The bare necessities of life used to be food, water, and shelter. Now in our connected world, there’s not much you can do without access to a television or the internet. From looking up symptoms when you’re sick to catching up on your favorite show on a weekly basis, these services are a necessity for some. With how important these services are to our daily lives, the cost is something we have to deal with. But that doesn’t mean we can’t search online to find ways to save on these new necessities of life.

There are some easy ways to save money on internet and cable. All it takes is an online search to discover money-saving tactics you can benefit from in the short and long term.

For the thrifty among us, check out these tips to get the best bang for your buck on cable and internet packages.

Bundling Is a Huge Saver

One of your best bets for getting a good deal on your internet and cable is something called “bundling.” When you bundle a package with a cable company, you can save anywhere from $10 to $40 per month for the same product.

For example, buying internet and cable separately may cost $60 per month for each. By choosing a bundled package, you could get both services for a fraction of what you would pay for them separately.

Many companies even offer incentives with products like DVR, home phone, or movie channel packages to help sweeten the deal. Some of the cheapest packages you will find offer internet, cable, and a home line. Even if you weren’t looking for home phone services, it sometimes pays to add it to your bundle for the savings.

You Better Shop Around

“Shop Around” by The Miracles has a tried and true message. Just as you would comparison shop for airline tickets or a pair of shoes, checking out what several cable companies have available is a major money saver.

Comparison shopping is important if you are looking to find a great deal. That’s because major cable companies constantly compete for your business. However, this may prove difficult in some areas, especially in rural areas. If only one company holds a monopoly over your area, it will be very difficult to get another company to install underground cables, allowing the use of their services. Thankfully, though, the world is shrinking and black-out areas are becoming rarer.

Assess Your Needs

Another way to save money on your cable and internet bill is to assess your needs and the needs of your family. If your family doesn’t watch much TV, you probably would be better signing up for a bundle that includes just basic cable instead of one that comes with 200 plus channels. This can shave some dollars off of your total monthly costs. Assessing your internet needs can save even more than a few dollars.

Generally, cable companies have different tiers of speed for internet. The faster the internet speed, the more expensive the bill. If you or your family use the internet solely for schoolwork, social networking, and using a search engine, then you more than likely will not need blazing fast internet speeds. On the other hand, if you or your family do a large amount of movie streaming, online gaming, and sharing large quantities of media, you would be better off with a faster internet speed.

How to Know Which Speed Is Right for You

The measure of megabits per second (Mbps) tells you how fast your internet connection is. For use of your basic email, general web browsing, and music streaming, you would be safe to go with one to four Mbps. If you watching videos at this speed, however, expect a good bit of “buffering” and lagging.

For those who need a faster connection but don’t think they need blazing fast speeds, a good minimum internet connection speed is 25 Mbps. With this speed, you can expect smoother streaming of videos and music, basic online gaming, and less loading time between pages. It should be noted that at these speeds, you will not get top performance if you are running more than one device at a time.

If you love streaming movies on your TV, the thrill of high-quality graphics on your tablet, and enjoying complex online computer-gaming without lag, look for speeds that process 100 to 200s Mbps. This is especially necessary if you have at least three to five different family members wanting to be online with different devices, all at the same time.

If you need better processing speeds, then try and find a cable company that offers a bundle at a great price. It will be well worth your money to have enough processing speed for all of your needs. However, if you are a more casual internet user who spends the majority of your time online browsing websites, online shopping, and sending emails, then you would do well by saving your money and signing up for a lower internet speed.

Buy Your Own Modem

One way to drive up your monthly cable and internet bill is by renting your modem from the cable company. This can easily attach on at least $10 to $15 to your bill every single month! You can purchase a new modem for as little as $40. While you might be paying a decent cost upfront, experts say you could end up saving $90 over two years compared to renting.

However, be sure to check with your cable company to make sure the modem you are planning on buying is accepted by them. Some major cable companies can be very finicky about which modems they accept.

When All Else Fails

When all else fails, call several cable companies with their competitors’ prices in hand and ask if they will price match. If it secures you as a customer, some companies may be willing to match or even slightly beat their competitors’ prices. Know before you call the ideal internet speed and amount of channels you are wanting to avoid being tricked into something you will not use or can’t afford.

It Is All About You

In the end, it all comes down to you: the customer. What do YOU need? What are YOU willing to pay? What are YOUR priorities? Sure, the internet is a fairly crucial service in today’s modern world, but there are countless options available to get the best bang for your hard-earned buck. Know what you need, seek a super-saving bundle, compare all of the cable companies in your area, and avoid unnecessary monthly fees by buying your own modem.

Be the savvy boss of your own budget and the perfect internet and cable fit is out there, waiting for you.