The price of cable has reached almost ridiculous heights in recent years. Combining your cable and internet services may save you a little bit, but even this almost always fails to produce a significant savings on your monthly bill.
The price of cable has increased at a far higher rate than the cost of any other service in the country in the last few years alone. As budgets get tighter and costs increase, many people have chosen to simply opt out of cable altogether, choosing internet-based entertainment alternatives instead to save money.
But there are a couple ways you can save more on your cable bill and get the best bang for your buck while keeping the service you want.
Get to researching
You might be used to the same cable provider, and might be worried that switching providers may cost you access to some of the channels and shows you love the most. But it’s well worth your time and resources to shop providers. You might be surprised to discover that another provider delivers the same service at a reduced rate.
It’s also worth considering that new customers usually get reduced rates when signing on with a new service provider. That may come in handy if you decide to switch providers, of course, but you can actually also apply that information to the provider you have right now.
Find out what pricing your provider offers to new customers and investigate whether it would be worth the switch to internet-only service — if the price for new customers is worth it, you could just be streaming all of your favorite shows online!
Don’t pay for speed you don’t need
Picking a broadband package can be tricky and many people opt for more than they need. I almost fell victim to this a few days ago when my cable company, Cox, sent me an email offering faster Internet for $5 a month for six months (with the price rising after that). I almost jumped before taking stock and realizing that my current package allows me to stream movies and play games without any problems.
Faster may be better, but at some point, your connection is fast enough for what you do. Time Warner Cable actually offers a handy speed checker which allows you to test your current speeds no matter which provider you use.
Consider your options
The people who pay the best prices for cable and Internet tend to be the ones on promotional deals. While switching can be a hassle involving multiple phone calls and appointments, it’s often a way to cut your bill. In some cases, just the possibility of switching (and threatening to leave) can get your existing carrier to lower your pricing or at least offer to sweeten your deal (perhaps by throwing in a free premium channel like HBO or Showtime).
Before you switch to save some short-term dollars, however, you need to work out the long-term costs. If jumping to a new carrier at a great promotional price requires a two-year commitment, but only offers the deal rate for a year, then you must look at the total two-year cost. It’s also important to find out what fees you will pay on top of the promotional rate as most cable companies are charging extra fees for broadcast networks and, in some cases, sports packages.
It’s very important to do the math when considering a switch. Most cable/ISP packages include a discount for bundling multiple services together. If you drop cable and switch to satellite (or just drop it altogether) you need to factor in the price of any lost discounts.
Still, in most cases, being willing to move (and sometimes moving) should earn you a better deal.
It’s about diligence
It’s possible to spend less money on cable and Internet without cutting the cord, but it can be exhausting. It’s a challenge to keep this bill — which seems to creep steadily higher each year — in check, but it can be done.
You need to be diligent and not let the ease of automated bill pay lull you into overpaying. Check your statements, look for better deals, and if a charge seems questionable or negotiable, ask your provider.
Cable companies and ISPs won’t go out of their way to lower your bill or let you know about services you are paying for but not using. You have to do the work yourself, but if you do, your bank account will be at least a little bit fatter.
It’s almost always worth the effort to negotiate.
Here’s something many cable consumers don’t realize (and something that providers do not advertise): the prices that you get charged every month are negotiable. If you’ve conducted your research, you have leverage to negotiate the price of your cable bill with the provider you already have. You may be surprised at how effective this is, and it may save you some serious cash.
Equip yourself with information, and give your provider a call.