8 ways to reduce your internet costs

How can we maximise our connectivity but minimise our internet bills? With broadband costs rising, Carolyn Tate has uncovered 8 savvy ways to reduce your ongoing home internet costs.

Are your home internet costs creeping up?

Staying connected online has become an essential part of daily life for most of us, but those internet costs can creep up and sting if you’re not careful.

Canstar Blue reports the average Australian household pays $75 a month for their internet bill, which works out to be significant over the long term, at $900 a year.

That’s about how much it would cost you to drive from Melbourne to Uluru and back, have your lawn mown once a month, or to buy 36 six-packs of beer.

The Australian competition regulator has also urged Australians to shop around for better internet deals.

Whether you're a streamer, a worker, a gamer, or just a browser, there could be ways you could trim your internet expenses to be a little bit more manageable. Let’s take a look at some tweaks that could help you reduce your internet expenses and make the most of your connectivity.

1. Evaluate your current plan

It may sound obvious but start by assessing your current internet plan. Does it align with your current needs and budget? Consider factors like download/upload speeds, data limits, and additional services. Every household is different, but 50 megabits per second is usually enough for a household of one or two people. If you're consistently paying for more than you use, it may be time to downgrade and explore a more suitable plan.

2. Bundle your services (but only if you need them)

Many Australian internet service providers (ISPs) offer bundled packages that combine internet, phone, and television services. Bundling can lead to substantial savings compared with buying these services separately. Figure out what you actually need (are you still paying for a home phone, and if so, how many people call it that aren’t telemarketers?) and opt for a bundle that suits your preferences while keeping costs in check.

3. Negotiate with your provider

If you feel a bit strange about negotiating with your provider, put those feelings aside and be prepared to pick up the phone and ask for what you want. In a competitive market, ISPs are often willing to offer discounts or promotions to retain loyal customers. It helps if you do your homework first, so you can tell your provider what you need on your plan, what their competitors are offering, and whether you’re willing to commit to a contract.

If you need a starting point, try this script:

Hello, my account number is xxx. I’ve been with you for x years, but I’ve been offered a better deal by xx. Their monthly package is $xx, which is $xx less than you’re charging me. Given our longstanding relationship, are you willing to match the offer?

4. Consider NBN alternatives

The National Broadband Network (NBN) is a popular choice, but there are different tiers and types to choose from, with many customers being put onto the fastest one available in their area as a default. There are also alternative internet technologies like fixed wireless, ADSL, or cable, which could better suit your needs and budget. Research available options in your area to make an informed decision about cost-effective alternatives with reliable performance.

5. Monitor your data usage

If you have a data limit on your plan, exceeding it can result in additional charges, which can be a nasty surprise when you receive your bill. Keep tabs on your data consumption (your provider will have a way for you to view your usage) and adjust your internet habits accordingly to avoid unnecessary costs.

Apps running silently in the background can rapidly deplete your data allowances. You can also set limits on data usage for individual devices, which could help you keep it in check. If you find that you need that extra data each month, look for a plan that can accommodate those needs in a cost-effective way.

Calling your current provider with your account details and asking them to match a better advertised deal can land you a cheaper offer.

6. Opt for prepaid mobile broadband

If you’re an occasional or light internet user, sticking to prepaid mobile broadband can be a cost-effective solution. You simply buy a prepaid data SIM card and insert it into a compatible device. This way, you only pay for the data you use, making it a flexible and budget-friendly option.

7. Explore discount offers

Many internet providers offer discounted internet plans for seniors, usually with a Health Care Card or Pensioner Concession Card. The Australian Communications Consumer Action Network lists many of the offers on its website, but it’s always worth asking your ISP, or a potential provider if you’re shopping around, if they offer any discounts.

8. Consider changing providers

Competition among ISPs means that different providers offer various packages and pricing structures. Research and compare offerings from multiple providers to find one that delivers the services you need at a more competitive price. If your current provider won’t match it, switching providers could lead to significant savings.

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