Do One Thing: Take a look at your latest bills for phone service, internet, and TV (streaming and/or cable) to get a clear picture of where your money is going. Then, look to see how much you could save each month by moving to a lower-tiered plan.
Between cell phone plans, streaming services, internet, and cable TV, Americans are spending an estimated $282.55 per month – or nearly $3,400 a year – to stay connected, informed, and entertained, according to recent data from Reviews.org. Your bills could be higher or lower, of course, depending on your plan, where you live, and whether the providers have competition in your area.
This is how those average costs break down, the data analysis shows:
$88 for internet
$66 for a phone plan on a major carrier
$55 for streaming services
$80 for cable
Strategies for Saving More
As we look for ways to save more money, there are steps we can take to reign in our spending by digging into the programming we actually consume and taking a hard look at how much we use our smartphones, computers, and other devices.
Here are some strategies for cutting your costs on TV, internet, and phone packages:
Do You Really Need Unlimited?
Let’s start with our cell phone plans. One recent survey found that some 79% of U.S. adults reported having phone plans that included unlimited talk and text. Unless you use your phone to watch movies and work, you may not be using as much data as you are paying for.
- Bonus: it only takes a few minutes to figure this out. Go to the settings feature on your phone and look up your data usage. Then, take a look at your bill to see if you are coming anywhere near what you are paying for. If you aren’t, that could be one place to cut back.
The same strategy can be used for reviewing your internet plan. If you don’t work from home – and even if you do – you may not need a maxed-out gigabit package. Just like with electricity and other utilities, most internet providers allow their customers access to their usage. If you can’t find this info with your online bill, you can call the company and have a representative help you track it down.
Consider Switching Carriers
Another way to lower your monthly costs is by switching to a new carrier that’s not one of the big three – AT&T, Verizon or T-Mobile. Known as Mobile Virtual Network Operators, other carriers such as Mint Mobile, Tello and Consumer Cellular often offer prepaid plans that start as low as $15 a month. You can do a Google search and head to their websites to see which lower-priced package might work for you.
Streamline Your Streaming
If you haven’t taken a look at how much you are spending on streaming services, there’s no time like the present. With the average cost hovering at $55 for many Americans, Consumer Reports analyzed dozens of streaming plans to illustrate how you can craft your own streaming-video ‘packages’ for about $25 per month and cut the cord on cable. You can also buy an antenna (they are much smaller and less obtrusive than in years past) to get local programming in your area.
Don’t Forget to Negotiate
If you happen to like the cell phone or internet plan you have, but need to lower your expenses, remember this: Almost everything is negotiable. Don’t underestimate the power of calling up your provider and asking to see if you may qualify for any discounts to help lower your bill. You could also check to see if the provider can bundle several services together to ultimately lower what you pay monthly. Good luck!
With reporting by Casandra Andrews