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Credit Cards With The Most Loyal Customers

MoneyTips

The credit card industry can be a cutthroat market. A constant barrage of offers entices consumers to leave their current card issuer for greater rewards, lower interest rates, or other targeted perks. Do these opportunities erode loyalty to individual credit card companies? While many consumers, especially younger ones, think nothing of frequently changing their credit cards, a CreditCards.com survey in 2016 found that 19% of survey respondents have had the same card for a minimum of 10 years. Another 15% of respondents had never changed their card at all. Which card companies benefit the most from card loyalty? According to the recently released annual Brand Keys Customer Loyalty Engagement Index, two credit card companies tied atop the list for customer loyalty: the American Express Company and Discover Financial Services. Brand Keys does not go into...

5 Ways to Catch Up on Retirement Savings

Worried about your retirement nest egg? It’s normal for someone nearing retirement to question how much they have saved — and wonder if their savings will last. Whether you haven’t started or life got in the way and you dipped into your nest egg, don’t stress, because it’s not too late to catch up. Here are a few tips for topping up your retirement fund.

1. Maximize Contributions

If you have access to a company retirement plan, such as a 401K, consider contributing enough to capitalize on a company match. Losing out on a company match can mean missing extra money over the span of one’s working career. On top of taking advantage of the company match, you may want to consider maximizing your contributions. Increasing your contributions may seem intimidating, but putting away a little more each year can boost your nest egg when you factor in the effects of compound interest.

2. Invest Found Money

Of course, not everyone can contribute more to their retirement funds on a regular basis, which makes investing found money a great opportunity. If you’re lucky enough to come into some money, whether from a tax refund, a bonus or money from your wedding, consider directly depositing this money into your retirement account. This way it will never touch your hands or be spent on personal items. For example, if you’re getting by comfortably on your income and receive a bonus, you may want to deposit the difference to help you catch up on saving for retirement.

3. Open an IRA

If you do not have an individual retirement account, opening one can be a great vehicle for stashing away money. Used along with a company plan, a traditional or Roth IRA can mean more income in retirement when the day to hang up your hat finally comes. With both accounts, an individual can contribute up to $5,500 annually, and an extra $1,000 for those over 50. (The extra allowance can help those who are a bit older catch up on saving.) While both savings accounts offer tax incentives at different times, it’s important to understand these tax breaks, along with their income limits, before you decide which account to open.

4. Work Longer

While delaying your retirement may not sound appealing, it can mean more time to build up your retirement funds — and a shorter retirement for which to save. It can also mean delaying Social Security and receiving a bigger monthly check in the future. If you wish to continue working but want to take on fewer hours, consider picking up a part-time job or starting a side hustle. While this may affect your Social Security, it can also mean extra money in your pocket during retirement, less stress and more time to do what you want. Keep in mind, unless otherwise specified, there may be a required minimum retirement distribution, which requires you to withdraw money at a certain age.

5. Pay off Debts

While saving and maxing out your retirement fund is ideal, it will do you no good if you have high-interest debt that continues to build. (See how debt is affecting your finances with a free credit report snapshot on Credit.com.) Your debts can feel like chains tied to your ankles if you don’t get rid of them before you retire. You may want to continue saving for retirement as well, but consider paying down high-interest debt first. Taking debt into retirement can mean less money for your golden years. So if you’re nearing retirement and worried about debt, consider speaking to a debt attorney to see how they can help.

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This article originally appeared on Credit.com.

7 Effective Ways to Lower Your Student Loan Payments

Nobody takes out student loans expecting to have trouble repaying them. But once the realities of post-college life set in, many borrowers do find that keeping up on payments is a struggle.

In fact, more Americans are burdened by student loan debt than ever, with a delinquency rate of 11.2%. And that doesn’t include many more who are barely keeping up.

Student loan payments can become unmanageable for a number of reasons: a job loss, pay cut, unexpected expense or simply too much student loan debt to begin with. If you’re struggling to make your payments, know that missing them can lead to disastrous consequences for your finances. (You can see how your student loans are affecting your credit by viewing two of your free credit scores on Credit.com.)

Fortunately, there are several ways to get your payments lowered to a more manageable amount. Here are seven ways you can pay less on your student loans each month.

