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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 March 13, 2019

How to Get out of a Rut: 12 Useful Ways to Get Unstuck

How to Get out of a Rut: 12 Useful Ways to Get Unstuck

Have you gotten into a rut before? Or are you in a rut right now?

You know you’re in a rut when you run out of ideas and inspiration. I personally see a rut as a productivity vacuum. It might very well be a reason why you aren’t getting results. Even as you spend more time on your work, you can’t seem to get anything constructive done. While I’m normally productive, I get into occasional ruts (especially when I’ve been working back-to-back without rest). During those times, I can spend an entire day in front of the computer and get nothing done. It can be quite frustrating.

Over time, I have tried and found several methods that are helpful to pull me out of a rut. If you experience ruts too, whether as a working professional, a writer, a blogger, a student or other work, you will find these useful. Here are 12 of my personal tips to get out of ruts:

1. Work on the small tasks.

When you are in a rut, tackle it by starting small. Clear away your smaller tasks which have been piling up. Reply to your emails, organize your documents, declutter your work space, and reply to private messages.

Whenever I finish doing that, I generate a positive momentum which I bring forward to my work.

2. Take a break from your work desk.

Get yourself away from your desk and go take a walk. Go to the washroom, walk around the office, go out and get a snack.

Your mind is too bogged down and needs some airing. Sometimes I get new ideas right after I walk away from my computer.

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3. Upgrade yourself

Take the down time to upgrade yourself. Go to a seminar. Read up on new materials (#7). Pick up a new language. Or any of the 42 ways here to improve yourself.

The modern computer uses different typefaces because Steve Jobs dropped in on a calligraphy class back in college. How’s that for inspiration?

4. Talk to a friend.

Talk to someone and get your mind off work for a while.

Talk about anything, from casual chatting to a deep conversation about something you really care about. You will be surprised at how the short encounter can be rejuvenating in its own way.

5. Forget about trying to be perfect.

If you are in a rut, the last thing you want to do is step on your own toes with perfectionist tendencies.

Just start small. Do what you can, at your own pace. Let yourself make mistakes.

Soon, a little trickle of inspiration will come. And then it’ll build up with more trickles. Before you know it, you have a whole stream of ideas.

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6. Paint a vision to work towards.

If you are continuously getting in a rut with your work, maybe there’s no vision inspiring you to move forward.

Think about why you are doing this, and what you are doing it for. What is the end vision in mind?

Make it as vivid as possible. Make sure it’s a vision that inspires you and use that to trigger you to action.

7. Read a book (or blog).

The things we read are like food to our brain. If you are out of ideas, it’s time to feed your brain with great materials.

Here’s a list of 40 books you can start off with. Stock your browser with only the feeds of high quality blogs, such as Lifehack.org, DumbLittleMan, Seth Godin’s Blog, Tim Ferris’ Blog, Zen Habits or The Personal Excellence Blog.

Check out the best selling books; those are generally packed with great wisdom.

8. Have a quick nap.

If you are at home, take a quick nap for about 20-30 minutes. This clears up your mind and gives you a quick boost. Nothing quite like starting off on a fresh start after catching up on sleep.

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9. Remember why you are doing this.

Sometimes we lose sight of why we do what we do, and after a while we become jaded. A quick refresher on why you even started on this project will help.

What were you thinking when you thought of doing this? Retrace your thoughts back to that moment. Recall why you are doing this. Then reconnect with your muse.

10. Find some competition.

Nothing quite like healthy competition to spur us forward. If you are out of ideas, then check up on what people are doing in your space.

Colleagues at work, competitors in the industry, competitors’ products and websites, networking conventions.. you get the drill.

11. Go exercise.

Since you are not making headway at work, might as well spend the time shaping yourself up.

Sometimes we work so much that we neglect our health and fitness. Go jog, swim, cycle, whichever exercise you prefer.

As you improve your physical health, your mental health will improve, too. The different facets of ourselves are all interlinked.

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Here’re 15 Tips to Restart the Exercise Habit (and How to Keep It).

12. Take a good break.

Ruts are usually signs that you have been working too long and too hard. It’s time to get a break.

Beyond the quick tips above, arrange for a 1-day or 2-days of break from your work. Don’t check your (work) emails or do anything work-related. Relax and do your favorite activities. You will return to your work recharged and ready to start.

Contrary to popular belief, the world will not end from taking a break from your work. In fact, you will be much more ready to make an impact after proper rest. My best ideas and inspiration always hit me whenever I’m away from my work.

Take a look at this to learn the importance of rest: The Importance of Scheduling Downtime

More Resources About Getting out of a Rut

Featured photo credit: Joshua Earle via unsplash.com

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