The average American pays $79 a month for wireless internet service and $72 a month for wired internet service, according to data released in October 2023 by market research company J.D. Power. That's over $860 a year—a significant chunk of money, and one that the vast majority of U.S. households include in their budget in order to access the internet.
So, given that you're likely spending hundreds of dollars a year to connect to the digital world, how can you cut your internet service bill? Here are six ways you can save money on your internet service.
1. Shop Around
Just as you should do when you're buying a car or a home insurance policy, you should compare prices and other factors (such as speeds and contract terms) when you're preparing to sign up with a new internet service provider. This should give you a good idea of how much you'd pay for service and what features you'd be able to afford.
2. Examine Your Bill
Take a close look at your internet service bill and see whether:
- You're paying overage fees. These kick in when you're gobbling more data than your current plan allows. You may be able to avoid overage fees—which are around $10 for every 50 gigabytes of data past your monthly limit—by switching to a different plan.
- You're paying for a higher level of service than you need. If this is the case, you might be able to downgrade to a cheaper plan. For instance, reducing the speed of your internet service might slash your monthly bill by as much as $25.
3. Negotiate Your Bill
It might pay off to contact your internet service provider and ask how you can lower your bill.
Ideally, you should use this tactic when you're nearing the end of your contract. At this point, you've got bargaining power—the company doesn't want to lose you as a customer. You're in an even better negotiating position if you always pay your bill on time.
Before you pick up the phone and call your internet service provider, do some homework to figure out what types of prices and promotions are being offered by your provider's competitors. You may be able to use this information as a bargaining tool.
Keep in mind that you may need to spend an hour on the phone or even make numerous calls to negotiate a lower bill. Regardless of the amount of effort you're putting in, always be courteous when speaking with company representatives and always keep the threat of canceling your service in your back pocket.
If you'd rather not negotiate with your internet service provider, you can sign up with a service like Experian BillFixer™ to do the work for you.
4. Check Into Discounts
Many internet service providers give discounts. For example, Verizon provides discounts to customers in service jobs, such as teachers, nurses and active-duty military members. Meanwhile, Xfinity offers a $10-a-month discount if you sign up for autopay or make monthly online payments.
In addition, you may be able to score savings if you bundle services from one company, such as internet and cellphone service.
5. Use Your Own Equipment
Instead of paying a monthly fee to rent a modem and router from your internet service provider, why not buy your own? This likely will result in cost savings over the long run.
A basic modem goes for about $50, while a suitable router might cost roughly $100 to $150. Or you can pick up a modem-router combo for about $99 to $500. By comparison, fees for renting this equipment might total $120 to $300 a year.
6. Look Into Government Assistance
The federal Affordable Connectivity Program provides a $30-a-month discount on internet service for eligible households. In addition, the White House has signed up 20 internet service providers—including AT&T, Comcast, Cox Communications, Spectrum, and Verizon—to offer internet service at no more than $30 a month to eligible households. If someone pairs these two benefits, they may be able to enjoy high-speed internet service at no cost.
You can qualify for these discounts in one of these two ways:
- You, your child or your dependent is enrolled in government programs like Medicaid, SNAP (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program) or WIC (Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children).
- You meet requirements for household income.
The Bottom Line
A 2022 survey found that over the previous three years, cost ranked as the top reason that U.S. internet customers had left their providers. On top of that, nearly half of Americans (46%) questioned for the survey mentioned lowering the cost as the one thing they'd change about their current internet plan. If you're one of these folks, you may be able to save money on your internet service by negotiating the price or switching to a new provider, for example. Investing some time in this mission could end up putting more money in your bank account.