1. Income-Driven Repayment Plans

For federal student loans, income-driven repayment (IDR) plans can be a smart way to manage student loans. There are currently four IDR plans available for federal student loans:

  • Income-Based Repayment (IBR)
  • Pay As You Earn (PAYE)
  • Revised Pay As You Earn (REPAYE)
  • Income-Contingent Repayment (ICR)

Borrowers who enroll in income-driven repayment have their student loan payments lowered to a percentage of their income — 10 to 20%, depending on the plan. Payments can even be as low as $0 under IDR.

Some income-driven repayment plans also take local living costs into consideration when calculating the lower payment. This gives extra relief to payers in pricey cities.

Income-driven plans also offer student loan forgiveness on any remaining balance after 20 to 25 years of loan payments.

To enroll in an income-driven repayment plan, contact your federal student loan servicer. They can discuss your options with you and give you the correct forms to apply for IDR.

2. Student Loan Refinancing

If you have private student loans, one of the only ways to lower payments is to refinance.

By refinancing, you replace your old student loan(s) with a new one through a private student loan refinancing lender. This allows you to lower your monthly payments by getting a lower interest rate, extending the repayment period, or both.

For borrowers who have older federal loans with high interest rates (such as Grad or Parent PLUS loans), it can be worth it to refinance to lower interest rates. Keep in mind you will lose federal benefits, like access to IDR, if you refinance with a private lender. Extending the repayment period can also result in lower monthly payments, but might end up costing more in interest over time.

If you’re not sure if student loan refinancing could benefit you, shop around and get some rate estimates from private student loan companies. Most will perform a soft credit check to pre-qualify you, which won’t affect your credit.

3. Student Loan Repayment Assistance Programs

Another option to manage student loan payments is to get help through a student loan repayment assistance program (LRAP). This is free help with your student loans. Many states, government agencies, nonprofits and other organizations offer student loan assistance, usually as a way to attract qualified employees.

This student loan repayment assistance tool can help you filter LRAPs by your occupation, state and type of assistance. It’s worth checking to see if you can get free help with your student loans.

4. Deferment or Forbearance

If you need a break from your student loan payments altogether, deferment and forbearance can help by pausing payments.

Deferment can be a good option for federal student loans. It can be granted for disability, unemployment, financial hardship, a return to college or military service. Subsidized student loans won’t accrue interest while in deferment.

Forbearance can also be granted to pause student loan payments. However, all student loans will continue to accrue interest while in forbearance.

With either option, make sure you understand how your loans will accrue interest. If necessary, consider making interest-only payments so your balance doesn’t grow to be bigger than when you started.

5. Graduated Repayment Plan

A graduated repayment plan can help set payments low to start with, then increase every two years (hopefully as your income also rises) over 10 years.

This can be a good fit if you can’t afford full student loan payments now — but you expect to be able to afford to pay more later. If you want to stick to paying student loans off in 10 years, a graduated repayment plan can help you do it.

6. Extended Repayment Plan

The standard student loan repayment schedule is 10 years. But if you stretch your student loan repayment out over more time, this will lower the amount you pay each month.

The extended repayment plan can help you do this by extending repayment to up to 25 years, with either fixed or graduated payments. You’ll need to have more than $30,000 in student loans to get on the extended repayment plan.

This can be a good option if you want to extend your repayment schedule to between 10 to 20 years. However, if you expect to be repaying student loans for 20 or more years, the forgiveness that comes with IDR plans could make those a better option. Again, extending the repayment period can also cost you more in interest over time, so consider this option carefully.

7. Consolidate Federal Student Loans

Federal student loan consolidation combines federal student loans into a single Direct Consolidation Loan. The new interest rate is a weighted average of the previous rates on your consolidated loans.

Consolidating also gives you the option to choose a repayment period of at least 10 years and up to 30 years, which can greatly lower your monthly payments. Some other repayment plans might also require you to consolidate federal student loans to make them eligible for participation.

Keep in mind that unlike refinancing, federal consolidation does not result in a lower interest rate or savings of any kind. It can, however, simplify the repayment process and help open up monthly cash flow with lower payments.

Getting Student Loans Under Control

There are several ways to manage both private and federal student loans. With these options to lower student loan payments, there’s no reason to keep struggling every month.

Remember, you owe it to yourself and your financial health to investigate your student debt repayment choices and move forward with the right one.

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This article originally appeared on Credit.com.

Outgrown a Student Credit Card? Here Are 5 Worthy Upgrades for New Grads

Thanks to student credit cards, secured credit cards and a little something called “the authorized user,” plenty of college seniors will be graduating with some credit. And, if you’re one of them (you can check via your free credit report summary on Credit.com) you might want to consider a plastic upgrade.

