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Want to keep your cable TV subscription but not willing to pay a hefty buck for it? Don’t we all!
Cable bills never seem to be reasonable. Instead, they like to keep creeping up slowly, more often than not without prior warning or an apparent reason. Once upon a time?back in 1983?the monthly cost of a pay-tv subscription stood at $20/month. And, in 2021 this number is an exorbitant $102.66. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics these numbers reflect an increase of 413.30% over the past 4 decades.
As reflected by a Pew Research Study conducted between January and February 2021 there are namely two factors which have contributed to the downfall in the number of pay-tv subscribers in the U.S. in recent years?cord-cutting and the high cost of subscription. But, what do you do if you love to watch live TV? Because even live TV streaming services like YouTube and fuboTV are now almost at par with mid-tier cable or satellite TV packages. Does cutting the cord then really serve the purpose of cost-cutting?
Well, luckily, there are some ways to lower your monthly cable bill and still get your fill of live TV. Some are easy to follow while others require a little bit of effort to take advantage of. But, even if you are able to save $10 per month—that amounts to $120 in savings per year—so definitely worth a little exertion.
Above everything, invest a few days closely monitoring what you watch and, most importantly, where you watch it. Whether you spend more time with cable or Netflix? Do you prefer on-demand shows more or live TV? And do you even sit down in front of your TV screen anymore, or you mostly use your phone or tablet?
Once you are well aware of your watching patterns, you will know better what you actually need— maybe observations made during this exercise tell reveal that all you need is to downgrade to a base level low-priced cable package. You may get access to fewer channels, but if you are getting all your live TV essentials, that may as well do the trick.
Now, as promised, here are some tried and tested ways to help you take control of your cable bill and its impact on your monthly budget:
The CR (Consumer Reports) Cable Bill Report 2019 details company-imposed fees contribute to an estimated $37 on average to the monthly cable bill, while a little over $1 is charged in miscellaneous fees, and govt. fees and taxes add a little over $13 per month.
If you are unable to understand the different types of fees mentioned in your monthly bill, don’t hesitate to call your cable provider’s customer service team, and clarify the confusion. Some charges will be unavoidable for obvious reasons, such as the Broadcast TV Surcharge or the Regional Sports Fee etc., but you can escape others, like those for HD programming, if you modify your cable package.
No doubt pay-tv providers have established a monopoly on set-top boxes, and force consumers to pay a dear rental cost each month?on average adding over $230 to the yearly cable bill. Yet this is an expense you can find ways to avoid.
Most of us pay cable providers the extra money to get multiple cable boxes for different rooms—and still end up watching TV mostly on any one of them only. So its time to understand the extra equipment in your bedroom or the guest room is not needed at all. And, you can easily avoid wasting your money by scaling down to a single cable box, and lowering your bill by a significant amount every year.
With almost every pay-tv provider now offering a free TV Everywhere app, compatible with a number of streaming devices, if you are game, you can do away with the cable box completely. Make a one-time investment in a quality streaming device compatible with your provider’s TV app, and start streaming your cable TV networks.
Remember, a number of TV service providers now also facilitate online viewership of their cable TV feed?meaning you can watch on your desktop or laptop as well. Albeit, this option may not be the most viable from the viewpoint of a family.
Of course, DVR is one of the best inventions of all time, but the majority of cable and satellite TV providers lend that to you for an extra monthly fee—anywhere between $5 and $20 per month depending upon the equipment and storage capacity. So, if you also have one in your home, it is high time to weigh up if you are really getting your money’s value for what you pay each month for the DVR service
You are most likely to watch any missed episode of your favorite shows on-demand the next day, instead of recording them to your DVR. If that’s not feasible, you can either buy your own DVR to record programs?albeit you’d be likely not to remain eligible for tech support. Else you can swap your advanced DVR service, with a base-level plan that allows just bare minimum storage capacity to accommodate your busy schedule.
Sure, it feels nice to have a channel lineup that includes a number of popular and premium networks, but do you really need them?
