Paying for Internet access may be one of the first things you want to cut when trimming your budget. However, having Internet access can actually save you money over time. Consider the many reasons to make Internet access an important part of your household budget before you disconnect your service.
Ways Internet Access Saves Money
While computers were once considered a luxury, Internet access is now a virtual necessity. Whether you're interested in bargain shopping or finding an affordable way to stay in touch with friends and family, Internet access is a small investment with big returns.
Entertainment is one of the first items to be cut when you are trying to budget and save money. With Internet access, you can still enjoy some of your favorite leisure hobbies for a small monthly price.
- Reading: If you love to read, the Internet can be an excellent resource. Instead of subscribing to your favorite newspapers and magazines, check out the publication websites for free articles. You can also download a variety of free e-books to read at your convenience.
- Television: When you miss an episode of your favorite TV show, you may be able to catch it online. Most major networks that now post episodes of their most popular shows online. Find a variety of programming from various stations on Hulu, including movies and older television programs that are in syndication.
- Games: Whether you enjoy puzzles, strategy games, or trivia, there are a number of websites offering free entertainment for frugal web surfers. Many sites even provide an option that allows you to compete with other players from across the globe.
Whether you're interested in buying a discounted toy for your son's birthday or you have to replace a part on your washing machine, the web makes it easier than ever to research your purchases. When you have Internet access, you can:
- Search for coupons, sales, and other money-saving discounts
- Look for the lowest price on a specific item
- Compare the features of two similar items
- Read customer reviews to see if there are any known problems with the item or service you're considering
- Fill out rebate forms and submit them
Even if you enjoy shopping for secondhand items, the Internet is a big help. Don't waste gas driving around looking for yard sale signs or waste money paying for a weekly paper. Instead, jump online and check out the sales listed on your local newspaper's classified section.
If you have friends and family who are scattered all over the world, Internet access offers an easy and convenient way to stay in touch. E-mail, instant messaging, blogging and social networking sites like Facebook and Twitter allow you to communicate with loved ones without any additional expense. You can even send out free online invitations and birthday cards. If you're looking to expand your social circle, you can use Internet forums and chat rooms to meet others who share similar interests.
Save money on long distance by utilizing Internet video and voice communications. Sites like Skype allow you to call others who also have Skype for free using the Internet. If you both have webcams, you can even see each other as you speak. There are also affordable upgraded plans that allow you to do more with Skype. MagicJack is an alternative to Skype that allows you to plug your home phone into the computer and make phone calls using a traditional telephone for a small fee compared to other phone services' prices.
Internet Access Helps Make You Money
The Internet can also help you make and save money at the same time. Not only can you find a job using online resources, but you can even work from home using your computer and Internet connection.
Finding a Job
Pounding the pavement is a good way to find a job and shows you're ambitious. However, you don't want to waste precious time or gas money going door-to-door. Instead, find job listings online and tailor your resume to fit each company's needs before you drop it off in person. You can also post your resume and experience on job search websites, as well as apply to specific companies online.
Working from Home
As technology continues to evolve, more people are discovering that it's possible to earn money by working at home. Some of the possible way to make money online include:
- Selling items on eBay
- Taking surveys and reading e-mails
- Adding advertising to your blog or website
- Offering freelance writing, editing, word processing, or web design services
- Becoming an online tutor
- Working as a virtual assistant
When you make money by working at home, you'll save a bundle on commuting costs. You'll also be able to claim a portion of your Internet access fees as a tax-deductible business expense. Speak with a tax professional to find out more.
Finding Cheap Internet Access
While Internet access can save you money over time, it can be hard to justify spending all that money on your service. In many areas there are service providers outside of the cable and local telephone companies. Companies that routinely offer service deals for less than $20 a month include:
Not all services are available in all areas, so use the company's location tool to find out if your area qualifies. Whenever you sign up for a discounted service deal, be sure to read the fine print. Often, the low price expires after three, six or 12 months, and you will be paying more.
Save Money Online
Saving money using your Internet access is a great way to justify your connection expense. Skip the movie theater and watch old television episodes online or even find a job to do from home in your spare time. After a while, this service will practically pay for itself in savings.