When you’re living on your own on an entry-level salary, the cable bill can be one of your largest monthly expenses. Add in premium channels, a DVR box, and on-demand rentals, and you’re easily looking at $100+ dollars a month. Fear not: if you’re looking to save on your cable bill, you don’t need cut the cord completely or replace your TV altogether with streaming options. There are a few tricks you can use to keep your monthly costs low, while keeping your entertainment level high.
1. BundlesOne of the biggest ways to save, no matter where you live, is bundling. Bundling with one provider means streamlining your services. Instead of paying one cable bill, one Internet bill and another separate home phone bill, you can save by combining them into a bundle. You can choose to bundle what you want , so you eliminate the cost of the things you don’t. According to providers’ sites like Fios.Verizon.com, if you combine all three – TV, phone and Internet—you save the most dinero. With some providers you can even bundle your security system to save on literally all your home services. Keep in mind:
- Don’t pay for faster internet than you need. Internet speeds vary, and are affected by both your location and what you do online. The more you download, the more speed you need. If you don’t download much, then you don’t need to pay for the fastest plan.
- Don’t pay for calling features you won’t use. Yes, it’s smart to bundle to save, but don’t get a plan with features that you know you won’t use – like long distance or international calling. If you know you won’t call internationally, don’t bother paying to have the option.
2. MoviesIf you have premium cable channels, ask yourself if you get enough use out of them. It can cost an extra $20 to $50 monthly to get a few movie channels (think HBO, Showtime, Starz) for your TV service– that money adds up. If you still want access to movies but don’t want to pay extra for premium channels, consider going with an online streaming site like Netflix, RedBox Instant or Hulu Plus. Each of those online streaming services costs $8 a month. Each offers movies, current TV shows and TV shows that are off the air.
3. TabletsUsing your tablet might not be a money saving tactic, but it’s a great way to actually take advantage of all the apps and features you get with your cable TV subscription. There are apps available that take your TV watching to the next level – so if you’re already paying for the channels, you might as well make use of the TV provider’s corresponding app. You may be able to save yourself the monthly expense of a DVR box in your bedroom, for instance, if you can use an app to watch your shows from another DVR in the house on your tablet.
4. AntennasDepending on how extreme you want to go with your saving, you can cut out cable entirely and buy a set of antennas (they run about $30 to $50). That will give you basic cable for news, weather, and sports—then you can catch up on your shows by subscribing to services like Hulu and Amazon Prime. It’s not ideal, and the picture won’t be hi-def, but it’s worth considering if you’re trying to drastically cut your bill.
5. Call Your ProviderIf you’re determined to keep your TV subscription top-of-the-line, call your service provider and explain the situation. Often times they can help move you to a limited-time promotion to save some money, or give you some premium channels for free for a couple of months. If you’re having technical trouble with your DVR box or connection, many providers will throw in a few months of Showtime or HBO for free, simply to compensate for the inconvenience. It’s worth a shot.
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