With the cost-of-living crisis almost deepening by the week, more of us are looking at ways to reduce our monthly outgoings.
One way that you may not have considered, is by paying less for your home broadband. There are several ways you can ensure you don’t overpay – from choosing a package that includes only what you need, to several little-known methods to reduce the price you’re paying every month on your existing plan.
Here are our top tips to save money on your broadband costs.
It sounds almost too good to be true, but there is a little-known way to – in many cases – halve your broadband costs instantly.
What’s the catch? There isn’t one, but you need to be in receipt of certain benefits, such as Universal Credit or PIP to be eligible.
This new system is called ‘Social Tariff’ and so far, take up has been very low. In fact, Ofcom’s research suggests that only 2% of eligible households have taken up the offer.
Reliable internet access is often regarded as a basic right, so if you are in receipt of Universal Credit, and are struggling with paying your monthly bills, have a word with your broadband provider about the Social Tariff discounts available.
If you are struggling to pay your monthly broadband or TV bills, you may be interested to know that you can haggle with your provider to save money. In fact, a recent survey found that one in five people have tried haggling with their service provider at least once.
It’s a good idea to firstly be familiar with your contract and past account history before you start to haggle. It’s incredibly important to frame it in your mind as the price tag you see on your bill is only the starting point. The real cost of your Internet service may be much lower.
Finally, it’s also a good idea to be prepared to walk away if you don’t get the deal that you’re after.
When you first call to discuss your bill, you’ll probably be kept waiting for a while. After all, most providers don’t want you to leave, so they hope you give up and hang up. But don’t be deterred. However, if you don’t feel comfortable talking with a human being, you can try an instant messaging program or a live chat service. The latter is less stressful, and you can also take notes and keep your own record of the conversation.
It’s a good idea, while you’re talking on the phone to your provider, to ask about any other services they offer in your area – for example, you may be offered a fibre upgrade that you didn’t know about. They may also offer additional channels (if you have a TV pack) or speed upgrades.
All this aside, the best piece of advice is often to wait. Why? Because when your contract is ending, this is the best time to get a discount. It’s especially true if you’re on a rolling contract, which will give you more leverage when negotiating with your provider.
If you want to get the best deal on your broadband bill, there are many price comparison websites around now. They will help you find the best deal without having to haggle with your provider directly. These comparison sites can also provide information about other broadband providers – such as prices, contract length, download limits and so on.
You’ve probably used these types of websites before for your utility bills, as most of them also offer price comparisons on things like home/car insurance, energy and mortgages.
Price comparison websites can be very effective, but you should be cautious. Some companies charge a one-off fee or a percentage of the purchase. You could miss out on a better deal if you don’t pay attention.
One price comparison website that is easy to use is Uswitch. You need to enter your postcode to be able to see deals local to you. A similar, newly launched website called Broadband.Deals also offer a broadband & fibre comparison service.
For people with limited time, price comparison websites can be a great resource. Be aware of the drawbacks though: comparison sites can be helpful, but they don’t give you a complete view of the market.
The faster the internet connection, the pricier the plan will be, or so the rule goes. If you’re currently on an expensive fibre contract giving you 1000Mbps, you need to question whether it’s what you need.
Just be aware that a cheaper price can sometimes translate to slower download/upload speeds. If you ask to be placed onto a cheaper plan, be sure that it’s suitable for your entire household’s needs first.
The best way to find out what broadband speed you need, is to run a broadband speed test – Google offer such a service now: Google it and make a note of your average download speed.
If, however, you are entirely happy with the speed you’re getting from your current provider, then your new broadband plan should have a similar speed – make sure to read the small print.
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