The Cost of Internet Usage: Surfing or Drowning?

Are You Surfing?

Over the past couple of weeks, I have heard a few people talk about their dial-up internet plans that cost what I pay in sales tax for my plan!  My first reaction was: No way could I ever go back to dial-up.

Since I love to challenge my own ideas, I asked myself why I couldn’t.  I thought about the different ways the family uses the Net and then how much time it takes up in the day and takes away from us.

Are you Drowning?

The Internet has become an important part of how society communicates.  It also has a powerful undertow that can drain the wallets, personal relationships and health of many users… including my own family.

 The Financial Factor

The longer we spend online, the more we pay.  Period.

Streaming videos and movies runs up the data costs.  Although we pay Netfliks $9 a month, we end up paying an extra $10 a month for data!  For the same cost, we could walk over to the video store or the library and get one movie a week.  Or, we could learn to control how much we watch on Netfliks. LOL

Also, WIFI isn’t free and usually isn’t unlimited.  If you put all your devices (phones) on WIFI at home and then you run over the allotted monthly usage in your plan, you will have a whopper of a bill (she says from experience)!

The following chart is based on my own reflection and Bell’s Inernet Usage Calculator

Costly Data Activity Estimated Time & Data Alternatives
Streaming Movies/Youtube/Cute videos on FacebookThis eats up a lot of data!  In fact, most people who end up paying for extra usage do so because of streaming movies. Standard Definition:2 hours = 15 GBHigh definition:2 hours = 34 GB

How many movies per week do you really need?  We used to watch one per week until we got Netfliks.  Now we can eat up 10 or 20 hours.

How many cute cat videos do you want to pay for to watch on Facebook?

Go rent a film from your local video store or from the library once a week.  It will cost less in money and time!Only watch films when you can share the experience with someone.
Streaming radioaudio/podcasts/webinars 5 hours (radio) = 36 GBDepending on your interests, this can take a lot of time, too.  It didn’t occur to me until right now, but Peter streams CBC radio from his phone quite a lot even though we have radios in every room in the house.  He is using the wifi, so the logic is that it is free… but it isn’t! Listen to the radio on a radio!  It is free!
Gaming online 10 hours = 37GBHow many hours a week do you game online?  Can you set a time budget and stick to it?online game Board games are making a comeback and are free (or cheap)!  They can be borrowed from the library or friends, bought in second hand shops or even new.  Once you buy it, you can play it for no extra cost, unlike online gaming.  There is no charge to sit down at the kitchen table.catan
Software Updates This can be a necessary evil but there might be software you never use on your computer.  Spend your data usage on your needs, not your clutter.
Facebook, email, searching for articles, downloading pictures. 10 hours = .21 GBEvery time you open a different webpage, you are using data.  How many times in a day do you really need to check Facebook or your email?With dial-up,users have to be choosy with what they look at on the Internet because of the slow connection. Limit the number of times a day that you “check your messages”.If you really want to communicate with people, make a date!Reading:  read offline or with a paper version.

Basically, deciding how much time and how many activities you want to dedicate to online time might just help control the amount of data you really need.  At this point, you can determine which Internet plan will help you move towards financial security by fitting the cost to your needs, not simply financing the habit.

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