Starter credit cards are great for building credit, but they don’t usually tout the best terms and even if there’s a $0 annual fee or base rewards program, that plastic likely carries a low credit limit — which might not help in case of an emergency or if you want to further boost your credit. (Remember, a low limit makes it harder to maintain a solid credit utilization rate — how much debt you’re carrying versus how much credit is available to you. For best scoring results, you’ll want to keep your charges below at least 30% and ideally 10% of your total credit limit.)

If you’ve outgrown your starter credit card, or think you’re about to, here are five credit cards worthy of your consideration.

1. Discover it — 18-Month Balance Transfer

Purchase APR: Variable 11.74% to 23.74%, depending on your credit

Annual Fee:  $0

Why You’ll Want to Consider it: Because the Discover it is a solid rewards credit card with some built-in training wheels. Cardholders get 6-months of 0% financing on purchases and a full 18-months 0% financing on balance transfers (the annual percentage rate after that will be a variable 11.74% to 23.74%, depending on your credit). There’s also no late fee for a first missed payment (which you should still avoid at all costs) and no penalty APR.

Plus, if you use your card right, you’ll earn some serious rewards. The Discover it offers 5% cash back on up to $1,500 in purchases in revolving bonus categories each quarter and 1% cash back everywhere else — plus, Discover will match all the cash back you earn at the end of your first year. And there’s an added bonus for new grads getting ready to move out of their parents’ house: Now through June, you can get 5% cash back on up to $1,500 in purchases at home improvement stores.

2. The Citi Double Cash Card

Purchase APR: Variable 14.24% to 24.24%, depending on your credit

Annual Fee: $0

Why You’ll Want to Consider it: Rewards credit cards can be tricky. Points, miles and cash back are nice, but they can easily entice someone to overspend. Charge more than you can pay off each month and any interest you pay on the balance will wind up eating those rewards — and then some. But here’s the thing about the Citi Double Cash Card: It rewards you for paying the bills. Cardholders earn 1% cash back on purchases, then another 1% back when they pay that purchase off. That means you can earn a full 2% cash back on every dollar you spend, which is pretty tops for a cash back credit card, especially since there’s no annual fee. There’s also a 0% introductory APR for balance transfers for your first 18 months. (You’ll pay a variable 14.24% to 24.24% after that.)

3. Capital One QuicksilverOne Cash Rewards Credit Card

Purchase APR: Variable 24.99%

Annual Fee: $39

Why You’ll Want to Consider it: Available to people with average credit, the QuicksilverOne is a solid alternative for any new grad who had a credit misstep (or two) while they were in school. Yes, you’ll pay an annual fee ($39) and its 24.99% APR will sting if you wind up carrying a balance (expert intel: avoid carrying a balance), but you’ll earn an unlimited 1.5% cash back on all your purchases. You’ll also have access to a higher credit limit after making your first monthly payments on time and receive a few ancillary benefits that’ll come in handy if you need to purchase some stuff for your first apartment. Those bennies include an extended warranty that doubles the original manufacturer warranty up to a maximum of 12 months on most purchases and price protection that reimburses you the difference in price on eligible items charged to the card if you find a lower price for the same item within 60 days of purchase (see card agreement for full details.)

Plus, if you use the card responsibly, you may be able to upgrade to the QuicksilverOne’s no-annual-fee big brother: the Capital One Quicksilver Cash Rewards Credit Card — which we’ve got a full review of right here.

4. Barclaycard Ring Card

Purchase APR: Variable 13.74%

Annual Fee: $0

Why You’ll Want to Consider it: If you’re worried about overspending for rewards, are looking for an in-case-of-emergency card or you need to make a big purchase soon that you might not be able to pay off right away, the no-frills, low-cost Barclaycard Ring Card will probably fit right into your wallet. There’s no annual fee, no foreign transaction fees and no balance transfer fee. Plus, the card comes with a 15-month 0% introductory APR on purchases and balance transfers made within 45 days of account opening — after which, you’ll pay a reasonable variable 13.74%. So, if you need to pick up a few necessities for your first apartment, this is the kind of card you’ll want to put those on. Not to mention the Barclaycard Ring lets cardholders drive: You’ll be invited to share your opinions and vote on product changes in Barclaycard Ring’s online community.

