Many of us may think of it as the age of cord-cutters but the truth is that a large percentage of the population still pays for cable TV service in the U.S. These cable TV bills never seem to stay stagnant for long, which can get quite frustrating. With consistent increases (usually unannounced and unexplained) in monthly bills over the years, an average American household now pays over $100 every month in cable TV bills. If you are among the population that still believes that cord-cutting is not their thing then you have come to the right place. Lucky for you there are a few ways to cut down your monthly cable TV bill and avoid that sinking feeling you get every time you receive an invoice in your email with a higher bill than the previous month.
Some of these steps are quite easy while others may require a little effort on your part, but they are all worth trying since following these means you may end up saving hundreds of dollars each year. So let us get started!
The first thing you need to do before anything else is to observe your viewing habits. You need to figure out if you only believe you need the cable TV service or if you make use of it. Observe and answer the following questions to get a better understanding of your viewing habits and then decide accordingly:
- Do you have a Netflix subscription?
- If yes, then do you spend more time watching TV or streaming videos over Netflix?
- Do you watch live television most of the time or just use the service to watch on-demand choices?
- Do you sit down in front of your television to watch live TV? Or do you mostly use your provider’s TV App to watch shows on your smartphone or tablet?
Once you have answered the above questions and any other questions that you can think of, you will be in a better position to decide what direction you want to go from here.
For the sake of this discussion, we will assume that you still want to keep your cable TV service and jot down the remaining steps.
Yes, we all love our premium channels but they are expensive. Just having HBO can add up to $20 to your bill each month and likewise for other premium channels too. So you can imagine how easily your bill can drop with just a couple of channels. However, you do not have to cancel these channels permanently. For example, if you follow a favorite show on HBO you may sign up for it when the season starts and cancel as soon as it ends. It is a win-win situation.
Many people get cable boxes installed in every room of the house with rental fees ranging from $3 to $15 per month. These fees can be easily cut down without much effect on your entertainment. You most probably watch TV in the living room or the bedroom so just decide which area is your go-to spot for watching TV and return all the other boxes.
Check your bill and make sure you understand all the fees being charged. If there is any confusion, call the customer service number of your provider to clarify. Some providers will charge you for things like HD video quality. You can tweak things like this in your plan to lower the overall cost.
Most of the shows aired on live television can be viewed on-demand in a day or two of the airing. So if you miss an episode of your favorite show, just give it a day and watch it on-demand instead of paying for a DVR that is only catching dust. Rule of thumb to decide if you should let go of the DVR: If you have not used it more than once a month for the past six months then you do not need it.
We may have 300 channels offered by our cable provider but will only watch the few we like. You can call up your cable provider’s customer service number to speak to a representative to help you with this. You can mention the channels you do not want to give up and ask for a possible downgrade. Losing a few of the channels you do not even watch will not be a problem but all that money saved up would surely help.
Most cable providers offer lower prices when their services are bundled together. You may want to investigate about bundle deals offered by your current provider and then compare them to Optimum plans. Optimum offers some amazing bundled deals providing TV, internet and phone services at great prices. You might end up saving hundreds of dollars each year.
Negotiation is okay. In fact, it is your right to negotiate for a better price as long as you stay reasonable. Politely explaining your concern and asking for a discount might be all you need to do. However, if the customer service representative does not seem cooperative, threatening to cancel the service might do the trick. If you are still not getting the answer you desire, just try calling back another time and speaking to a different person.
It is a good idea to check out other providers in your area. Compare rates and offered services to see if you will be better off with another provider or staying with your current one. If there is a better provider for your budget and you are not bound in a contract then it will be better for you to switch. You can ask the new provider if they offer a buy-out plan which will help you save up on any cancellation fees in case of an active contract.
Cut the Cord
If you have tried all the available options and your bill still is not what you can easily afford then it is a sign for you to cut the cord and move on to cheaper alternatives. With streaming services like Netflix and Hulu on the rise, you can binge-watch all your favorite shows while a digital antenna can help you watch broadcast TV to retain that nostalgic feeling. There are also options like Sling TV and DirecTV that offer you live television as well as on-demand choices at much lower prices.
Paying bills may be a fact but it does not make sense to spend unnecessary amounts of money on cable TV. Whether you go all the way and cut the cord or make the small changes mentioned above, cutting down on luxuries like these will allow you to save significant amounts of money over the years that you can use for more essential things like saving for college or your retirement.