$90 - $200+/year on home Internet service
Sharing the wireless Internet connection on your smart phone with a laptop or desktop computer, known as tethering, can save you money, but only if don’t go online at home very often, or only do so for basic activities such as sending e-mail and surfing the Web.
For example, on AT&T’s 5GB and Mobile Hotspot plan, you could send and receive more than 400 e-mails and view 100 web pages every day, and still stay under your monthly data limit. At $600 per year ($50/month), that plan may seem expensive compared to the $480/year you would pay for Comcast’s cheapest home Internet service in Washington, D.C ($29.99 for the first six months, $44.99 for months 7-12), but it’s still almost $100 cheaper than paying for AT&T’s cheapest data plan ($240/year for a limited 300MB/month) AND home Internet (about $450/year). Bump that up to $30 for 3GB/month, and you would save more than $200/year by ditching your home Internet.
While some online activities, such as surfing the Web or checking e-mail, won’t eat up too much data, it would be nearly impossible to regularly stream video via your phone without paying an arm and a leg. And unless you have a 4G connection, you’ll likely have to wait a long time for the video to fully load. So if you regularly stream more than 30 minutes or so of low-quality video each day, you’ll probably want to stick with your home Internet provider.
If you’re tethering, be sure to set up alerts on your phone to let you know if you’re approaching your data limit.
9. As a Modem