The holidays are over, and many Americans are tightening up their belts for a few months – at least until they get their taxes back, anyway. But, while people often try to cut back on retail shopping, restaurant visits and entertainment expenses, consumers who want to make big changes this year may want to examine the cost of their technology use, particularly their spending on wireless internet for their home.

Some individuals who are struggling financially try to shave money off their monthly bills by sharing their internet connection with a neighbor. Doing so can certainly save money, but there are risks involved, as well. Sharing an internet connection is simple: one person gives the other their Wi-Fi password, the neighbor who's accessing the other's internet cancels their own service and they split the cost of one bill.

However, sometimes saving money isn't worth the legal, financial and personal risks. As Lincoln Spector writes in his PCWorld article about sharing Wi-Fi: "This should work, but the negatives probably outweigh the positives." Spector gives a few reasons why, as well:

• Most internet service providers don't allow customers to share Wi-Fi. If you do it, you'll very likely be breaking the Terms and Conditions of your customer agreement. And if you get caught, you could get your service cancelled, have to pay a fine or even face legal consequences.

• You put your personal information at risk for theft. You might be careful about handing out your password, but what if your neighbors aren't? The more people know about your password, the less secure it is. You don't want to end up at your local Washington, D.C. computer repair center spending more money on virus removal, just because you tried to save $20 a month on internet.

• Your connection will be slower. Streaming video, music and other downloads will inevitably take longer if more people are accessing it at once.