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Want to Save Money on Tech? Try These 8 Things.
Internet, cell service, cable, security cameras, phones—we spend a ton of money on tech services and products.
But what if we told you that you don’t have to? What if we told you that there are ways to lower your spending on all this tech?
It’s actually pretty easy! Read on to learn how to lower the cost of your internet, phone, cable, and more.
1. Downgrade your internet speed
Do you need the fastest internet, or could you downgrade?
Generally, the average-sized household with average web use (some streaming, some gaming, working from home, and a few security devices) only needs about 50 to 100 Mbps.
If you fit in that category, there are several cheap internet providers you can look into: AT&T, Simply Unlimited, Connect, Spectrum, and Internet 100, for starters. These providers offer speeds of 50 to 300 Mbps at monthly prices of $19.99 to $55.
For more information on saving money on Wi-Fi, check out How to Get Cheap Internet.
2. Choose an MVNO cell phone provider
If your high cell phone bill drives you crazy, try moving to an MVNO (Mobile Virtual Network Operator).
MVNOs borrow the cell phone networks of the mobile head honchos, like Verizon. They can then charge you less because they don't need to pay for network infrastructure. Seriously, some MVNO plans cost less than your favorite streaming service.
There’s a downside, though. You might get deprioritized because a third party owns the network.
If your MVNO uses the Sprint network and you’re, say, at Comic Con, the hundreds of people around you who pay Sprint directly will get priority for cell service and data. Their phone calls, texts, and cosplay Instagram posts will go through before yours.
That’s the trade-off with MVNOs. You may not get the fastest service, but you'll undoubtedly save money. For folks with pinched pockets, it's often worth it.
To learn more about MVNOs, read Best MVNO Carriers.
3. Cut the cord
Got cable? It might be time to let it go.
We recently compared cable and streaming and learned that in the average household, they cost about the same.
But streaming is more time-flexible. Its business model makes it easier to cancel and get discounts, and there’s a lot of free streaming content out there. We’re talking everything from OG homemade YouTube series like Charlie the Unicorn to more professional content on free apps like Dust.
Cable is a lot more rigid, traditional, and difficult to cancel. For that reason, we recommend cutting the cord and picking streaming over cable.
But if you’re strapped for cash and prefer cable to streaming, it’s equally valid to put Netflix on the chopping block. Either way, you’ll save money.
Check out our Best Cable Alternatives for more info.
4. Swap cable TV providers
If you're committed to cable, you can do something to lower your bill: swap providers!
Gone are the days when you bought your cable from the salesman who just happened to stop by your house. Now you can research like a fiend to pick the precisely right service.
And, there’s a lot of variety out there. Look for a plan and provider that meet at the intersection of how many channels you want versus how much you’re willing to pay for them, and you’ll be golden.
What if you’re happy with the cable plan you currently have? Consider switching anyway. Some providers will offer discounts for new customers, which could lower your bill quite a bit. And once your contract runs out with the new provider, you can go back to your original service.
5. Do your own installation
Self-installation isn’t possible with all devices. Some home security systems come professionally installed. But those systems tend to cost more anyway, so we don't recommend them for money-savers.
Instead, try buying an inexpensive DIY security system. Most are quick and easy to install and you won’t have to wall-fish or mess with electrical wiring.
6. Buy refurbished devices
Do you love new stuff? How about stuff that’s like new, but cheaper?
Buying refurbished devices is one of the best ways to save money. “Refurbished” usually means the item was sold, used, returned, repaired, and put back up for sale.
Because it’s no longer brand-spankin' new—and because it broke once—a refurbished item goes for less money. You’re still treating yourself but at a bargain.
We recommend looking for refurbished phones, TVs, cameras, Amazon Echo devices, Google Nest Hub devices, etc.
Retailers can refurbish almost anything, so use your imagination to save money on, well, everything.
7. Buy older or cheaper models
If you want a completely unused device, there are still ways you can save money. Just go for an older or cheaper model.
For instance, if you’re drooling over the iPhone 13? Wait until the next model comes out! The 13’s price will drop as everyone scrambles to get the latest and greatest.
If you can wait for another iteration or two, the 13 will get even cheaper. Just don’t wait too long—eventually, Apple will stop making new iPhone 13s, and you’ll miss your chance.
The same approach also works well with security cameras. However, camera brands tend to cycle through models faster than phone companies, so we recommend waiting only until the next version before buying.
Similarly, some products have cheaper models. The Samsung Galaxy S20 5G is a great phone, but if it’s too much $$$ for you, you can try the Galaxy S20 FE. It’s cheaper and has almost the same features.
Or, if you like the Ecobee SmartThermostat but can’t justify paying full price, you can try the Ecobee Lite. The Ecobee Lite doesn’t have as many cool smart sensor functions, but it’s more affordable than the flagship model.
8. Wait for discounts
Most things go on sale eventually. If you want a piece of tech that’s more of a nice-to-have than a need-this-now, we recommend waiting until it’s on sale to buy.
Most sales happen during holidays, like Black Friday, Christmas, Memorial Day, Fourth of July, and Labor Day. But we recommend checking on your favorite products periodically. Sometimes sales happen on obscure holidays or for no apparent reason.
You can also occasionally check the web for coupon codes. Social media influencers and other movers and shakers often share product and service discount codes.
Just to refresh your mind (or in case you skipped to the end), here’s how we recommend saving money on your tech:
- Downgrade your internet speed if you’re paying for more than you need.
- Choose an MVNO cell phone provider to save major bucks on your phone bill.
- Cut the cord on your cable service and switch to the flexibility of streaming.
- If you love cable, try switching providers for a discount.
- Install your own smart home and security devices so you don’t have to pay for professional installation.
- Buy refurbished devices for lower prices.
- Buy older or cheaper devices, also for lower prices.
- Wait for sales and discounts so you never have to pay the full amount.