Dear Cable Company,
Seriously, it's crazy, am I right? Seems like every month, an already exorbitant bill sneaks a little higher. The average customer pays more than $ 1
Fortunately, there are ways to lower the cable bill. Some require a little effort, some are remarkably simple. Even if you can only save $ 10 a month, that's $ 120 a year – that's a little bit of your time.
Step 1: Check your viewing habits. Spend a few days paying close attention to what you see and, above all, where you see it. Are you spending more time on Netflix than on cable? Do you watch live TV or do you usually watch on-demand TV? And do you even plop in front of the TV or do you usually take a phone or tablet these days?
Once you have answers to these questions, you have a better idea of what you really need – and how much leverage you have in the cable industry.
More services for less money? It's possible: Some providers offer lower rates if you choose a package that includes telephone, cable and Internet. If you play your cards correctly, you may be able to contact a customer service representative who will provide you with the bundle of new customers available.
This of course means you have to pick up the phone, wade through the menus, wait for a replay, give them all your account information, and on and on. And if you do that …
Haggle a better deal (or let someone else do it)
What do you think about Hardball? If the representative is unwilling to offer you a better deal, say that you would like to cancel your service. This will most likely result in you being transferred to the customer retention department, where you may be able to negotiate a lower bill. The staff in this department do not want to lose you as a customer, but you must be prepared to see your risk of termination through to the end.
If you do not have time for all this, or haggling is just not your thing, considering that a third party is negotiating on your behalf. Billcutterz, BillFixers and Billshark are among the services that will make the call for you. Of course, you need to provide them with your account information, which can be a bit disconcerting to your privacy. In addition, every company saves part of what you save: Billcutterz and BillFixers retain 50 percent, while Billshark reserves 40 percent.
These prices may seem steep, but these companies know exactly what they need to say to get the most savings possible. Besides, they make the heavy lifting. You do not have to spend time waiting and are transferred to other departments.
Buy your modem
Take a look at the Internet section of your latest cable bill. Is there a "modem" fee? Chances are, your provider will give you the device that brings this fast connection into your home – probably worth $ 8-12 a month. Chances are, too, that you can return this modem and deliver your own. (Just make sure the cable company allows this and the modem you receive is compatible with their network.)
For example, the TP-Link Archer CR500 is a combined modem / wireless router that works with the Most cable providers are compatible and offers fast AC1200 Wi-Fi along with 16×4 cable connections. It's available online for around $ 95, which means you can recoup your investment in less than a year – and then save that monthly fee forever.
The disadvantage, however, is that your provider may be unwilling or unable to offer the same type of support as your own equipment in case of connection issues.
Ditch your DVR
Another charge that adds to your monthly bill: the DVR. It is, of course, one of the greatest inventions of all time – but do you actually use it?
In my house, for example, it is anything but dust gathering. Most of the shows we see come from Netflix and Hulu. Why should I pay extra for a DVR every month? If it is the same in your house, consider trading this box for a simple recipient. (At the same time, check which receivers you are not using and turn them on!) The money you have saved could cover the cost of an online DVR service such as Sling TV.
More: The Best DVRs of 2018
Get rid of them (maybe)
OK, the elephant in the TV room: cutting the strings. Is not it time to drop cables, at least for television? Maybe yes, maybe no. It's all about math.
First of all, think of what I've already mentioned in bundles. If you remove cable TV and only subscribe to cable Internet, you can actually end up with a higher monthly rate – or even one that stays the same, which defeats the entire purpose.
Then consider the cost of the services that will replace your cable TV: Hulu for example and maybe Sling TV so you can still watch live shows. With these two alone, look at a minimum of $ 33 a month. If TV only adds $ 50 or so to your monthly cable bill, it might make sense to keep it. After all, you get local channels – still a challenge for online services – and the joys of channel flipping.
Save money by cutting off the cable of cable television? Maybe. It may not be as much as you thought, and it's not worth it. (Be sure to readto learn more about the subject.)
If you have already done so, or you have other suggestions to lower that disgusting bill, press the comments and share!
First published on July 7, 2017.
Updated on August 29: New information added