April 10, 2023

OpenAI’s ‘Pay As You Go’ Is the Best Way to Use ChatGPT

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If you’ve tried talking to ChatGPT, you may have noticed that its free website is often slow, needs frequent reloading, and relies on Cloudflare to confirm you’re indeed a human. But contrary to what OpenAI advertises, you don’t need to pay $20 per month for the paid version (ChatGPT Plus) to solve these issues. Instead, opt for OpenAI’s pay-as-you-go plan that charges you based on usage rather than a monthly fee.

Buy OpenAI’s “Pay As You Go” plan

The pay-as-you-go plan isn’t just more convenient—it’s also cheap. With the latest ChatGPT 3.5 Turbo API models, you’re looking at $0.002 per 1,000 tokens (one token is about 0.75 words). So, long queries will cost you hundredths of dollars, and even under heavy use you’re looking at a couple of dollars a month. Take a look at the OpenAI pricing page to see prices for the latest models.

All you need to get started is a set of API keys from OpenAI that are unique to your account. You can add this API to key any third-party ChatGPT app, and you can then reliably talk to the chatbot, or let the app do its thing using ChatGPT data.

Head over to OpenAI’s billing page, and log in with your account. Sign up for the Pay As You Go plan by adding your credit card. Once that’s done, head to the Usage Limits page to create a hard limit, which will stop GPT functionality if you reach a certain dollar amount. (Again, reaching that amount will probably be difficult to do.) But in the event a linked ChatGPT app goes haywire, you won’t end up losing $120 in a month, the default usage limit. You can set any soft or hard limit that you want here, but a $5 or $10 limit is a good idea.

Image for article titled OpenAI’s 'Pay As You Go' Is the Best Way to Use ChatGPT

Screenshot: Khamosh Pathak

When that’s done, it’s time to copy your API key. On the OpenAI Platform page, go to the API Keys section from the sidebar. Here, click Create new secret key to create a brand new, unique API key. Copy this key and save it to your notes app or password manager. Make sure you do, since OpenAI won’t let you see that key again. You are, of course, free to delete and create new API keys.

Image for article titled OpenAI’s 'Pay As You Go' Is the Best Way to Use ChatGPT

Screenshot: Khamosh Pathak

After you have the API key on hand, the world is your oyster. You can use the key in any extension, app, or website that accepts it. Once added, the app will directly connect with ChatGPT using your identity and will reliably work without the need to login again or reauthorize.

Image for article titled OpenAI’s 'Pay As You Go' Is the Best Way to Use ChatGPT

Screenshot: Khamosh Pathak

Personally, my experience using the Glarity YouTube summary extension skyrocketed after I added an API key. Previously, I would have to log in to OpenAI every couple of hours to re-authenticate.

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