Top 13 Tips for Saving Money on Cable Bill

One of the biggest expenses for the typical household is the cable bill. The costs can vary from household to household but it is still an added expense. For a lot of cable plans, the total can easily be over $100 per month! At that cost, it can take up a good percentage of someone’s take-home pay. But there are some ways that you can try to reduce the cost of your cable bill if you don’t want to is out on your favorite shows. Keep reading to see our top 11 for saving money on cable bill.

1. Pay attention to the fees

Unfortunately, in this day and age, there are a lot of services come with fees. The problem being is a lot of the fees may be for random services that you don’t use or that are not disclosed when you sign the contract. These can be for a variety of reasons, but this could cost you a lot of money in the long run. Even if its say $4 per month, that is close to $50 per year. If you have the internet bundled with the cable bill, then there could be an extra fee for the modem.

2. Buy your box

Depending on the type of box, sometimes you can buy the boxes outright. Sometimes it’s part of the plan and the equipment is “free”. However, If you are being charged for a box then see if you can buy the box. This is especially true if you are renting a modem in a bundle with your cable. The cost is usually around $10-$20 per month, for a decent modem you can buy around $70-$100. Within a year, you will start saving money on cable bill. 

3. Do you need the DVR

If you usually watch TV and rarely use the record function then you may be paying more than you actually need. A lot of services now provide on-demand which holds a lot of movies and episodes but not all. If you rarely watch repeats then it may be worth getting rid of DVR. This can end up saving you $5-15 per month depending on the company. If you have a streaming service subscription, this may further reduce the need to be able to record shows. This can be a simple way of saving money on cable bill. 

4. Reduce the number of cable boxes

Do you need as many boxes in your house? One of the biggest added expenses, when you have cable, is to have multiple boxes throughout the house. Each box usually has an added cost. It may be free for the first year but then charged after that. Make sure to keep track of your bills to see if you are being charged now. Do you need a box in every room or can you cut back to 1 or 2 boxes? The cost will vary based on the provider but this is a quick way to keep money in your wallet each month

5. Cut back on the upgrades/ channels

Similar to reducing the number of cable boxes, but this time can you reduce your upgrades. Upgrades are added channels that are no part of a given plan. An example of this is HBO as an add on channel. If you are big into Westworld or similar shows and you have flexibility with your program, then you could cancel the subscription in between the seasons to save money. Then add back on HBO prior to the start of the season. This is easier now that HBO has a streaming option now. 

6. Try bundling cable, internet and phone

If you are anything like me, you get inundated with mail with new options to bundle my internet with cable and phone. When you first sign up with a company, you can save a bit of money at least initially. However, this can rise over the years. If you are unhappy with the cost of your phone or internet with other companies, it would be worth checking into bundles with your cable company. Especially if you don’t want to leave your current provider or limited options. The price for this usually goes up annually until it reaches the actual cost, at least that is what I have seen with Spectrum (formerly Time Warner). But for the first couple of years, the savings may be worth it. 

7. Decrease the plans

This is slightly different than decreasing upgrades as this is to the plan as a whole. Instead of having 120 channels, of which you may watch ¼ of, could you get by with the 40 or 60 channel package instead. This is usually the difference of $20-40 per month for a savings of over $250 per year. This could be spent boosting your savings or towards your next vacation. 

8. Talk to them, negotiation if possible

This one is hit or miss but worth trying to keep a little more money in your pocket. If you have noticed that your bill has gone up, call to see if you can get a cheaper rate. This usually goes better the closer you are towards the end of the 2-year contract that most places have you signed. I have done this on several occasions and saved around $15 per month which adds up quickly. And sometimes if they think you are going to switch to a competitor, they are more likely to give you a better deal or the original price. Often times this takes a lot of persistence but it usually pays off.

9. Look at their competitors

If you are unable to negotiate a better deal, then start looking at the competitors if you are outside of your contract. For the first year with a new company, you may be able to score a great deal that again will slowly increase over the years. However, new deals are constantly coming out and new bundles are becoming available to get you the best price. The only problem with this may be your location. We live in an area that has very limited option for internet and cable, so the options may be scarce. With that being said, if your company knows you are doing this, they will often be more likely to negotiate. 

10. Do away with cable completely – try streaming

For us, we have actually cut the cable completely so to speak and now only do streaming services. This was back when the options were limited too but now there are lots of options out there with anything from AT&T Now (formerly DirecTV now) to Youtube TV. Disney will soon have its own with Disney plus. All provide great options for watching your favorite shows but the plans may vary. If you are interested in this, it is best to shop around for what will work best for your needs. The biggest issue with this is that if the internet goes out, so does your cable. I have found to be a lot cheaper to go this route for as much TV as we actually watch. 

11. Read the fine print! 

This is two-fold as this will help you find the hidden fees that go along with the services. Sometimes you can use this knowledge to negotiate the fees down for a lower rate overall. The other benefit from this is that you know fully what the contract means and how long. If you can avoid signing a 2-year contract, then opt to do that. A 2-year contract may cost you more at that time because the prices usually increase during that time. If you try to cancel early, you may be hit with an extra fee for early termination. If you can avoid this scenario, you’ll be better off. 

12. Free options for streaming

There are actually several free streaming services out there but the shows are often limited. I found Tubi to be one of the best at the time of writing it. It has a lot of 90’s shows or earlier, so very nostalgic. There are quite a few others including IMDB TV, Pluto TV, and Crackle. Even if you keep with cable, it may be worth checking out these free services to find some hidden gems. 

13. A little of All

This seems a little redundant but should be said that you can combine different strategies. You can cut back on the cable plans to save money and start using other streaming options. Let’s say your bill is typically $120 per month but able to reduce the plan to $60 for a savings of $60 per month. You can add on streaming for $14 per month. The overall savings is still $46 per month. It may mean playing around with the best options to meet your needs.

Do you cut the cord?

Over the years, I have used several of these strategies to keep my cable bill down. There are several that will save you more such as switching to a streaming service and buying your own equipment if possible. If you do need cable and phone then it would be worth bundling things which can be a quick way to help with saving money on cable bill. This has been one of our biggest strategies to save money for our Disney vacation.

These tips may not be for everyone but this can make a big difference with getting your budget back under control. It is all about setting priorities and how to save the most.

Are you trying to save money on your cable bill? Let us know in the comments below