Phone Carriers & Internet Providers Keep Raising the Rates
I remember one day, just shaking my head that somehow, I was paying nearly three hundred dollars per month between my cell phone, cable and internet. I hardly watch TV but I do need the internet for work. Luckily, I don’t need a high speed connection, just a reliable one, so I took a hard look at those monthly rates that sneak up on you like a predatory cat jumping a wildebeest on a Public Broadcasting show and decided to make some changes.
I’m laying out the steps I took to lower my phone and internet bill to under $50.00 per month so anyone else can do this, too.
Are You Paying for Streaming Services You don’t Use?
Maybe you’ve got some weird, basic plan where you run out of data after watching two grandkid videos that your friend uploaded to Facebook…and they upload those everyday.
Facebook takes up more space and bandwidth than anything else. Since the pandemic, my friends and I have done a Facetime meet up once a month. It can run two hours long! A limited data plan isn’t going to cut it with this posse, but the place I’m staying doesn’t have internet access. I had to work out some things so that I could use my phone and access the computer at the same time without sitting in parking lots, accessing public WiFi.
How I Pay Less Than $50 per Month for Internet Access
The process is pretty simple. I have two cellphones. One is my primary phone that I use for calls, texting, emails, and all sorts of social media interaction. The second phone is for private internet access. Both of these phones are paid for and the total amount I pay monthly for the two services is around $47.00.
I do watch YouTube (the free with ads version) and use my PC for work, so I’m online most of the day (and that extended monthly school reunion call). What I don’t do is try and hook up my TV to my PC to stream at 1080p. I also don’t play RAM hogging, CPU intensive games.
If you want to follow what I’m doing, just follow these steps.
- Sign up for an account at Visible.com Referral Code: LBR6P.
- Join their Party Plan.
- Sign up at H20 Wireless for the Basic 2GB plan.
- Turn on the Hotspot on your phone from Visible.
- Link Your Computer to the Visible Hotspot.
- Enable the Hotspot on your computer.
- Link your H20 Wireless phone and up to seven other devices to the computer.
I don’t have a modem or router set up right now. I’m just using the basic settings in Windows 10 to get this done without extra hardware, like having to buy a compatible SIM card router. I have trouble with coverage in this area and didn’t want to make a lengthy commitment. In fact, I really liked Mint.com’s plan, but I couldn’t get a signal in my home to save my life (and that would’ve been bad if I’d had to call 911).
I’ll break this down to iron out any wrinkles.
Signing Up for the Phone Plans: Coverage is Key
Phone compatibility is the first headache, but you’re covered here. These services run on the services of the big phone companies. Think of them as a generic line of food at the grocery store. You won’t get the fastest speeds on your calls, but you won’t be using carrier pigeons either. Visible uses the Verizon network while H20 Wireless uses AT&T so no matter what you’ve got, you can work it out to keep your old number.
My old phone is on the AT&T Network which doesn’t work with Visible’s plan. I had to get another phone. Fortunately, Visible often runs specials on their ZTE Blade phones. When they’re on sale, they can go for anywhere between $40.00 and $50.00. If you have an old phone, you may be able to swap it out for one of their phones at no charge. If not, check on ebay and search for Visible phones.
My situation was that I needed to keep my old number, too, so I just bought a $50 phone with a new line. Visible currently has one plan and that’s Unlimited Everything, Hotspot Included, at $40.00 per month.
As for my old phone, I found that H20 Wireless runs on the AT&T network. I signed up for the barebones plan which was just unlimited talk and text for $20.00 per month and was able to keep my phone number. They later upgraded me to the current Basic plan which still includes unlimited talk and text and now includes 2GB of data per month, but I rarely have a need for it.
Now, I hear the cogs on the wheels in your brain grinding off as you do the math… that’s sixty dollars per month!! You said you pay under fifty bucks a month. What the frak is up with that?
Reducing the Cost of Your Monthly Phone Bill
We’re not done. While on Visible’s line, you can join what they call their, “Party Plan.” Up to four people can join a party and for every member, the price of your monthly bill drops by $5.00, bringing your monthly bill down to $25.00. More than four people can join but the price won’t be reduced any lower. Hower, the chance of the bill going up because someone decides to leave the group diminishes. There are no extra contracts and no extra subscription fees. Just be in a block of four people of family and friends and you’ll lower your bill.
I can see you crossing your arms in a defensive posture and asking in a frustrated tone, “What if I don’t have any friends?” Well, with an attitude like that, you never will, but we can still easily lower your bill.
You’re going to go to the Visible Party Pay on Reddit and click on one of the links that says they’re looking for a member. A notification will come up to the party member that started the group. Once they approve you, you’ll receive an email saying that you’re in and your rate will drop, depending on how many people are already in the party. The link is usually updated or deleted once the party is full.
If you want to go with the automatic pay out on H2O Wireless, your bill there will drop to $18.00 per month. I don’t do that because I’ve had problems in the past with automatic payments. Call me gunshy.
Connecting Your Computer to Visible’s Hotspot
Visible only allows one device to link up to the hotspot on your phone. You can either hook up your second phone directly to Visible if that’s all you need, or you can hook it up to any PC.
First, you’ll need to turn on Visible’s Hotspot by clicking on this icon.
It will tell you to tap to set up. You’ll be taken to a screen that gives you the SSID and the password. Keep that password handy.
When hooking up your phone, turn on the WiFi and find Visible’s SSID in the list of available networks. Click on it and enter the password when prompted. Keep an eye on Visible’s settings, you may be asked if you want to give permission for your phones to connect. Of course, you’ll say yes.
If you need to hook up the PC, you can do so in Settings and handle it like hooking up to any other WiFi network through Network Status. Show Available Option
Click on Show Available Networks in the Network Settings. Windows will bring up the options in the tile menu interface.
Click on Visible’s SSID to connect. You will be prompted to give a password. Same as above, allow the networks to connect.
Change your settings in the Advanced settings to allow your PC to be discovered on the private network but not on the public networks. Allow other devices to connect.
Enable the Mobile Hotspot on your PC to connect and you can connect your phone.
Notice on the image below that one device is connected to the PC as one of eight. So, you can theoretically allow eight devices on the network. It does slow down if another laptop and phone are connected.
If your second phone’s WiFi is on, it may automatically connect to Visible. Your PC will then tell you that you can’t connect to the Visible Network. If that happens, turn off the WiFi on both, the PC and the phone, restart the WiFi on the PC by clicking on it to turn off and turn on again and try it once again. Once it’s connected, enable the Mobile Hotspot to reconnect your second phone.
Are You Waiting for an Invitation?
Really, that’s all there is to it. Believe me, I had the $85 per month cell phone bill and the $200 per month cable/internet package. I don’t miss cable and I’m saving a lot of beer money these days.
Sign up for Visible by clicking here. Using referral link LBR6P would be greatly appreciated!
Sign up for H20 Wireless by clicking here.
Wait, Visible Has a Referral Link?
Yeah, when you sign up, you can save even more money by referring up to twelve people to join. Visible will give you a code that you can use like the one you’ve seen in this post. You’ll get $5.00 for every referral as long as they’re new customers. They can either enter the code manually, or click on a link in an email, tweet or via Facebook. What are you waiting for?
Wait, Does H20 Wireless Have a Referral Program?
You betcha! When anyone new signs up through your referral link, both you and your friend get $30.00 worth of points that you can use towards your next bill or a new phone in their store (I know I’m saving my points for that!). Their deal is limited to 10 referrals per month over the course of 12 months, but that’s still a good chunk of talk time.