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Cable bills never seem to get less expensive. Instead, they might jump $5, $10 or $20 without warning or a clear reason.
1. Cut back on premium channels
It’s hard to say goodbye to HBO, but getting rid of its Max streaming channel could shave as much as $16 off your monthly bill with some providers. Let go of Showtime and you could save $12 more per month.
Farewell doesn’t have to be forever, though. If you can’t live without a particular series, remove the channel when the season wraps.
2. Pare down cable boxes
Premium channels aren’t the only extras you can trim. Additional cable boxes often cost as much as $10 per month. Maybe the cable equipment in your bedroom isn’t necessary after all.
3. Pay attention to fees
Call your provider’s customer service line and question each fee on your bill. Some will be unavoidable, but maybe you can sidestep others, such as a $12 per month “regional sports fee,” by tweaking your plan. And if the cable company won’t budge, a fee like that could be cause for cancellation.
4. Nix DVR service
Miss your favorite show? There’s a good chance you can watch it on demand the next day. Even local news segments live on via the stations’ websites. Ditching your DVR service or reducing the number of hours you can record could trim $10 or more off your monthly bill.
5. Downsize your plan
Trimming your cable package to include just your must-haves could save you as much as $40 per month with some providers — and you might not even miss the extra channels.
6. Bundle cable and internet
Pairing your cable and internet service could save you more than $1,000 over two years with some providers.
Just don't get talked into bundling services you don’t need, such as a premium cable package when you want only local networks or higher-speed internet service that you use only to watch Netflix. These may indeed be great deals for some users, but that doesn’t make them great for you.
7. Negotiate a lower rate
Don’t be afraid to haggle with your cable provider. You may be able to negotiate a better deal by talking to customer service and asking for a discount.
8. Seek out cheap cable
Compare the rates at each provider in your area. As long as you won’t face a sizable cancellation fee for switching from your current service, you could end up with a cheaper alternative.
9. Cut the cord
Still not satisfied with your cable bill? Ditch it and save more. The internet has made it easier to find free programming. Plus, you can still watch broadcast TV with the help of a digital antenna and binge your favorite series with Netflix or Hulu for a portion of the cost of cable. Subscriptions for Netflix start at $6.99 per month, while Hulu's base plan is $7.99 per month.
You could also consider a live TV streaming service. Plans from live TV streamer Sling start at $40 per month. There’s also Hulu + Live TV and YouTube TV, which both offer a cable TV-like experience for around $70 per month. And here’s a hack for football fans: Cut the cord and subscribe to a service such as one of these for just the six months of the season, then cancel.
Whether you go bold or make small cuts, you’re bound to save money on your cable bill.