If you’re looking to save cash on bills, then reducing your cable and internet expenses is often a great place to start. This is a non-essential expense (unlike heating) and one that is very flexible when it comes to adjusting precisely how much you pay and what you get in return.
The truth is that a LOT of people pay by far over the odds for their internet and are still unhappy with the outcome! There are better deals out there, so keep reading.
How to Get Cheaper Internet
Let’s start with internet. And a good question to begin with is: just how fast does your Wi-Fi need to be?
Internet Speeds Explained
The truth is that most of us don’t need super fast speeds, whatever the advertising tries to tell us. As long as your internet is fast enough to stream TV and movies – which most basic packages should now be able to handle – then you are probably set.
Sure, if you are a professional YouTuber who uploads lots of high quality videos to the web, then you might want slightly faster speeds. And maybe if you have a huge family, you could do with a little more bandwidth to prevent things grinding to a halt.
But for 99% of people, expensive upgrades to internet speeds aren’t going to hugely improve quality of life.
How Much Speed Do You Need?
Internet speeds are measured in megabits per second, with one megabit being equal to 1,024 kilobits. Broadband is anything with download speeds over 768 kbps and upload speeds over 200 kbps.
Many basic packages start at 25-36 mbps, which is more than fast enough for reliable gaming, video streaming and more. Normally the same package will land you about 2 mbps1.
“Do I really need this?” is a good question to ask generally when considering your cable and internet costs.
Think About Packages
A lot of Internet Service Providers (“ISP”) will try to get you to take out extensive packages with them that include things like landline rental, cable, TV channels, and more. In some cases, this can be a good deal that saves you cash by bundling services that you would have paid for separately. In other cases, you can end up paying for things you hardly use, which will cost you a lot of money!
Cable and internet are sometimes better off being divided, so don’t just stick with the first bundle you get offered!
Look Out for Deals
As with any service or product, you can often save money on internet by looking out for deals. ISPs are always trying to attract new customers to their brands, so they will offer discounts and sales to try and lure them in. This can of course be a great time for you to sign up!
Watch Out for Price Creep
That said, you do need to check the small print when you sign up for any cable and internet deal. That’s because a lot of providers will tie you in for long term contracts and then slowly increase the price. They’re allowed to do this as long as it is stated in the contract, and this can end up putting you on a much worse deal! Be careful!
Stop Renting Your Router
The router is the device you use to connect to the web, and it is often actually “on loan” from the provider. You therefore pay extra for the privilege of using it, and if you ever lose it or move home, you can end up getting charged!
In the long term, it’s more cost effective to invest in your own router, and then forego the additional monthly expense. What’s more, is that you’ll often get better service too! And you’ll recoup the expense within the first three months in most cases.
Don’t Pay Twice
If you have a mobile phone with 4G internet access, then you’re probably paying quite a lot for that per month. A lot of cellular network providers will try and sell you ridiculous amounts of data per month, or even unlimited data!
In truth, unless you plan on streaming movies every morning on the train, you certainly don’t need 90GB of data. And even then, you can probably connect to the train’s Wi-Fi anyway!
If you’re already paying a lot for your Wi-Fi back home, cut the amount of data you use on mobile, and rely on that instead!
If you’ve been with the same provider for years, then chances are that there are better deals out there. These companies rely on us being too busy to think about switching, and so they don’t feel the need to provide the best deals – and the bigger companies are usually the worst culprits for this! Shop around and check out the competition and then consider switching.
The best part is that when you call up your ISP to let them know you’re planning on switching, they will often start offering you even better deals just to keep you on board!
If you want a little more ammo, you can also try downloading apps to test your internet speeds. You’ll find that they often don’t match up to what you’re promised, and if you point this out, you may be able to get some money back!
How to Save on Cable
Now you have cheaper internet, the next step is to start getting your entertainment for less too. Here are some tips to cut down your cable bill.
First: Do You Really Need Cable?
The first question to ask yourself is whether you really need cable in 2020. Cable and internet are often packaged together, but in truth you can usually get most of the same television online. Investing in an Amazon Fire Stick and a Netflix account will give you access to limitless movies, and a lot of streaming services and TV channels.
Ask yourself how many of the cable channels you watch on a regular basis, and whether this is really worth the amount you are paying monthly for them!
Scrutinize the Extras
If you do decide that cable and internet are a good idea for you in 2020, then you need to think about what you need specifically2. Once again, cable companies like to try and get you to sign up for as many extras as possible, which often includes things like secondary set-top boxes for the spare room, or DVR (which is increasingly less necessary as everything is available on demand).
Deals and Shopping Around
As with your ISP, you can often drive down the price of cable by simply shopping around, looking for deals, and cutting providers. You also shouldn’t be afraid to call up your provider and tell them that you need a lower price. You’d be surprised how quickly cable and internet companies will bend over backward to keep you on board!
Conclusions: How to Save on Cable and Internet
As you can see then, there are many ways to start getting your cable and internet for less. The key is simply to be proactive when it comes to shopping around, and not to settle for a sub-par deal just because it’s easier. Demand a better service!