Sometimes you get free service for a month or two, but paying for internet racks up a lot after your freebie trial.
Then your bill increases to $60 per month when your promo is up. That’s over $700 a year, and many low-income families can’t afford that.
BUT you don’t have to pay for internet or other budget-breakers under our watch! We’re frugal and can help you save rather than spend more money.
That definitely involves reducing your expenses to as low as possible (as well as increasing your earning potential, of course).
There are a lot of great tools out there for helping lower your bills and increasing the money that stays in your pocket.
Let’s check out our top picks for free internet access that will help reduce your monthly bills.
9 Legitimate Ways to Get Free Internet & Wifi Near You
Who wouldn’t be happy finding some low-cost internet alternatives to reduce their bills?
We’ve got a few internet service providers and some other options for free service, so let’s get into it!
If you haven’t heard of FreedomPop before, you are definitely missing out!
FreedomPop is a wireless internet service provider based in Los Angeles, California. They believe that everyone should have access to the internet in this modern age, and do their best to provide it.
They offer talk, text, and data plans, which start at $0.00 per month- even for your mobile device. Yes, you read that right!
There are different options available, based on which kind of service you require, and what you are after exactly.
You can purchase a phone, where you will sign up for a device and plan when you checkout. You will be mailed a phone, then you will have to download their Messaging application to begin the service.
They use a cellular service called VoIP, which is where you use a data connection to power the calls and texts that you use.
The devices receive their signals from network towers that are close to them, which are powered by other, larger networks.
For example, they piggyback off the Sprint network in the US for the data connection. All of this technology is why they are able to provide their services.
They also provide SIM cards for GSM customers, so long as you are using an unlocked GSM iOS or Android device.
With the CDMA device (bought directly from FreedomPop or activated as a BYOD), 500MB is offered a month.
With the GSM SIM card, you can get 200MB for free per month in internet access.
NetZero started up in 1998, and you can kind of tell that, from the fact that they use dial-up connections.
You may not think of high-speed internet when you think of dial-up, but hey, just keep an open mind.
Am I showing my age here, remembering how you had to sit there waiting for the internet to connect for what seemed like forever, with it making some awful noises?! You couldn’t connect if someone was on a phone call, and you’d get kicked off when the phone rang!
What this means for internet service, though, is that you will need to have a phone line in your home. If you have one, you’re good to go.
NetZero isn’t as generous as FreedomPop with their internet access, sadly. You will only get 10 hours per month for free – with paid plans available if you wish to increase your usage.
Not a heavy user of the internet? This could be the perfect choice for you! Who wants to be spending loads of money on something that they barely use?
This tool is exactly what it sounds like – a map of wifi spots!
WifiMap is an app that you can download, which will give you access to millions of wifi spots.
Users upload the wifi spots so that other people can use them when they are in the area. It’s a crowdsourcing economy that will only grow as more people use it and share with their friends.
There are over 100 million free wifi locations available. It provides both map and list views with passwords that you will need to connect to it.
All you need to do is download the app, and search in the area that you want to have access to the internet. It will bring up the ones that are closest to you, and you can choose which one to use.
The beauty of it is if the Wifi you’re connected to isn’t that great, you can just disconnect and try another one!
If you are wondering if this is legit, they have been featured on Forbes, Lifehacker, CNN, The Wall Street Journal – just to name a few.
Just make sure you are using a secure network or a VPN to protect your data on public networks. We highly recommend using NordVPN.
4. Wifi Free Spot
Similar to WifiMap, Wifi Free Spot is another directory that will list all of the local free internet hotspots near you.
On this site, they list the hotspots on a state-by-state basis, but in addition to that, they have specialized listings:
- Large companies (e.g. Barnes & Noble, Starbucks, McDonald’s)
- Hotels, motels, inns, resorts
- RV parks and campgrounds
- Vacation rental properties
InstaBridge is an internet service app for your smartphone to conveniently provide you with Wifi passwords and spots on the go.
It was originally founded as a way to share your home Wifi with your friends on Facebook. But it quickly changed to become a larger Wifi sharing company.
It will show you the nearest places with free Wifi, as well as walking distance and performance.
The app knows which ones work, and will automatically connect you to the ones that work, and keep you off the ones that don’t.
A cool feature that they’ve kept from its earliest stages is that you can list your own home Wifi to share with family and friends.
This saves you the trouble of having to dig out the Wifi password each time company asks!
