8 Money-Saving Secrets Your Internet Provider Doesn't Want You to Know

Internet services may be an expensive part of your budget, but there are ways to bring down your monthly bill.

Network cables connected to a router or modem
Updated July 18, 2024
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Internet services have become more necessary to modern life as people work from home or sign on to watch movies and television shows.

But getting internet service to your home can be confusing. You have to figure out which providers you have access to or what speed you want to pay for.

So what do internet providers not want you to know about this process? There are a few secrets they keep that may help you get better services — and some that could even boost your bank account.

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You can negotiate your contract

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Providers want to keep you as a customer, and if you call them about your contract, they may renegotiate it with you. They may even have secret discounts for loyal customers that you can ask about.

But to negotiate well, you also may have to be willing to walk away.

Do your research before you call, and be ready to tell them about a better deal you may have found with a competitor. If they can’t match or beat that deal, it may be time to switch.

You can buy your own router and modem

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If you’ve looked over your internet bill lately, you may see a line item for equipment rental. This covers the router and modem you rent from your provider, along with any additional equipment for your service.

If you’re trying to cut your internet service costs, it may be a good idea to buy your own router and modem instead of paying those rental fees. There is an initial upfront cost of investing in your own equipment, but it could pay off in the long run.

Their hardware may be outdated

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One advantage to renting equipment from your provider is that they might send you new equipment as your older version becomes outdated. But in other cases, they might drag their feet on updating your hardware due to costs on their end.

Call your provider, particularly if you’re having issues with slow internet access, and see if they can give you an equipment refresh.

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You might have the wrong plan for your data needs

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Do you have a limit on how much data you can use each month?

That might not be a big issue if you have the right plan for your daily use rate. But if you have a data plan with a cap that you hit on a regular basis, it could be hitting your wallet in a major way.

If you’re trying to save money, you may have to actually pay a little more to upgrade your data package in order to avoid overage fees. Check your bills and see if any upgrade could save you money compared to the overage penalties you may be paying.

You can save by bundling

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Some companies may have ways you can save by bundling more of their services with your internet plan. Perhaps they offer cable services as well that could be cheaper than if you chose a live-television streaming provider to pair with your internet services.

They may reward loyal customers

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Some customers switch from provider to provider every few years. But if you’re a customer that has stuck around, you should ask to be rewarded for your loyalty.

Providers want to encourage you to stay with them, so see if they can offer you a loyal customer discount or additional services without bumping your bill higher.

Your phone's hotspot could be enough for you

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Many cell phone providers offer customers an unlimited monthly plan, which means you could convert your phone into an internet hotspot at home and ditch your traditional internet provider.

You can even use your phone's hotspot to stream shows or movies to your television. Just keep in mind, depending on how much you use the internet at home the speed of the hotspot might not correspond to your needs.

You could always test it for a week to find out if you actually don't need your internet provider after all. 

You may qualify for an income-driven plan

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Depending on how much money you make (as well as other factors), you may qualify for a cheaper plan based on your income. 

The service may not be as good as if you were paying for a traditional plan, but it might be a good option if you’re trying to move beyond living paycheck to paycheck.

Bottom line

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Don’t get discouraged if your internet bill gets the best of your income. There are ways to eliminate some money stress.

Do some shopping around and talk to your provider about ways you may be able to stop wasting money and lower your monthly bill.

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Author Details

Jenny Cohen

Jenny Cohen is a freelance writer who has covered a bit of everything, from finance to sports to her favorite TV shows. Her work has been featured in The Wall Street Journal, USA Today, and FoxSports.com.