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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 September 16, 2019

How to Stop Procrastinating: 11 Practical Ways for Procrastinators

How to Stop Procrastinating: 11 Practical Ways for Procrastinators

You have a deadline looming. However, instead of doing your work, you are fiddling with miscellaneous things like checking email, social media, watching videos, surfing blogs and forums. You know you should be working, but you just don’t feel like doing anything.

We are all familiar with the procrastination phenomenon. When we procrastinate, we squander away our free time and put off important tasks we should be doing them till it’s too late. And when it is indeed too late, we panic and wish we got started earlier.

The chronic procrastinators I know have spent years of their life looped in this cycle. Delaying, putting off things, slacking, hiding from work, facing work only when it’s unavoidable, then repeating this loop all over again. It’s a bad habit that eats us away and prevents us from achieving greater results in life.

Don’t let procrastination take over your life. Here, I will share my personal steps on how to stop procrastinating. These 11 steps will definitely apply to you too:

1. Break Your Work into Little Steps

Part of the reason why we procrastinate is because subconsciously, we find the work too overwhelming for us. Break it down into little parts, then focus on one part at the time. If you still procrastinate on the task after breaking it down, then break it down even further. Soon, your task will be so simple that you will be thinking “gee, this is so simple that I might as well just do it now!”.

For example, I’m currently writing a new book (on How to achieve anything in life). Book writing at its full scale is an enormous project and can be overwhelming. However, when I break it down into phases such as –

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  • (1) Research
  • (2) Deciding the topic
  • (3) Creating the outline
  • (4) Drafting the content
  • (5) Writing Chapters #1 to #10,
  • (6) Revision
  • (7) etc.

Suddenly it seems very manageable. What I do then is to focus on the immediate phase and get it done to my best ability, without thinking about the other phases. When it’s done, I move on to the next.

2. Change Your Environment

Different environments have different impact on our productivity. Look at your work desk and your room. Do they make you want to work or do they make you want to snuggle and sleep? If it’s the latter, you should look into changing your workspace.

One thing to note is that an environment that makes us feel inspired before may lose its effect after a period of time. If that’s the case, then it’s time to change things around. Refer to Steps #2 and #3 of 13 Strategies To Jumpstart Your Productivity, which talks about revamping your environment and workspace.

3. Create a Detailed Timeline with Specific Deadlines

Having just 1 deadline for your work is like an invitation to procrastinate. That’s because we get the impression that we have time and keep pushing everything back, until it’s too late.

Break down your project (see tip #1), then create an overall timeline with specific deadlines for each small task. This way, you know you have to finish each task by a certain date. Your timelines must be robust, too – i.e. if you don’t finish this by today, it’s going to jeopardize everything else you have planned after that. This way it creates the urgency to act.

My goals are broken down into monthly, weekly, right down to the daily task lists, and the list is a call to action that I must accomplish this by the specified date, else my goals will be put off.

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Here’re more tips on setting deadlines: 22 Tips for Effective Deadlines

4. Eliminate Your Procrastination Pit-Stops

If you are procrastinating a little too much, maybe that’s because you make it easy to procrastinate.

Identify your browser bookmarks that take up a lot of your time and shift them into a separate folder that is less accessible. Disable the automatic notification option in your email client. Get rid of the distractions around you.

I know some people will out of the way and delete or deactivate their facebook accounts. I think it’s a little drastic and extreme as addressing procrastination is more about being conscious of our actions than counteracting via self-binding methods, but if you feel that’s what’s needed, go for it.

5. Hang out with People Who Inspire You to Take Action

I’m pretty sure if you spend just 10 minutes talking to Steve Jobs or Bill Gates, you’ll be more inspired to act than if you spent the 10 minutes doing nothing. The people we are with influence our behaviors. Of course spending time with Steve Jobs or Bill Gates every day is probably not a feasible method, but the principle applies — The Hidden Power of Every Single Person Around You

Identify the people, friends or colleagues who trigger you – most likely the go-getters and hard workers – and hang out with them more often. Soon you will inculcate their drive and spirit too.

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As a personal development blogger, I “hang out” with inspiring personal development experts by reading their blogs and corresponding with them regularly via email and social media. It’s communication via new media and it works all the same.

6. Get a Buddy

Having a companion makes the whole process much more fun. Ideally, your buddy should be someone who has his/her own set of goals. Both of you will hold each other accountable to your goals and plans. While it’s not necessary for both of you to have the same goals, it’ll be even better if that’s the case, so you can learn from each other.

I have a good friend whom I talk to regularly, and we always ask each other about our goals and progress in achieving those goals. Needless to say, it spurs us to keep taking action.

7. Tell Others About Your Goals

This serves the same function as #6, on a larger scale. Tell all your friends, colleagues, acquaintances and family about your projects. Now whenever you see them, they are bound to ask you about your status on those projects.

For example, sometimes I announce my projects on The Personal Excellence Blog, Twitter and Facebook, and my readers will ask me about them on an ongoing basis. It’s a great way to keep myself accountable to my plans.

8. Seek out Someone Who Has Already Achieved the Outcome

What is it you want to accomplish here, and who are the people who have accomplished this already? Go seek them out and connect with them. Seeing living proof that your goals are very well achievable if you take action is one of the best triggers for action.

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9. Re-Clarify Your Goals

If you have been procrastinating for an extended period of time, it might reflect a misalignment between what you want and what you are currently doing. Often times, we outgrow our goals as we discover more about ourselves, but we don’t change our goals to reflect that.

Get away from your work (a short vacation will be good, else just a weekend break or staycation will do too) and take some time to regroup yourself. What exactly do you want to achieve? What should you do to get there? What are the steps to take? Does your current work align with that? If not, what can you do about it?

10. Stop Over-Complicating Things

Are you waiting for a perfect time to do this? That maybe now is not the best time because of X, Y, Z reasons? Ditch that thought because there’s never a perfect time. If you keep waiting for one, you are never going to accomplish anything.

Perfectionism is one of the biggest reasons for procrastination. Read more about why perfectionist tendencies can be a bane than a boon: Why Being A Perfectionist May Not Be So Perfect.

11. Get a Grip and Just Do It

At the end, it boils down to taking action. You can do all the strategizing, planning and hypothesizing, but if you don’t take action, nothing’s going to happen. Occasionally, I get readers and clients who keep complaining about their situations but they still refuse to take action at the end of the day.

Reality check:

I have never heard anyone procrastinate their way to success before and I doubt it’s going to change in the near future.  Whatever it is you are procrastinating on, if you want to get it done, you need to get a grip on yourself and do it.

More About Procrastination

Featured photo credit: Malvestida Magazine via unsplash.com

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