To be specific, cable packages with a high channel count can escalate your monthly bill drastically. And, often, your cable lineup includes only a few you actually love to watch, while the rest are just there. If you realize you are paying additional bucks for networks you never watch, it is high time you dropped them. Or else, it is just money down the drain. Downsizing your cable package to the must-haves can trim down your monthly bills to a great extent—and you probably will not even miss the extra channels.
Similarly, if you are subscribed to premium or sports add-ons, drop the ones you are not crazy about?on average that can lower your monthly cable bill by $10 or more per month.
If you get your home internet, cable or satellite TV, and phone services from three different providers, chances are you are paying the premium price for your pay-tv subscription. Bundling internet and cable TV service into a single package with some providers can help you subscribe at discounted bundle rates.
Just make sure you do not add a service to your bundle which your home is not going to benefit from. For instance, if the home phone service is for peanuts when added to your internet and TV bundle, that does not mean you should include it even when you know your lifestyle does not necessitate it.
Just like any major purchase, always research cable providers delivering services in your area. Try to figure out what’s the best ongoing deal in your neighborhood. Remember, the difference is not as much in how pay-tv services are priced, rather in what you get out of them in terms of features and perks.
Just don't opt for a service you do not plan to use, like a high-tier cable package, when all you really watch is broadcast TV and a handful of popular networks. This is pretty similar to keeping in mind how much speed and data your household consumes so as to save yourself from paying for what you do not use.
Traditional cable providers understand the norms of the industry have changed and if there is a better alternative available even loyal customers may opt for a switch.
So, don’t shy away from negotiating with your cable provider. By discussing terms and bargaining on price with the customer service agent, you may end up with a better deal after the promo term is over. And, if you play your cards right, a sweet talk with a customer service representative may help you win a promotional bundle only available to new subscribers.
If you feel the representative is not willing to negotiate at all, tell them you would like to cancel your service. That will most probably get you directed to the customer-retention department—where reps don’t want to lose you as a customer—and you may find it easier to negotiate a lower cable bill.
Try not to settle for a single provider?instead shop around to explore better cable providers and packages available in your area. Keeping up with the latest cable TV deals helps you compare your current provider’s offerings with competing offers. Plus, it also gives you an upper hand during negotiations with your provider.
Most cable providers run special promotional deals and offer discounts for new customers. For this reason, switching providers following the end of your promo term may help you benefit from any such deals making your monthly cable budget more manageable?at least for another 12 months. The only hindrance in switching can be an Early Termination Fee you may have to face if you are on a contract with your current provider. Which is why it is always prudent to opt for a no-contract service.
Whether you make small cuts or go bold, the savings on your monthly cable bill will surely add up over time—providing your budget some breathing room.
As cliché as it may sound, explore all your options before settling for any one cable TV provider if you choose to switch. As long as you don’t incur a substantial cancellation fee for switching, you can surely end up with a better and cheaper alternative. To explore what cable TV packages are available in your area, enter your Zip Code here. Or speak to a professional at 1-855-349-9328 to find the most affordable cable TV plans in your area.
The price of cable TV and internet package depends upon several factors including the TV channel line-up and speed you are looking for. But, you can grab a bargain deal at bundle rate without compromising on service quality with promo offers from the likes of Charter Spectrum™, Optimum, and AT&T.
RCN offers one of the cheapest basic cable TV packages. The Cox Contour Starter plan is priced at $50/month and gets you a good essentials variety along with Music Choice™ channels. But, Spectrum TV Select is a truly unbeatable offer which gets you 125 channels at $44.99/mo. (for 12 months).
If you are not willing to give up on your favorite local channels, but don’t want to dish out money to a pay-tv service provider, invest in a digital antenna and catch broadcast TV networks over the air. However, before purchasing the Hi-Def antenna, check the signal strength of local broadcast networks in your ZIP code to find out which stations you will be able to tune into without hassle.
If you have always paid your cable bill on time and in full, use it as a bargaining chip to negotiate your bill. Most likely, your provider will be willing to offer you a better deal to retain you.
If you like to watch sports, local news, or episodes of your favorite TV shows—streaming platforms are undoubtedly the best alternative to cable. Some of the most popular and sought-after streaming services include Sling TV, Hulu with Live TV, YouTube TV, fuboTV.
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