5. Citi Costco Anywhere Visa

Purchase APR: Variable 15.99%

Annual Fee: Technically $0, but you’ll need a Costco membership to apply — and that’ll cost you at least $55

Why You’ll Want to Consider it: Because the card offers big-time rewards on all the stuff you’ll be purchasing once you leave the nest. That includes 4% cash back on eligible gas for the first $7,000 per year (then 1%); 3% cash back on restaurants and eligible travel purchases; 2% cash back on Costco and Costco.com purchases and 1% cash back everywhere else. Plus, there’s a 7-month 0% introductory purchase APR (after that, your APR will be a variable 15.99%). Of course, only Costco fans should apply: While the rewards are plentiful, they’re issued as an annual credit card reward certificate on February billing statements and are redeemable for cash or merchandise at U.S. Costco stores.

Remember, no matter what credit card you choose, smart spending habits should apply. Sign up for alerts or set your bill to auto-pay so you never miss a payment, keep your balances low (or, ideally, pay them off in full) and avoid signing up for every credit card on the market that catches your eye — too many inquiries can damage your credit standing.

In the meantime, if you’re also looking for some new digs, we’ve got a rundown on the 19 mistakes college grads tend to make when looking for their first apartment that you’ll want to read. 

Note: It’s important to remember that interest rates, fees and terms for credit cards, loans and other financial products frequently change. As a result, rates, fees and terms for credit cards, loans and other financial products cited in these articles may have changed since the date of publication. Please be sure to verify current rates, fees and terms with credit card issuers, banks or other financial institutions directly.

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This article originally appeared on Credit.com.

8 Money Moves to Make Before Baby Arrives

If you’re expecting a child, probably the last thing you need is another to-do list, but hear us out. Preparing yourself financially for a baby involves a slew of things. And, while we wouldn’t pretend to know what that means for each individual who is expecting, there definitely are a few major things that, if you can check them off your list before your baby comes, will make things a bit easier when the baby arrives.

Here are eight money moves an expectant parent should consider making.

1. Create the Perfect Registry

It might seem trivial to include this in a list of important financial things to do before your baby arrives, but trust me. Creating a registry full of items you’ll actually use and need, rather than items you just covet, will help in the long run. Don’t be afraid to put big-ticket items on there since many baby stores offer completion discounts on items that don’t get purchased.

2. Update Your Budget

This’ll probably elicit a big, fat “duh” from many would-be parents, but it’s worth a gentle reminder. Until you crunch some numbers, you have no idea how much baby might cost in those first few months, and that ominous “babies are so expensive!” catchphrase might play itself over and over in your mind. If you sit down and look at your budget, you could be pleasantly surprised.

In my case, looking at our preliminary budget for baby included making sure I had enough in savings (outside of our emergency fund) to cover maternity leave, since, as a freelancer, if I don’t work, I don’t make money. It also included researching what child care costs in our area and factoring that into our monthly fees after I went back to work. After that, we estimated some extra expenses for diapers and wipes. The surprising part came when we realized that, because of the generosity of others (see above regarding the perfect registry), we barely needed anything for the nursery or any clothes for our child’s first few months — and believe me when I say that was helpful.

3. Figure Out Your Kid’s Health Care

As much as this should be part of your regular budget, it deserves its own bullet point. If you haven’t already, you and your partner (if you have one) should figure out where health coverage for your child will come from. You’ll also need to consider how you’ll pay for immediate deductibles since you won’t be the only one to come out of your delivery with hospital bills. Your baby will have some, as well. Also, consider co-pays for the many doctor visitors your baby will make in the first few months. (Remember, unpaid medical bills can wind up hurting your credit. You can view two of your credit scores for free on Credit.com.)

4. Start Thinking About Work

If you’re certain you want to go back to work, skip ahead to No. 5. If you’re less sure, think about what life as a stay-at-home parent might look like — both financially and emotionally — before baby comes. Once you’ve put together a new estimated budget and thought about how to provide your kid with health care, you might have a better idea of whether staying home with your kid is feasible.

5. Create a Will & Name a Guardian (or Guardians)

As uncomfortable a thought as it might be, it’s smart to put together a will and name a guardian for your child as soon as possible. Remember, you can always name two separate types of guardians — one who will physically watch over your child and one who will be in charge of their finances — if that’s better for your particular situation. You can find a primer on estate planning here.

6. Apply for Life Insurance

Getting a life insurance policy is right up there with creating a will when it comes to unsavory topics, but again, it’s the responsible thing to do. A life insurance policy will ensure your child is taken care of financially should something happen to you, and the peace of mind that provides can be valuable.