6. Use Wifi at Coffee Shops
I’ve seen people panicking because their internet has gone down, thinking that their productivity is dead in the water.
Really though, there’s a quick, easy, and pretty painless solution.
Most coffee shops are known for providing free internet access. It’s sometimes high-speed internet access and just as helpful as the stuff you’d pay for at home!
This is something that I’ve done when working from home but wanting to get out of the house to work.
There are other places that you can go to as well, such as your local library or an internet cafe.
7. Affordable Connectivity Program (ACP)
Some options aren’t necessarily just internet service providers. You can also get government assistance for cheaper or free internet.
If you live in the states, the government also has the Affordable Connectivity Program (ACP) for eligible households.
With this program, you get $30 per month towards your internet bill- and if you live in some high-cost areas, you could get up to $75 per month.
That means you could get internet for $0 – $20- huge savings!
To qualify for the Affordable Connectivity Program, you need to have at least 1 person in your home that meets these criteria:
- Qualifies for the Lifeline Program
- Received a Pell Grant the current academic year
- Qualifies for Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) or WIC assistance
- Qualifies for National School Lunch Program (NSLP) or School Breakfast Program (SBP)
It only counts for one monthly service discount, however, so even if more than one person qualifies for the programs above, it’s only one discount per home.
However, if you or someone qualifies in your household, some internet providers also offer other savings on top of the government aid.
For example, if you’re on SNAP or Supplemental Security Income (SSI) already, you may qualify for the AT&T Access Program. AT&T is a participating provider where you can get another $5 – $10 off your bill.
8. Ask Your Neighbours
This is one depends on the relationship you have with your neighbors, but it doesn’t have to be an awkward exchange!
Many low-income families will split costs or exchange services to snag things for the house- why not try to bargain for some free internet access?
You could ask if you can have a neighbor’s Wifi password in exchange for something else that you could offer them.
Never forget simple things, like helping run errands, helping with the kids, or even doing some lawn care.
Could you do something that they don’t want to do, or perhaps pay money for (saving them money too)?
I saw an episode of Extreme Cheapskates recently where the guy asked his neighbor this, but unfortunately, they said no! I think they were a bit shocked by it, so it’s worth thinking about how you’d ask the question.
Offering cost-sharing instead of just point-blank asking for free internet use would probably go over much better!
9. Using Your Phone As a Hotspot
So many people have phones, and pay plenty for them anyway, so why not put that phone plan to use?
I saw someone using this the other day because their home internet wasn’t working, but they needed to get online for work.
Using your phone as a hotspot is essentially using it as a mobile router. You can turn on the hotspot feature, and use it to connect to other devices nearby.
If you use this, you will be using the data that is available on your phone.
But low-income families need to be careful about using data if you all want to stay within budget! Don’t go over your data allowance, or it won’t be free!
Bonus – Create your own free internet device
Ever wonder if it’s possible to pick up some free wifi signals with your very own DIY free internet device?
It absolutely is! Just check out the video below to teach you how to get free internet.
Is free internet access worth it?
Short answer? Yes!
For many low-income families, every bit of free money makes a difference, so free internet access and one less bill can create so much leeway on their things.
When you create a budget, the goal is to have as much money left after paying bills as possible, as this money will go towards things that you really want or into savings.
If you are spending $60 or more a month on your internet, this adds up to $720 per year.
For some low-income folks, that’s a huge difference in their spending!
Can you imagine what you could do with that $720 instead of spending it on your internet?
Our mission here at The Savvy Couple is to help you manage your money as best you can, and use your money to create the life that you dream of.
If you’re wondering how to get free high-speed internet illegally, we won’t be sharing any of those ways, unfortunately. But you really can get some free internet service at home without paying, legally.
(And as you probably already guessed, yes — if it’s free, it’s worth it!)
Can you legally get internet for free?
Yes, finding free internet is totally legal!
These are all legit ways to get your Wifi fix without doing sketchy stuff.
We wouldn’t share anything on this site that could get you in any trouble or we wouldn’t be happy to use ourselves.
How can free internet improve your life?
There are lots of programs available that can get you free internet service, and hopefully, this article will have helped you with how to get free internet at home without paying.
Make sure that you keep your information safe when using free Wifi, as open hotspots won’t usually be as secure, so keep this in mind when doing things online such as online banking.
It’s totally possible- and totally legal- to get free internet wherever you can.
There’s no need for your to overpay and wreck your budget on something you’re not even home to use every day.
Save some money and find free internet to use at home and spend that $700/year elsewhere.