This Is the Best Way to Lower Your Cable Bill, Experts Say
You don't have to cut the cord completely to enjoy major savings on your monthly cable bill.
Considering the amount of time many people are spending at home these days, having easy access to your favorite shows and movies has begun to feel more like a need than a want. Unfortunately, if you're accessing those services through a standard cable provider, you're likely paying a pretty penny for them. According to a 2020 report from DecisionData.org, the average household cable package in the U.S. costs $214.42 a month—that's nearly $2,600 a year. In fact, the report notes that cable has become the single priciest household utility for most Americans. That doesn't mean you need to continue paying through the nose for cable, however. There's one simple way to get the price of your cable services slashed: Just threaten to leave.
"Cable companies know that it's much more costly for them to acquire a new customer than to retain an existing customer," says financial advisor Charles H. Thomas III, founder of Intrepid Eagle Finance. Once you do this, companies will typically put you in touch with a retention specialist, who will go over options that can potentially keep you with your existing cable company.
"This could include less costly packages that have fewer channels or other options," Thomas says. "Some will outright lower your bill if you offer to stay." But if you want to take a less drastic approach to slashing your monthly cable costs, read on to discover more expert-backed tips for lowering your cable bill. And for more great personal finance tips, This Is the Best Way to Lower Your Phone Bill.
Bundle your services.
If you get your internet, phone, and cable services from separate providers, you're likely paying a premium for those TV channels.
If you want to save, "ask about combining your package and you will be surprised at the price," says Mathew Dailly, managing director at Tiger Financial. "You can save a lot of money this way, instead of having multiple packages from different people." And for more easy ways to lower your spending, check out The Best Way to Save Money While Shopping Online, According to Experts.
Use your on-time payments as a negotiation tool.
If you've always paid your cable bill in full on or before its due date, you can use that as a bargaining chip when trying to lower your bill.
"Your provider may be willing to negotiate a lower price to keep you around, particularly if you've been paying your bill reliably for a long time," says Sean Messier of Credit Card Insider.
"Traditional cable companies understand that the industry isn't what it once was, and that if there are cheaper, better options, their customers will move on," he explains.
Switch to a less deluxe package.
Sure, it may be nice to get 9,000 ESPN channels, but do you really need them?
"Oftentimes, your cable package is not really reflective of the channels you watch," says Michael Foguth, founder of Foguth Financial Group. "Cutting out the channels you don't watch or stepping back to a package with fewer channels can greatly reduce your monthly cable bill." And for more great personal finance tips delivered to your inbox, sign up for our daily newsletter.
Take advantage of promotions.
If you're looking to lower your bill, try taking advantage of services providers' holiday promotions.
"Cable promotional packages typically last for two years and cost substantially less than the normal going rate," says Foguth, who notes that many companies will allow you to switch to another promotion if you call before your current one is up.
Research competitors' promotions.
Even if your existing cable company isn't offering any discounts at the moment, you can save big by mentioning any of their competitors' deals.
"You can very easily play service providers against each other and get a better price," says Adem Selita, CEO and co-founder of The Debt Relief Company. Just call your cable company and let them know what other promotions you've found and you may be able to get a price match.
Get a digital antenna.
If you want to keep the local channels you love while ditching your expensive cable contract, invest in a digital antenna.
"There are lots of affordable indoor and outdoor options to choose from online, and in general, today's antennas are more reliable than the antennas of the past," says financial services expert John Schmoll, founder of FrugalRules.com. However, before you buy that antenna, make sure you know the strength of your local broadcast signals and figure out which stations you can actually tune into.
Cut the cord.
There's a reason millions of people have jumped ship from cable companies in favor of streaming services: Doing so can save you big.
"The quality of internet streaming these days is excellent, and there are a variety of content providers that offer bundles for a fraction of the price of cable," says financial expert Cyrus Vanover, founder of The Frugal Budgeter. Vanover recommends combining streaming platforms with services like Tubi TV to get all the content you're used to for a fraction of the price. And if you want to lower your household expenses, These Are the Home Appliances Killing Your Energy Bill.