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How To Save Big On Internet Service For Your New Apartment

How To Save Big On Internet Service For Your New Apartment

Caps off, grads — you’ve graduated! You’re likely moving out on your own to start the next chapter in life, and you’ve now got to pay for arguably your most important utility: Internet. Sure, in a pinch you can mooch Wi-Fi off the local coffee shop or rely on your campus’s clogged signal. But what about a long-term solution?

The average cost of Internet in America for a month is $47.30 — a hefty sum for someone living on their own for the first time. And with the popularity of cord-cutting, video streaming, and working from home, fast Internet is a necessary bill you’ve got to keep in your budget.

So how can you save on your monthly Internet bill?

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1. Take Advantage Of Promotional Prices

You’ve already got a price advantage by being a new customer. Internet Service Providers (ISPs) all want your new business, and they’ve got plenty of promotional discounts to entice you to sign on. If you’re willing to meet a few extra conditions — signing a two-year contract, enrolling in paperless billing, etc. — you’re likely to score an extra discount as well.

Regardless of the deal you take, make sure to read the fine print. You don’t want to find out a few months into the contract that the promotion period was shorter than you thought.

2. Figure Out What You’ll Be Paying For

Home Internet bills can be confusing statements full of additional fees and taxes. Before you commit, press the provider to find out exactly what you will be paying for — hidden fees and all. What will your monthly bill come to when you total the base price, speed surcharges, and equipment rental fees?

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The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) is currently fighting to force ISPs to be more clear about their pricing structures, which will hopefully make this step easier. If you’re still finding it difficult to interpret mysterious bill coding in the meantime, simply call the ISP and ask for clarification.

3. Buy Your Own Hardware

Most ISPs will let you “lease” a modem and router for a small fee — roughly $5–$10 per month. This can add up quick, and some ISPs won’t let you keep the equipment if you switch provides. Consider instead paying $50 to $100 for your own modem and router, making sure to verify that you’re getting a device that’s compatible with your ISP of choice. You’ll have to pay a little more upfront, but it could save you money in the long run.

4. Pick The Right Speed

You may be tempted to choose a plan with the highest speed possible, but try to get one that fits your needs instead. Most ISPs offer speeds over 100 Mbps and, unless you’re sharing your connection with a roommate, that speed tier will probably be unnecessary. Start small and pick the lowest plan you can function with, then see how that setup works for you. You can always upgrade if necessary. Nearly any ISP will happily upgrade your plan or speed, usually without a fee.

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To help orient you as you start looking at speeds, the latest benchmark report from the FCC suggests that an Internet plan with a minimum download speed of 25 Mbps and a minimum upload speed of 3 Mbps should be sufficient to handle most Americans’ Internet use. It won’t hurt to use a speed estimating tool, either.

5. Speak to a Human and Negotiate

If you want to negotiate a good deal, talk to a human. You’re not going to get the best price by just booking whatever deal is available on the ISP’s website. But before you call the ISP, do your homework. Check out what other Internet services are available in your area and write down their prices. Especially jot down information about competitors that have cheaper Internet, even if you have no intention of committing to them.

When you do call, employ some sales tactics to argue for the best deal available. Be polite and unaggressive as you explain that you found a cheaper service in the area. They’ll inevitably try to convince you that their service is better, but stick to your price sheet, emphasizing the importance of a good price. With a little luck, you may be able to land a package you like at a cost you love.

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Ready to find the perfect plan? Use online comparison sites to find the best deals in your area, then study the costs and compare speeds. With a little perseverance, you’ll save big on a great Internet service for your first official apartment after graduation.

Featured photo credit: iStock via istockphoto.com

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Last Updated on July 8, 2020

18 Benefits of Journaling That Will Change Your Life

18 Benefits of Journaling That Will Change Your Life

The act of writing in a journal often seems daunting or unnecessary to many people. Even authors who work on novels might shun the idea of daily diaries. What purpose does jotting down words on a regular basis do if not contributing to the next novel, play or song? I know from experience many benefits of journaling that I wish to share.

1. Understand Yourself Better

Though many people and even writers avoid keeping journals, I vow to do it more often. Not only do I desire to take up daily journaling but also I plan to do it with pen to paper.

Some of the benefits I’ve found from my more active days include finding myself in the sense of understanding what matters to me and what I want out of life. I’ve been incredibly fortunate to find a spouse who is my best friend and advocate in raising children. I attribute this and much more to what I learned about myself in keeping journals for years.

2. Keep Track of Small Changes

I’ll admit that I never got very far with my guitar lessons, but in writing in a journal, I have seen the ability to track small changes like those that come when you practice anything.

Those learning a musical instrument often fail to see the small improvements that come with regular practice. Writing won’t help you switch chords any faster, but it will help you to develop a better sense for language and grammar just by doing it.

