ll spend less than a monthly subscription. Back at Disney +, you can pay $ 6.99 for a monthly plan or $ 69.99 for a year. That’s about $ 14 in savings per year. No, it’s not a ton, but every dollar counts, right?
HBO Max charges $ 9.99 per month and $ 99.99 per year. Hey, that’s $ 20 off or two trips to Starbucks.
7. Take a break from your government bill
You can get a federal grant for your Internet bill. If you qualify, you can get a discount of up to $ 50 per month for broadband service and up to $ 75 if you live on tribal lands. A one-time discount of $ 100 for a computer or tablet is also available.
This assistance also includes people who receive government benefits, but it goes beyond that. If you lost your job or were put on leave during the pandemic and earn less than $ 99,000 for single filers and $ 198,000 for joint filers, you may also be eligible.
Tap or click here for more details on the program, as well as full eligibility requirements.
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8. Also look for free options
Check out the free trials to see if the latest streaming service is worth it. Make sure to cancel before you get charged, however. After signing up for the trial, add a reminder to your calendar with the date you need to cancel. Tap or click here for more money-saving streaming tips, including information on all of these free trials.
Mobile service providers often offer a streaming option or other free service for customers. A perfect example is T-Mobile’s “Netflix On Us” program -om free standard Netflix subscriptions to T-Mobile unlimited data plan subscribers with two or more voice lines. Verizon also offers one year of Disney + for free. Tap or click to see what else you can get at no additional cost.
There are also tons of ways to watch free TV and movies online. A word of advice: don’t google for “free movies” or you’ll end up on scam sites full of sketchy popups. We have done the work for you. Tap or click 13 safe sites to find free movies.
Want free TV? Tap or click for free alternatives to Netflix and everything in between.
Bonus tip: she passed away. Then he turned her into an AI chatbot.
Check out my “Kim Komando Explains” podcast on Apple, Google Podcasts or your favorite podcast player.
When tragedy struck, Joshua Barbeau decided to deal with the loss of his girlfriend by creating a chatbot based on his personality. In this podcast, I sat down with him as well as AI developer Jason Rohrer, who has created a program that you can use to create your own custom chatbots for just $ 5. It’s scary and incredibly fascinating at the same time.
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Listen to the podcast here or wherever you get your podcasts. Just search for my last name, “Komando”.
What digital lifestyle questions do you have? Call Kim’s national radio show and tap or click here to find it on your local radio station. You can listen or watch The Kim Komando Show on your phone, tablet, TV or computer. Or tap or click here for Kim’s free podcasts.
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Check out all the latest tech on The Kim Komando Show, the nation’s biggest weekend radio talk show. Kim takes calls and gives advice on today’s digital lifestyle, from smartphones and tablets to online privacy and data hacking. For her daily tips, free newsletters and more, visit her website at Komando.com.