Depending on where you live around the world, your television and internet bills may make up a significant chunk of your monthly expenditure – and sometimes for subpar service. Most would consider their internet connection as an essential utility. Not as many would say the same about their television service, especially if they’re cord-cutters, but it’s still worth getting it as cheaply as possible if you still enjoy cable.
Not all of these tips will apply to your specific circumstances and, as such, you’ll have to pick and choose the ones that might work for you. Some might even be irrelevant, as it’s no secret that some internet providers in the US and elsewhere operate as legal monopolies. Nevertheless, there are usually savings to be made, and significant ones at that, so let’s tackle that bill and see if we can bring it down.
1. Bring Together All Your Services
First things first, you need to consider who you get your television and internet from, along with your phone line if applicable. If you get them from different providers and haven’t reviewed the available packages in a while, it may be worth bundling them together. We’ve heard of some cases where it’s somehow cheaper to have television and internet services together than one or the other on their own, although such situations are few and far between.
2. Decide How Much You Need
When you’re excited about your new cable installation, it’s not unusual to go big and take every channel package and the best available speeds. Once you’ve used them for a while, however, you’ll find that you don’t use certain services as much as you might have thought you would. If you could get by with less bandwidth at a lower cost or don’t need the movie package as much as you thought you might, call up and get them removed from your bill.
3. Take Advantage of Promotions and Cashback
Cashback has been around for a long time as a promotional tactic, but it really took off with the internet, and many ISPs and cable companies view it as essential to stay competitive. You may be able to receive cash back, gifts and other rewards either when you change provider or sign a new contract with your current one.
4. Decide if You really Need Cable
We already mentioned cord-cutters and if you haven’t already taken the plunge, consider whether you can make it work. Most of the people that still maintain a cable subscription do so for sports and live events, although you can find online subscriptions for most of this too. Think about what you watch on cable and whether it justifies the monthly fee. If not, it might be time to drop your TV service altogether.
5. Keep an Eye on Contract Dates
Service contracts are part of the game, and you can expect to pay a fee if you want to move or cancel before your agreement is up. While TV and internet companies continue to provide a service on a rolling contract after expiry, they know all too well that you’re in a strong bargaining position. Once you’re out of contract, it’s the perfect time to see what they can do for you by way of price. Know your contract expiry dates and get on to them as every additional bill can cost more than it needs to.
6. See What You Can Live Without
We mentioned cutting the cord and dropping individual packages, and it’s important enough to warrant a separate tip. There won’t be many people that can live without internet completely, but if you have options, it pays to see what’s out there. Try to cut your TV viewing and internet use and experiment with whether you could conceivably cancel it altogether.
7. Bluff a Cancellation
Even if you don’t want to cancel, your provider doesn’t need to know that. If you’re out of contract and they’re dragging their feet with deals, intimate that you’re happy to go elsewhere. It’s impressive how retention teams can do the impossible.
8. Use Alternative Services If You’re On Limited Data
If you have a data cap on your plan, you have two options. You could pay more for additional data or remove the limit, or you could make a concerted effort to save data-intensive tasks like music downloads for when you’re on public wi-fi.
9. Consider Whether It’s Cheaper to Pay as You Go
If you keep cable for a couple of shows, see where else you can legally get your hands on them. They might be available on a season pass or pay per episode basis online, and you can keep them forever. If you only watch a couple of sporting events each month, see if you can buy a couple of day passes for less than the cost of a monthly subscription. Providers love subscriptions and contracts because it makes for commitment, but there’s nothing wrong with wresting back control.
10. Split the Costs with Family Members
If you’ve tried all these tips but still need to shave a little more off your TV and internet bills, it might be time to get ruthless in the home! We’d only suggest this as a last resort, but if you’re trying to balance the books and getting nowhere, desperate times can call for drastic measures. It’s probably unfair to get the kids to pay towards these bills, but every adult in the home should be accountable for their use. It’s easy to find out who uses the most – just see who looks the most panicked when you say you’re considering cutting back on the services!
Naturally, this won’t work if you already split the bills in the home, but when you have lodgers, family staying for extended periods or other cost increases, they should accept that the money must come from somewhere.