For many, internet expenses are on a level lower than that of water and electricity expenses. They are important but not essential. That’s why it only makes sense doing something to reduce these expenses. If you are looking for effective pointers on how you can bring your internet expenses down, consider the following:
1. Make sure your mobile device does not unnecessarily consume bandwidth.
Mobile data is considerably more expensive than fixed broadband service. As such, it’s only logical optimizing your device to avoid unnecessary downloads or connections to the internet. Mobile data charges are the biggest internet expense in many places around the world. Mobile data charges have in fact made it to the news several times because of the ridiculous amounts they can reach. It only makes sense doing everything to avoid excessive mobile data charges.
Avoid updating your apps through your mobile data connection. Set them to update only when you are connected via Wi-Fi. You have to reduce large bandwidth consuming activities using your mobile device unless your are Wi-Fi connected. As much as possible, keep your mobile internet activities to emailing, web browsing, and social media sans the frequent video streaming.
2. Carefully examine your options.
If you are a new subscriber, be sure to look for the most cost-efficient internet service plan around. If you already have a broadband connection, carefully look for the best alternative subscription plans you can find or consider other plans from the same company.
A cost efficient broadband plan is assessed based on your needs. Be mindful of your data consumption. If you are using huge amounts of data that can’t fit into the caps of cheaper limited plans and you will just end up spending more for the additional data you would have to use, it would be better to just go for an unlimited broadband service. There are many companies that offer reliable unlimited plans at competitive rates. Also consider bundled plans like internet service packaged with power and phone service. Although most of them tend to be not that cost-efficient, there are still those that eventually lead to lower costs. You just need to meticulously evaluate the different options available. Additionally, you can try asking an ISP if you can just buy your own modem or router so you don’t have to rent or pay for the modem in monthly installments.
If you have already subscribed to a broadband plan, consider moving to better options if you are not required to pay for a pre-termination fee. If you are bound by a contract and it would be difficult to terminate it, just ask your service provider to downgrade you to a cheaper plan, provided that this plan is able to sufficiently serve your needs.
3. Be mindful of your bandwidth use.
If you already have a limited broadband subscription under a contract, you have no choice but to watch out for your bandwidth usage. Of course, you can’t keep estimating how much data you have already used. For your home broadband connection, you can just open your router interface or dashboard so you can see how much data you have used so far. Most routers readily present the bandwidth use on the index or homepage of the router interface or dashboard. Just be sure to refresh this every month since this bandwidth use stat usually indicates the usage for the entire duration the router has been used unless it has been reset.
For your mobile devices, install apps that can notify you of your bandwidth consumption. There are many free mobile apps that allow you to set parameters for your internet use. They can either provide a notification when you reach a certain threshold or cut your internet connection after you breach the bandwidth consumption limit you set.
Additionally, if you keep streaming videos, choose a lower resolution if there’s a lower resolution available. You don’t really need HD or 720p videos when watching YouTube on your mobile device, even if your mobile device has a full HD (1080p) or 2K display. Choosing 360p or 480p should be good enough. You will hardly notice the difference. If you are a voracious online video consumer, you can possibly halve your data consumption by simply doing this.
Moreover, be sure that your Wi-Fi network is properly secured. Don’t provide any opportunity for your neighbors to use your internet connection.
4. Choose a limited broadband plan (with data cap) and take full control of the bandwidth usage.
Limited internet plans are generally cheaper than unlimited ones so if you are on a budget, it makes sense giving preference to a limited connection. Just make sure that the data limit is not too restrictive. For a household that only uses the internet for casual and essential online activities, a 50GB data limit should be enough. You just need to be in control of the data usage.
Consider setting schedules for internet access. You can do this by accessing the router interface and going to the scheduling section (if this feature is supported). In some cases, your router may have the option to lower the download speed. Lowering the download speed helps as it makes video streaming apps, for example, choose a lower resolution instead of automatically choosing a higher resolution. A 5Mbps connection usually makes YouTube choose 720p while 3Mbps makes YouTube automatically select 360p or 480p.
It’s also important to emphasize that bandwidth or data consumption is not just about downloads. Uploads are also counted for your total data consumption. If you have someone in your household who is fond of uploading videos, be sure to remind them that uploads are also included in the data consumption count. Many tend to upload videos they took with their smartphones in HD or FHD resolution, which could mean hundreds of megabits or even gigabits of data used.
Moreover, don’t forget tip number 1 above.
5. Use free internet access options.
To further reduce your internet service charges, consider using free internet services in your area. Many cities are already rolling out free public internet access points. There are many municipal wireless networks now available. Take advantage of these cost-free ways to get online. Just be sure that you protect your devices and accounts properly. Don’t log on to your important accounts like your bank, PayPal, and email accounts through free public Wi-Fi . Also, try other ways to go online or access web services for free. In the Philippines, for example, carriers offer free Facebook and online chat app services through various schemes.
Take the time to learn about the different ways you can go online without inflating your internet expenses. Because of the growing competition among internet service providers nowadays, you already have a great deal of options to avail of less expensive internet access. Don’t just stick to the traditional options. Remember that to achieve savings, you need to find ways instead of simply waiting for opportunities to have savings.
Image credit: Stuart Miles via Freedigitalphotos.net