Are you interested in cutting costs on everyday items so that you can use your extra money to pay off debt or reach other financial goals? One cost that nearly everyone has become accustomed to paying each month is the cost to cover Internet access. But you might not know that there are ways to get Internet access absolutely free.
If you’re unhappy with the cost of your monthly Internet access bill, you may want to try some of these options for free Internet access. By taking advantage of companies that offer free access to the Net, you might be able to save hundreds of dollars each year.
For example, if your current Internet bill costs $40 a month, switching to using only free Internet access options can save you $480 a year.
Check out these options for free Internet access and see if one or more of them might help you save money on Internet costs.
FreedomPop carries one of the most generous plans for free Internet access. Here’s how it works. They send you a small wireless router access point. You carry the device with you and turn on the device when you need Internet access wherever you are, browsing as long as you need to.
They ask for a deposit on the device, but as long as you return the device within a year you get a full refund. If you decide to keep using FreedomPop you keep the device and they keep the deposit as payment for the device.
FreedomPop allows you 500MB of free data each month with their free plan. This should cover the needs of most light users, however, if you need more data you may want to switch to one of their other plans, such as the 2GB plan which costs just $20 a month. Even though the other options at FreedomPop aren’t free, they may cost you less money than your current Internet service plan does.
NetZero is one of the oldest free Internet access providers available, having been around since 1998. It works differently than FreedomPop in that you access the Internet via CD installation or downloaded software instead of using a mobile router.
NetZero limits its free Internet access to 10 hours a month, so this option will work best for light users as well. NetZero has a “no obligation” policy, which means you don’t have to sign a contract to use their services. They do feature other monthly plans that carry a monthly fee if you’re interested in more available Internet access.
Juno is another carrier that offers free Internet access as well as a variety of paid Internet access plans. Their free plan is limited to ten hours per month like it is with Netzero but would be good for light users. Juno also offers the no obligation, no contract policy.
4. National Chain Stores and Businesses
Another way to get free Internet access is to take advantage of nearby national chain stores and businesses that offer free Wifi. Some of the most popular nationwide chains that offer free Wifi are:
- Panera Bread
- Whole Foods
- Marriot Hotels
- Dunkin’ Donuts
- Buffalo Wild Wings
- Office Depot
- Barnes and Noble
- Best Buy
- Apple Stores
You might be tempted to spend money if you’re using free Internet access at stores and businesses though, so be careful not to do any unplanned shopping while you’re taking advantage of the free Wifi available at national chains or other stores and locations.
Other places you might find free Internet access in your area might include your local public library, airports and other local non-chain businesses. Most non-national businesses have a sign posted if they offer free Internet access via Wifi.
5. Wifi Free Spot
To help you track down local and national businesses in your area that offer free Wifi Internet access, you can check out a website called Wifi Free Spot. This site has a directory that can be accessed by clicking on the state or country you’re in and will show you all of the free Wifi places in that state or country. The great thing about the Wifi Free Spot website is that it can be really useful if you’re traveling and want to find free Internet access in the area you’re traveling in.
Accessing Free Internet Safely
Using free public Internet providers can come with some security risks. Since you’re sharing your network with other people when you use a public Internet access venue, you could be putting yourself at risk for others to be able to see or access your personal information. Here are some ways you can minimize security risks as you take advantage of free Internet access.
Use Secure Websites as Much as Possible
When browsing the Net using free public access sites, try to limit your browsing to secure websites as much as possible. Secure websites begin with “https” instead of just “http”. By staying within websites you know are using secure connections you can help minimize your security risk.
Be Careful About Entering Sensitive Information
Free public Internet access sites might not be the safest place to enter sensitive personal information such as your birthdate, social security number, bank account information or credit card numbers. If you have work to do that requires using sensitive information such as shopping or bank account reconciliation, you may want to save those online tasks for when you’re at home in a more secure browsing situation.
Forget the Network
Most computers and devices remember free and other Wifi codes and automatically connect to them whenever your device is in range, which can leave your information exposed even when you’re not intentionally using a free Internet service. Un-checking the “connect automatically” box in your network settings will help you avoid this type of a security risk.
If you are interested in saving money on your Internet bill, one of the ways mentioned above might be right for you. Every dollar saved means more money toward your financial goals.
Which of these free Internet access options have you tried?
Personal Capital will allow you to connect to all of your accounts like your bank, investment accounts, etc. This will not only help you see all of your accounts in one place, but it also has a budgeting component where it automatically categorizes your transactions. This is great because you see exactly where all of your money is going each month!