Well, it’s November, which means we’ve reached our second-to-last category for maximizing your budget in 2015. Next month we’ll discuss non-discretionary spending, and then this series will be complete and we’ll all be budgeting wizards! Today we’ll be discussing how to maximize your Internet, cell phone, and cable bills. These categories are more straightforward than others we’ve discussed, but no less important. Each can add up to be huge bills each month that can make or break your budget. So let’s focus on ways to make sure they don’t break it.
We all need the Internet in our homes. It’s almost as essential as electricity and running water, so canceling your Internet altogether isn’t an option. Well, unless your neighbor has unprotected WiFi you can steal. Kidding. And sometimes you have no control over your Internet bill whatsoever. For us, it’s caked into the monthly HOA fee. But that’s not always the case, and sometimes you can find ways to save on your Internet bill each month.
- Shop around. If it’s possible in your area, shop around to different Internet carriers to compare prices. Even $10 saved per month adds up over the course of a year.
- Check your speed. If you’re able to choose your Internet speed, you may be paying for more than you actually need. Unless you’re doing some heavy duty gaming, you don’t need more than 10 to 20 MB/second. With one phone call, you can downgrade your Internet and save an extra $10 to $20 per month.
Calling About Your Bill
Speaking of phone calls, Johnny and I have a favorite way of saving on cable, cell phone, and Internet bills. And it’s pretty simple. All you do is pick up your phone and give them a call. It usually goes a little something like this:
Hi, I recently got my bill in the mail, and it’s a little higher than my budget can currently afford for [insert service here]. I was wondering if there’s a way to lower my monthly payment before I decide to cancel the service or go with another provider?
Our cell phone carrier always has some way to save money, like combining or lowering our monthly data. And there’s always a way to downgrade your cable package so that you’re not paying for channels you never use. Before you know it, you’re saving $50/month like it ain’t no thang.
Cell phone bills can be a beast. But now there are options to tame that beast. And you can find them in the new, budget cell phone carriers that have popped up over the last few years. Our two favorites are Ting and Republic Wireless. With these new carriers, your bill doesn’t just get cut in half. It becomes a tiny fraction of what it used to be. Johnny and I really want to switch to one of these as soon as our contract is up with our current carrier. Cell phone bills under $50/month? Yes, please.
Cutting the Cord
If you’re really looking to save some dough on your cable or satellite bill, we have an idea — get rid of it altogether! Now I know that sounds insane, but hear me out. About a year ago, Johnny and I said bye-bye to cable for the first time ever in our marriage. And we’ve never looked back since. Now of course we think everyone else should do it, too ;). The streaming possibilities for movies and TV shows are endless, and we now pay barely anything. We purchased an older Apple TV and we have Netflix, so our monthly TV bill is now less than $10/month. Johnny did an extremely comprehensive post on cutting the cable cord earlier this year, if you want more info. And if you’re not quite ready to say goodbye to live TV, there are options like Sling TV that will stream your favorite channels for only $20/month. In short, if you’re looking to save money each month and you still have cable/satellite, there are definitely other options out there.
Those are our best tips and tricks for keeping those bills under control. Now we want to hear yours! Anyone else out there have some favorite ways for keeping your cell phone, Internet, and TV-watching needs under control?