I always thought that a $150 cable bill is more like the maximum people pay these days but I overheard a conversation recently how someone is paying $260 currently and that he knows a few people paying $350 on their cable bills. What the?!? Add in a $150 cellphone plan and they could be paying $500 a month for basically Internet access! How can anyone ever retire overpaying like that?
I seriously doubt any MoneyNing.com reader is paying these obscene amounts, but we can all use a refresher on how to cut some fat off our cable bill. How much are you paying for cable service now? Here are a few ways to reduce your bill.
Get That Landline Outta Here
Unless you don’t have a cell phone, there is really no reason to have a landline anymore. I haven’t had one for the past 10 years now and I never miss it… ever. I can see how some businesses that rely on multiple people receiving phone calls at the same phone number will need one, but no one else needs to pay for that service even if monthly fees are cheap.
Here are two more tips for those who can’t quite get rid of the ancient technology.
- Use an online only fax services – No one ever needs to receive a fax anymore. For those who still get them, just tell everyone to email the documents to you and they’ll make it happen. There will still be instances that require you to send faxes, but you can easily take care of those requests by using online free services such as GoFreeFax.com. I’ve used these guys for years now and the 3 page free fax takes care of 99% of my needs and they have a reasonable pay per use option too. In the past 10 years, I’ve paid them twice when I needed to fax larger documents and spent maybe $5 in total.
- Look into cell phone modules for alarms – I know some companies charge an extra $15 if you want to switch to cellular monitoring, negating the benefit of cutting out the landline but SimpliSafe.com charges $15 a month for its monitoring service and that already includes cellular monitoring. Look into that and you could even save money on the home alarm portion – you are welcome!
What about Cable TV?
Cable TV is the leg of the triple play bundle that people can’t quite part from. One of my friends who don’t really watch TV still pays for it, so there are always those people. Others actually have better reasons, like not being able to watch live sports, or episodes of their favorite shows the night it comes out. Of course, the money they spend for the privilege could let them see some of the games at the actual stadium or it could be used to pay for an unlimited movie pass that let’s them see every movie in the theater whenever they want.
Here are a few alternatives for those willing to look past the social stigma of not having cable TV.
- Sling TV – For $20 a month you get 30 channels including ESPN, so there’s really no reason to have cable TV anymore. They even have HBO for $15 extra if you really cannot live without Game of Thrones. And you can actually try SlingTV free for 7 days with this special offer so there’s really no excuses not to give it a go now.
- Netflix, Hulu, Crackle and more – Netlfix started the cord cutting revolution so you know the drill here. I won’t elaborate too much but it’s $10 a month and you’ll never run out of stuff to watch.
- The Good Ole’ Antenna – Did you know the local stations are free? Get a $50 antenna at Costco or something and you get local news for free and you get to see the anchors in HD too.
- At the very least, try the bare bones TV packages from cable companies – Verizon calls its offering Custom TV, and many companies offer these packages too. It’s basically a TV package with a small number of channels because the companies are finally realizing that they can no longer force people to pay for 150+ channels that no one watches. For those who get cold feet thinking about canceling cable outright, look into downgrading to a lower tier service and start trying out some of the services I mentioned here.
Is There Anything We Can Do with Internet?
Internet is perhaps the one service you can’t really eliminate yet, but saving money here is totally possible too.
- Scrutinize the Internet speeds – I pay $39.99 a month and it’s because I choose to only pay for up to 15 Mbps of speed. I understand many people think they need higher bandwidth, but I stream Netflix in HD quality just fine and whatever I download finishes within 10 minutes. It’s not instantaneous, but it’s very livable unless you have multiple teenagers and they do nothing but stream cat videos all day.
- Call the company to extend a new customer discount – This works everywhere unless they have the monopoly for Internet service in the area. I have a calendar reminder a week before the new customer discount is up to call them and ask for a new one, and they gladly extend the savings because they know I can just cancel service and move somewhere else. It’s a hassle, absolutely, but that’s also the best paid job in the world because it’s saving $200 after tax money for 15 minutes of work.
- Get Internet for free with FreedomPop – This really only works for select people who aren’t heavy Internet users, but I know many households that can benefit from using just the free a WiFi hotspot service at FreedomPop. If you don’t use that much bandwidth, then Internet is basically free for you. At the current rate you are still paying only $19.99 for up to 2GB of data. This setup isn’t cost effective for those who use the Internet often but like I said, there are plenty of households that can utilize this service to get an Internet connection without paying any ongoing fees.
- Cellphone companies like Republic Wireless – Another option for those who use a few gigs a month of data is by combining your cellphone plan with Internet access via companies such as Republic Wireless. You’ll use your cellphone as the WiFi hotspot (what some call tethering). Expect to pay roughly $30 to $50 a month but the cost covers cellphone service + light Internet usage at home.
What else can I say? There are tons of ways to reduce that triple play cable TV bill. What you have to decide is whether you are willing to take the time to save that cash, because the savings are there for the taking.
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