By Kim Komando
Signal Contributing Writer
Your social media feeds are no doubt clogged with hoaxes and misinformation that spread all too easily.
Kim takes on a few popular myths at the following site: komando.com/security-privacy/dont-get-fooled-by-these-facebook-hoaxes/745093.
On the other hand, your bank account is feeling the strain from all those streaming services you’ve signed up for. For more information on Kim’s streaming tips, visit bit.ly/streamingTips.
It’s worth looking over your internet bills to see if you’re paying for more than you need.
Figure out how much internet you need
It’s tempting to sign up for the highest-priced internet plan, thinking it’ll cover everything you want to do online. You probably don’t need data caps and speeds that come with the highest tier.
How do you find out how much data you use? AT&T has usage information available here: att.com/
esupport/data-calculator/index.jsp. Make your best guess at how many hours you stream video, play games, browse the web and more.
Once you have an estimate of your monthly usage, call your internet service provider. You may be just fine dropping down a pricing tier.
But be careful: If you sign up for too small a plan, you may go over your cap and end up with speed throttling or surcharges.
Grab a bundle
Bundles are a great way to save money. Many ISPs offer a good discount by subscribing to a package that includes internet and cable TV service.
With so many people cutting the cord and moving to streaming, the deals are more competitive than ever.
Save $20 a month bundling AT&T DirecTV and U-verse internet. Cox subscribers can get as much as $40 off their monthly charges for creating a bundle. And Spectrum, one of the nation’s largest providers, offers a flat $15 off for anyone who combines services.
Know who to talk to
Long term, is it better to switch companies to get that great promo deal? Probably not — if you make sure your current ISP knows you can take your business elsewhere.
Before your promotional rate expires, call your ISP and say you’re considering moving to a cheaper provider. Tell the person that the promotional rate worked for your budget, but the regular rate does not.
At this point, ask to be transferred to your ISP’s “retention department.” This where the company’s representatives will try to prevent you from quitting by negotiating the terms of your plan.
Now it’s time to play hardball. Your ISP would much rather negotiate a cheaper rate with you than lose a customer, so make sure they know you’re serious and have the prices of competitor services at hand.
Don’t play ball until they offer to lower your bill without downgrading your service. Sometimes, the retention agent will give you what seems like a good deal, but the plan just reduces your speeds and data cap.
Let them know you’re satisfied with your service and that the issue is purely about money.
For information on Kim Komando on today’s digital lifestyle, from smartphones and tablets to online privacy and data hacks, visit her at Komando.com.