7. Start Thinking About College

Even if you don’t set up a college savings account before your baby is born, it helps to start considering if, and how much, you’ll pay towards your child’s college education. Remember, saving for your kid for college should never detract from your own retirement savings — after all, loans are available for college, but not for retirement. If you’re not sure where to start when it comes to considering your kid’s college plans, check out this piece about whether or not a 529 might be right for you.

8. Make a List of Things You’ll Need to Do After Baby Is Born

There are a few important financial things you won’t be able to take care of until after your baby is born because you’ll need things like the birthdate and Social Security number. It’s a good idea to make that list prior to your baby’s arrival, though, since things afterwards can get hectic (and sleepy). Updating your beneficiaries, for example, is something you’ll likely want to include.

This story is an Op/Ed contribution to Credit.com and does not necessarily represent the views of the company or its partners.

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This article originally appeared on Credit.com.

10 Biggest Scams Of The Year

MoneyTips

It all looks so obvious in hindsight. Make a $500 deposit and your money will grow 18% in 10 days. You can receive a $1,500 loan by MoneyGram if you pay $170 for fees and insurance. A driveway sealer happens to be driving by and offers to coat your driveway for a low price. You deposit a check and are requested to send a portion of it back by wire transfer. Eventually, after you realize you've been had, you say to yourself, "What was I thinking?" It's easy to let your guard down and be caught by the above scams, all of which were reported by real victims in the Better Business Bureau (BBB) Scam Tracker Risk Report. BBB uses a "Scam Risk Index" to calculate the top ten most risky scams. The index combines the exposure to a scam, susceptibility to a scam, and the monetary risk involved. The top 5 2016 scams in order are: home improvement scams fake check/money orders fake employment online purchases fra...

State Of Credit 2016 (Infographic)

MoneyTips

How does your credit score measure up? According to Experian, the average credit score is 673, up 4 points from 2015 to last year. The infographic above shows the highlights of Experian’s latest report, including a comparison of the average credit profiles for each generation, and a list of the cities with the best and the worst credit scores in the nation. See where you rank; you can check your credit score and read your credit report for free within minutes using Credit Manager by MoneyTips. To learn more about credit, download our free eBook, Give yourself Credit.

Best Money-Saving Tips From Travel Agents

Follow these helpful tips from travel agents.

15 Ways to Save at PetSmart

Pet owners are sure to have their local PetSmart store in heavy rotation on their errands run. If you find yourself consistently walking out of the pet goods store having spent way more money than you expected to on Fido or Mr. Bigglesworth, you could probably stand to use some of these cost-cutting tricks before your next outing.

Here are 15 ways to save at PetSmart.

1. Sign Up for Auto Ship

Customers who sign up for PetSmart’s auto ship program can have products delivered to their home at the frequency of their choosing. Items in these orders ship for free, plus they save 20% on their initial order and 5% on all recurring orders.

2. Apply for the PetPerks Rewards Program

Sign up for PetSmart’s PetPerks Rewards program and you’ll receive discounts on your in-store purchases, as well as coupons sent to you in the mail.

3. Use a Rewards Credit Card

That way, you’ll at least earn rewards on the stuff you’re buying your furbaby.  PetSmart doesn’t offer a store-branded credit card, but there are plenty of solid cash back credit cards out there that’ll help maximize your spending.

Just be sure you pay your balances off in full. Otherwise, this strategy won’t work as planned — your rewards will just get lost to interest. (You can see how your credit card balances are affecting your credit by viewing your free credit report snapshot on Credit.com.)

4. Shop the Sales

Always check out the sales section of the site to see if your pet’s favorite items are being offered at a discount.

5. Check Out the Generic Pharmacy Options

PetSmart makes shopping for your pet’s medical needs easy through their pharmacy, but you’ll save even more by shopping the generic section of the site. (Be sure to consult with your vet before doing so.)

6. Cash In on Your Pet’s Birthday

As part of PetSmart’s PetPerks program, you’ll receive a coupon for a free treat on your pet’s birthday — be sure to use it before it expires!

7. Catch the Friends & Family Event

Check back every June for PetSmart’s big Friends & Family event to cash in on extra savings.

8. Find Promo Codes & Printable Coupons Available Online

Use sites like Groupon, Coupon Cabin, Retail Me Not and Coupon4all to score extra promo codes for online shopping or printable coupons to take into the store.

9. Try Booking Grooming Sessions During Off Hours 

PetSmart often runs specials on their grooming services when you book at off-peak times. Check their grooming section regularly for these offers or ask in the store.

