CABLE TV IS EXPENSIVE and getting more so all the time. According to recent market research from Leichtman Research Group, the average monthly cable or satellite bill is now up to $107, yet 78 percent of U.S. households still pay for TV service. While many of your monthly bills are unavoidable, cable is ultimately a luxury. Still, many of us depend on cable service to get all of our news, sports and entertainment, and cutting the cord doesn’t seem like a real option. For those who want to keep cable, read on for a few ways to lower your cable bill.
Do Your Research
As with any major purchase, make sure you do your research about the cable providers in your area. Are you getting the best deal in your locality? Are there any other providers who might be able to offer you a similar package at a cheaper rate? If you find a better deal, you may have to pay a cancellation fee, but the savings with the new plan might be enough to offset it after just a few months. Explore all of your options before settling on any cable subscription.
Downsize Your Cable Package
Take a hard look at the channels you actually watch, and chances are you could do with a much smaller cable package. According to a 2016 Nielsen report, American households pay for more than 200 channels when they actually watch only around 20. Why are you wasting your money on all those extra channels? Look at your provider’s offerings to see if they offer smaller packages you could live with.
Bundle Your Telecom Utilities
One of the easiest ways to lower your cable bill is to bundle your cable, internet and phone service together. Cable providers often run promotions on these bundles, and if you take your time on the phone and find the right salesperson, you might be able to talk your way into a new customer promotion by switching over to one of these bundles. All it takes is patience and a few calls to your provider or new providers to easily lower your bill through bundling.
Get Rid of the DVR and Modem
Most cable providers levy an extra monthly surcharge for loaning you the digital video recorder, usually anywhere from around $5 to as high as $19.95 a month. Ask yourself: Am I really getting my money’s worth for what I pay each month for my DVR service? Could you simply watch those shows on-demand the next day instead of recording them to your DVR? There are ways of getting around a DVR. You could even buy your own to record over-the-air broadcasts on the major networks.
Many cable companies also charge you each month for the modem they provide if you bundle internet along with cable. Check your bill to see if that’s the case. If it is, you can buy and use your own modem for less than the cost of renting the cable company’s for a year – and it’s yours to keep.
Slim Down to One Cable Box
Many households pay their cable providers for multiple cable boxes in multiple rooms, yet only generally watch TV on one. Most cable providers charge anywhere between $3 and $15 a month for extra cable boxes for different rooms in your house. Do you really need cable TV in the kitchen? Pare down to one cable box to reduce your bill and cut down on your overall TV consumption and screen time.
Haggle, Negotiate and Get a Better Deal
You may not realize it, but cable bills are often negotiable. If you can sweet-talk, haggle or negotiate just right, you can often talk your provider’s customer service representatives into giving you a discount or promotional rate or waving certain fees. It all depends on whom you get on the phone, though, so don’t be afraid to call multiple times on different days until you get the right rep on the phone.
Cut the Cord
Ultimately, while there are some ways you can trim down your package and reduce your cable bill, the overall best way to lower your cable bill is to lower it to zero by cutting the cord entirely. Many streaming services now offer live streams of cable and broadcast networks for a fraction of the cost of a traditional cable package. Plus, they offer on-demand content. Over-the-air antennas are also an increasingly popular way to cut the cord, allowing you to watch high-definition broadcasts of most major networks, depending on your area. You don’t have to pay an arm and a leg for premium video content anymore. Look into all your options for cutting the cord and kiss that costly cable bill goodbye.