Are you interested in cutting costs on everyday items so that you can find extra money? Finding extra money can be a great way 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 options can save you $480 a year. That $480 a year could pay for a weekend vacation to a bed and breakfast or make for a nice additional deposit to your 401k.

Check out these options to get free or cheap Internet access. You might be surprised to find one or more of them that might help you save money on Internet costs.

1. FreedomPop

FreedomPop carries one of the most generous plans to access the Internet for free. 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. It works wherever you are, letting you browse 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.

For example, they have a 2GB plan which costs just $19.99 per month. Even though the other options at FreedomPop aren’t free, they may cost you less money than your current Internet service plan does.

2. NetZero

NetZero is one of the oldest Internet providers available, having been around since 1998. It works differently than FreedomPop. With NetZero 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.

Here are some of their low-cost plan options for users who want more Internet access.

NetZero DSL Broadband

This package allows you much faster connection speeds without tying up your land line. You can get it for as low as $26.95 per month.

Mobile Data Plans

NetZero also has mobile data plans that are super affordable. If you want to have Internet access on your phone but don’t want to pay a lot, here are some of their options.

  • 200 MB of data per month: totally free
  • 500 MB of data per month: $17.95 per month
  • 1 GB of data per month: $27.45 per month
  • 2 GB of data per month: $42.95

The free option could be great if you use little to no data on your phone. You’d have data for emergencies or rare access need, and get it for free.

3. Juno

Juno is another carrier that offers free Internet 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. Many national chain stores and restaurants offer free Internet access for customers. Some of the most popular nationwide chains that offer free Wifi are:

  • McDonald’s
  • Panera Bread
  • Starbucks
  • Whole Foods
  • Marriot Hotels
  • Dunkin’ Donuts
  • Buffalo Wild Wings
  • Office Depot
  • Target
  • Barnes and Noble
  • Best Buy
  • Apple Stores

Note that you might be tempted to spend money if you’re using free Internet provided by stores and businesses. For that reason, you may want to be careful to plan ahead regarding your shopping.

Commit to not doing any unplanned shopping while you’re taking advantage of the free Wifi available at stores and other locations.

Other places where you might find free Internet access in your area might include airports and other local non-chain businesses. Most non-national businesses have a sign posted if they offer free Wifi.

Since you’re likely visiting at least one of these national storefs or businesses on a semi-regular basis, it might be helpful to take advantage of their free Internet access.

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.

6. Your Local Library

Most local libraries have computers that allow you to access the Internet for free. All you have to do is become a library member, and for public libraries that’s free as well.

Granted, you will have to be at the library to get Internet access, bu there are a lot of nice things about using the Internet at the library. It’s super quiet and you’ll have very few interruptions, for instance. You may not always have that quiet of an environment at home.

As a bonus, you can borrow free books, magazines and DVDs to bring home while you’re there.

7. Everyone On (Connect2Compete)

Everyone On is a non-profit organization that is dedicated to helping low-income families get Internet access for free or cheap. When you go onto the site you can hit the red “find offers” button at the top of the site.

Bonus: If you qualify for this program you may be able to get super cheap devices as well. Qualifying individuals and families can often get cheap laptops or other devices.

Note: You do have to qualify with certain low-income standards or be eligible for certain public assistance programs to qualify for this deal.

8. Check With Local Internet Service Providers

Although they don’t like to advertise this fact, many local ISPs do provide ways to get free Internet service. They may have offers for free Internet service for a certain time period with bundle packages.

Or, they might offer free Internet service if you bundle and use dial-up instead of faster ways to connect. Check with your current ISP for deals. Then, check with competing Internet Service Providers.

You never know what kind of offers they might throw your way to get you to switch over from a competing company.

9. Check Out All Free ISP

If you’re looking for other options to get free Internet access, check out the All Free ISP website. This is a search engine site that will help you search by state or zip code to find free Internet in your specific area.

It’s totally free to use and can be a great catch-all site for finding free Internet whether you’re at home or on the road.

Square-version-of-free-internet-access-info-graphic

Accessing Free Internet Safely

It’s important to note that 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.

Not all public Internet venues are as safe as what you may be using at home. Here are some ways you can minimize security risks as you take advantage of free Internet.

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. Information such as your birth date, social security number, bank account information or credit card numbers could be at risk.

Sometimes 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.

The less personal and valuable information you can share on a public Internet access site or wi-fi hotspot site, the better.

Forget the Network

Most computers and devices remember free and other Wifi codes and automatically connect to them whenever your device is in range. This practice 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. Doing so will help ensure you aren’t inadvertently exposing your personal information through public Internet sites or hotspots.

Use a Combination of These Options

Another plan might be to use a combination of these options to be sure you always have free Internet access. For instance, you could get the FreedomPop plan and get your free 500MB of data at home each month.

When you’re out at a chain store or business that offers free Internet access, use it. Or, make a plan to hit the local library on certain days to use their free Internet.

By combining a number of the plans and places that give you free Internet access, you can get access on a regular basis without having to pay for it. Obviously, these solutions might not work for everyone.

For various reasons, some people might need Internet access at home all of the time. If that’s the case, find an Internet service plan that fits your needs and your budget. There are enough Internet Service Providers out there that will offer you affordable Internet plans, even if they’re not free.

Summary

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.

And if these free Internet options don’t work for you, at least try and find a more affordable plan. One of the best ways you can find more money in your budget is to do a Challenge Everything budget.

This is where you go through each line item on your budget and try to reduce or eliminate it. For instance, you shop around to find lower rates on Internet service and car insurance. Or, you drop your monthly gym membership and commit to working out at home or in the outdoors.

Similarly, you choose to eat at home instead of at restaurants. Or, you forego expensive salon trips for DIY hair and nails. Making these spending adjustments might be challenging at first.

However, you just might find you like not spending money better than giving it away for things you can do cheaper. Try it for a few months and see.

By minimizing your Internet costs and other expenses, you free up more money for important financial goals. After all, wouldn’t you rather pay less for Internet and have your mortgage paid off early? Or pay less for car insurance and put that money toward early retirement?

If you can swing it, cheap or free Internet access may work just find for your needs. Combined with other lowered expenses, cheaper (or free) Internet access just might help you achieve your financial goals faster than you think.

Which of these free Internet options have you tried? And how did you like the company you tried? Share in the comments section below. 

Who knew you can actually get the internet for FREE?!

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