3. Become Aware of What Matters

As you continue to write in a journal, following a stream-of-consciousness feel, you can look back on the topics that you chose to write about. Those issues and emotions that poured out of you will provide insight on to what matters most to you.

You may not even realize that you’re job is depressing you or that you want to spend more time with your kids until you look over your thoughts that you weren’t really thinking about.

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4. Boost Creativity

The idea that the brain and its neural activity across hemispheres encourages learning also shows up in increased creativity. Just like with learning an instrument, your increased activity will inspire your thoughts to connect and reconnect in different ways.

When I wrote in a journal, I often wrote poetry as well as just my thoughts as they came out. I started to hear poems more in my mind; so much so that I took to scrawling lines on napkins and finding metaphors in mundane activities.

You really are what you do, so writing helps grow more than being a writer. Writing boosts the way you communicate and structure language, which really is a creative process.

5. Represents Your Emotions in a Safe Environment

A journal is as private as it gets. You can lock it in a safe or tuck it under a pillow and no one will accidentally share it on social media or have an opportunity to “leave a comment.”

Write about your sorrow as much as your happiness and frustration and know that you don’t have to keep your emotions inside your body. You can put them on paper.

6. Process Life Experiences

When you take the time to look back over what you’ve written, be it a week or a year later, you will have the distance you need to more objectively interpret your raw feelings.

Everything from losing a job to losing a loved one can emerge in a new light for a fresh perspective. Figuring out how the benefits of journaling affect your perspective on life will create connection and increase creativity.

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7. Stress Relief

In combining the exercise inherent in fine motor coordination that comes from the act of writing with the emotional release of self expression, those who maintain a journal relieve stress.

Try it out. Go home and write about your day. Write about the traffic. Write about the coffee order the barista got wrong but you didn’t have time to change. See how you can physically purge some of that pent-up stress by putting it on paper.

8. Provide Direction

Though journaling is often conducted as an activity without much direction, it often provides direction.

One of the biggest benefits of journaling is that your chaotic thoughts merge to show a direction in which to head. Asking the right questions is the only way to achieve the best solutions, so look to your journal to find your way toward your next goal.

9. Solve Problems

Just as in practicing math problems, we all get better at finding hidden solutions through the act of processing.

Think of your next goal as X and solve your life problems by reading your journals as word problems. The benefit of journaling here is that you write, explore and process to recognize and then solve problems.

When life is too in-your-face, you have to step back to see reality. Living in the moment allows us to write in the moment and use that expression to solve problems.

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10. Find Relief From Fighting

Solving your problems only comes after time to process, recognize and strategize. Just as in the benefit of journaling where relief comes from the act of writing, relief from fighting comes when you decide to “sit this one out” and communicate one-way.

Fighting is only productive when the fighters care to communicate and find common ground. When the emotions are as high as the stress levels, writing will function as the best time out.

11. Find Meaning in Life

Journaling will show you why you are living, whether you are wallowing in things you wish to change or striving to make the changes. Your life will begin to take on new meaning and your own words will reveal the actions that got you where you are so that you can assess and pave a new path for your future.

12. Allow Yourself to Focus

Taking even a small amount of time out of every day will provide you with not only peace of mind but also increased focus. Taking a break to meditate in writing and journaling will sharpen your mental faculties.

13. Sharpen Your Spirituality

When we write, we allow all the energy and experiences to flow through us, which often provides further insight into our own spirituality. Even if your parents didn’t raise you to follow a specific religion, your thoughts will start to show you what you believe about the universe and your place in it.

14. Let the Past Go

I’ve mentioned a few examples where going back over your writing offers advice and direction, but the simply truth is that writing down our feelings can be the best way to let them go. We can choose to literally throw these pages away when they’re filled with negativity and hate.

15. Allow Freedom

Journaling is the perfect way to not only express yourself but to also experience the freedom of being who you are. Your books can stay private or you can publish them. Your freedom stems from your sense of self and your perception of your thoughts.

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16. Enhance Your Career

Again, the private act of pen-to-paper processing provides the benefits of journaling mentioned above, but you can also enhance your career when you take similar ideas and categorize, edit and publish them in an online blog.

Your thoughts will often be personal and express emotions, but another benefit of journaling is uncovering fresh ideas about your work.

17. Literally Explore Your Dreams

All the benefits I’ve mentioned explore ideas, thoughts and emotions, which is also what our dreams and nightmares do. Through writing down your dreams from the previous night, you can enhance your creativity as well as connect some of the metaphorical dots from the rest of your journal.

18. Catalog Your Life for Others

No one wants to think about dying, but we all die. Leaving a journal will act as a way to reconnect with family and friends left behind. The ideas you wish to keep personal while you process the life you’re living will serve to rekindle and inspire those who loved you through the process.

We consider our partners our life witnesses, but writing provides a tangible mark on the world.

Now that you’ve learned all the benefits of journaling, it’s time to start writing a journal:

Featured photo credit: Kelly Sikkema via unsplash.com

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