Featured Image

3 Smart Ways to Track and Adjust Your Internet Usage

The expenses of living in an off-campus apartment are many, and some bills can fluctuate, like the one for your internet. Here are some tips for tracking your internet usage and keeping your bill as low as possible.

Remember a time when you weren’t arguing with your roommates over who paid their fair share of the bills for the month? On-campus dorm living certainly has its downsides (like having to share one bathroom with a floor of students), but at least the bills are covered. If you’re sharing an off-campus apartment with one or more roommates, the debate over who is paying for what can rival the best Supreme Court arguments.

Of all the bills, the internet is probably the most hotly debated, especially if you’re dealing with a monthly data cap. How do you get around the war over which roommate's gaming used up the most data? Here are a couple of ideas to track your internet usage that don’t involve spending more money on equipment or service plans.

1. Make sure you’re getting what you’re paying for

If you suspect that excessive data usage is cutting into the speed of your internet connection, do a quick broadband test to make sure you’re getting what you’re paying for. Try a free test site like speedof.me. Test at different times of the day, specifically once when everyone’s online and once when everyone is not. If you aren’t clocking close to optimal speeds, get in touch with your provider to find out why and have it adjusted as soon as possible.

Related: 5 Smart Tech Security Options for Off-Campus Housing

2. Do a “data vampire” purge

If your connection speed is where it should be, ask everyone in the house to do three things (honestly, they should be doing them anyway):

  1. Run a virus and malware scan on all devices to clear out any unwanted programs that are eating up data without their knowledge.
  2. Check to make sure that no applications are running in the background on their computers, as programs that run 24/7 can use a lot of data.
  3. Do the same thing with smartphones. Background data usage and updates can dig into your home Wi-Fi data. Shut down any activity trackers that are running around the clock.

3. Check your router

Internet usage monitoring apps are available for free (or for a small fee) that let you track your overall data usage. But the most accurate way to monitor Wi-Fi data usage is through your router. Log in to your router’s settings to see the amount of Wi-Fi data each connected device uses. You can also kick out any devices you and your roommates don’t recognize.

Additional solution: Buy separate Wi-Fi time

The problem may not be you or the general household; perhaps one of your roommates has been on a gaming spree lately. If there’s a data hog, it might make more sense for them to buy the internet time they need separately. Pay-as-you-go internet lets you buy passes by the hour, week, or month, making it easier to avoid arguments over household data spikes.

Related: 5 Tips for New Roommates

It’s never a perfect paradise with roommates, especially in the digital age with so many additional things to pay for. If you can potentially avoid money conflicts before they happen, it’s best to arm yourself now and save everyone some first-of-the-month headaches.

Learn more about on- and off-campus living in our Student Life section.

Like what you’re reading?

Join the CollegeXpress community! Create a free account and we’ll notify you about new articles, scholarship deadlines, and more.

Join Now

Tags:
data usage internet paying bills roommates technology

About Kristin Hackler

Kristin Hackler is a ghostwriter and serial freelancer. When she's not writing, you can find her playing (or running after) her two free-range boys and baking up a storm.

 

Join our community of
over 5 million students!

CollegeXpress has everything you need to simplify your college search, get connected to schools, and find your perfect fit.

Join CollegeXpress
Khush

Khush

High School Class of 2021

CollegeXpress is a multi-maneuver platform that has been helping students in their college applications and scholarship hunt process. For me, CollegeXpress has been a boon. I've been able to find my dream university via CX, and I've also been able to apply to thousands of scholarships through it. All the thanks to CollegeXpress for doing such a great job for free. I express my sincere gratitude to you for doing such a wonderful job. I recommend CollegeXpress without any reservations.

Asia Stockdale

Asia Stockdale

High School Class of 2021

CollegeXpress helped me overcome a huge hurdle. Because of the small town I live in, I felt like I would never achieve more. I felt like I could never go beyond because of costs. I feared I wouldn’t be able to find scholarships. I had no idea of where to start. With CollegeXpress, I easily found scholarships—they came to me. It was a helper, and I was instantly matched with opportunities to go above and beyond educationally.

Damian Rangel

Damian Rangel

September 2021 Mini Scholarship Winner, High School Class of 2022

CollegeXpress has helped me tackle college expenses, which will allow me to put more of my time and effort into my studies without the need of worrying as much about finances.

Chris Bell

Chris Bell

Bell College Consulting

The college lists on CollegeXpress are indispensable for sussing out creative additions to a student’s list, and the college-specific pages provide terrific commentary and suggestions for related schools. CollegeXpress is among the most trusted sources I use for information for my students.

Maurice Whan

Maurice Whan

$2,000 Spring Scholarship Contest Winner, 2021

This year has been tough for my family and myself, so receiving this scholarship has been a blessing in disguise! CollegeXpress has been an excellent resource in helping me prepare financially for college. Thank you again for this amazing opportunity!

College Matches