5 steps to cutting your cable television costs
Each week, USA TODAY will look at one of your monthly bills and offer tips on how to cut that bill down to size and save you money.
There’s perhaps no bill capable of generating peak frustration more than the one for cable television.
Cable TV companies report average spending per subscriber of about $85 a month, while the average among satellite TV providers tops $100 a month, Leichtman Research Group says.
Five things you can do:
1 Assess what you watch: Get rid of extras, downsize plans
Review your current plan and what channels you get. Cutting premium channels and sports packages is an easy way to rack up savings. There’s a good chance you can drop down to a smaller, less expensive package and still get most of the channels you need.
2 Examine those extra fees
Some fees and taxes are required, but some could be cut back. Do you have one or several set-top boxes for watching TV throughout the house? Those rental fees for boxes can add up.
If you package your cable with Internet, consider buying a compatible modem instead of paying the monthly rental fee. When buying, make sure to confirm with your operator that it works for your provider and is certified for the speeds you want.
3 Skip the two-year contracts
Yes, the pricing can be very attractive. However, you’re better off staying with a month-to-month commitment, Swann says. “You are bound to that company,” he said. “You have no leverage during that two-year period.”
Swann said consumers will usually pay as much or more compared to a plan without contracts. Also, most cable companies will require you pay an early termination fee.
4 Call your cable company and negotiate
Contact a customer service representative at your cable provider. Check out the latest deals that they are offering to new subscribers and compare them to what you’re currently paying.
“Knocking down the price is as simple as taking the time to call and ask — politely,” personal finance writer Andrea Woroch says.
If there’s a competitor, threaten to cancel your service and switch. Woroch suggests asking for a supervisor or manager if necessary.
5 Consider a leap to streaming services
Sling TV, DirecTV Now, PlayStation Vue, Hulu and YouTube all offer skinny bundles with a solid core channel lineup. The cheapest option among the group is Sling TV’s Orange plan for $20 a month and features channels including ESPN, CNN, Disney and Food Network.