10. Click Through to Their Local Ad

Occasionally PetSmart will offer special promotions through their local ad, which they also post online. Be sure to check the link frequently for posted deals.

11. Search for Manufacturer’s Coupons

PetSmart will accept these as well, so be sure to bring them with you when you shop.

12. Bring in a Competitor Coupon

PetSmart will accept competitor coupons on the same products, as long as they follow this criteria.

13. Use Social Media

PetSmart often posts its most recent deals on Facebook and Twitter, so be sure to follow them.

14. Buy Discounted Gift Cards 

Check out sites like Gift Card Granny to purchase PetSmart gift cards at discounted prices.

15. Read Your Receipt 

PetSmart will often print coupons at the bottom of your in-store receipts, so be sure to read them before you throw them out.

Love brand hacks? Well, we’ve got plenty more of them. You can find a full 19 ways to save at Target right here

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This article originally appeared on Credit.com.

Want More Memes for Less Money? Here's 9 Ways to Lower Your Internet Bill

The internet is a mainstay of modern life that has transformed the way we work, play and experience the world. But just like “traditional” media such as cable television, internet access can come at a high monthly cost. (You can’t get all the cat memes you want for nothing, you know.)

Still, you may be paying more than necessary for internet access and there are many ways to slash the cost. Here are nine ways to hack your way to a lower monthly internet bill.

1. Bundle Services

Many internet service providers (ISPs) will bundle services such as phone and TV, which can lower the cost of each individual service. Bundling services may not cut costs if you have no need for cable TV or a landline, but if you do, find out what bundles your ISP offers.

2. Apply for a Subsidy

There are several government and ISP subsidy programs that serve to close the “digital divide” — the disproportional burden placed on low-income families that need internet. You may qualify for many subsidized internet programs if you meet certain eligibility requirements, which may include your state of residence and income.

For example, the federal Lifeline program (which is still in effect despite recent rollbacks) provides qualifying households a $9.25 monthly credit for internet. There are other programs available as well, and a site like non-profit EveryoneOn can help connect you with low-cost internet offers.

3. Negotiate Your Plan

In many regions, ISPs have stiff competition. They may be willing to negotiate to keep you as a customer. You can call your ISP to tell them your bill is too high and you’re considering switching. It may help to have competing offers available for extra leverage, and a long history of timely payments can also bolster your bargaining power.

4. Improve Your Credit 

One way to get better offers — boost your credit score. ISPs are known to pull credit and to offer less favorable terms to prospective customers with poor scores. You can see where your credit stands by viewing your free credit report summary on Credit.com and you can go here to learn what you can do generally to improve your standing. (You can get started by paying down high credit card balances, disputing errors on your credit report and limiting new credit inquires.)

5. Purchase Your Own Router

Many ISPs will install their routers in your home and charge you a monthly rental fee for the length of your contract. But router rental fees can quickly eclipse the cost of buying your own router, which you can then use for years.

Note: You may have to install your router yourself and you’ll want to make sure you get one that works with your ISP.

6. Downgrade Your Internet Speed

The faster your internet, the more you’ll pay. But you may be paying for internet speeds that exceed your requirements. If you only use the internet to check email and pay bills, you won’t need the same speed as someone who’s constantly streaming videos or uploading content. You can call your ISP and ask for the budget plan or describe your normal internet usage and see if they can recommend a downgrade.

7. Check Competing Offers

Pay close attention to any competing offers from other ISPs. Unless you’re unusually loyal to your companies, you should feel no obligation to stay with a more expensive provider. Feel free to switch to a competitor if the price is right.

8. Take Advantage of New Customer Promotions

ISPs often save their best promotions and deals for new customers — which, again, is why it can pay to shop around.

9. Use a Mobile Hotspot

If you’re desperate to save and don’t have excessive internet requirements at home, a mobile hotspot could do the trick. A mobile hotspot is a physical device (such as a smartphone or USB stick) that shares Wi-Fi with other devices, including computers, tablets and other phones. These devices usually come with low monthly data caps, so if you’re constantly downloading or streaming content, a hotspot probably isn’t the best option.

But if you have don’t have heavy online requirements, a hotspot could do the trick. You’ll have to buy the device, but monthly costs are comparatively cheap and can save you big money in the long run.

Looking to save on other monthly payments? We’ve got 11 ways to lower your water bill right here

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This article originally appeared on Credit.com.

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