I’m all about stretching my paycheck as far as possible each month. It’s a necessity which has also turned into a money saving game for me. One of my pet peeves is the cost of cable and satellite television and the unbelievably horrible customer service that most providers offer. If you are currently paying $50-$60 a month for 200+ channels you rarely watch did you know you have options?
Here are 3 options that will not only save you money on your cable bill but can also actually improve your programming.
If you are a TV viewer that only watches a handful of channels or shows, online viewing may be a solid option. Cancel your monthly service and watch a la carte programming on services like Hulu.com and Crackle.com. Combined, they have thousands of free movies and television programs. The only downside is they don’t carry local programming and have limited sports action. But you can often make up for this with the power of the Internet. For example, ESPN offers an online service called WatchESPN which has free online streaming available of SportsCenter and dozens of sporting events every day of the week. For local news, just go to the website of your local news stations as they typically stream their newscasts and weather reports shortly after they broadcast them.
If you are brave enough to make the “cancel call” you have a great chance of getting rewarded. This is when you call your cable or satellite provider and tell them you would like to cancel your service. They will ask you why you want to cancel. At this point you can go two different routes, either the service is too expensive, or you are going to switch to a competitor. At this point, they will typically transfer you to their customer retention department and this is where things start to get interesting. Often they will offer you everything but the kitchen sink to keep you aboard. At the very least they will offer you free movie channels. Personally, I did this a couple years ago and received $15 off my monthly bill and even got a slightly better programming package. If you are not satisfied with what they are offering you but don’t really want to cancel, just tell them that you want to think about your options and will get back to them.
Have you seriously considered cancelling your service altogether? If you do, you still have viewing options. For example, use your public library to rent DVDs for free. Almost all public libraries are stocked with hundreds of DVD movies including newer releases and tons of family movies. Also, consider RedBox where you can rent movies for $1 each. In my neck of the woods, RedBox’s are popping up all over the place, especially at Wal-Mart, 7-Eleven, and all Target locations.
Are you a current Dish Network satellite TV subscriber? Are you aware they have a “secret” programming package which is a screaming deal and not widely advertised? It’s called the “Introductory Package” and is available to all customers (not sure why they call it introductory) where you get 60 channels, including all locals in HD, for only $14.99 a month. My family has this package and it works great for us as it has a nice mix of family programming, music, news, and some sports channels.
The key to saving money on cable is actually doing something to improve your current situation. If you just keep paying the same amount month after month without considering your alternatives you are destined to overpay. When you start to do the math for an entire year you can easily overpay by $400-$500. Why not spend a little time and save a good chunk of change.
Have you used any of these techniques to lower your cable costs? If so, how are they working out?
WSL Editor’s note: with January and parts of February being dedicated to the Debt Movement where we’re helping people pay off substantial amounts of debt, I asked Kyle to write up an information post on how to save money and he didn’t disappoint! While making extra money may be a strategy you use to increase your disposable income so that you have extra money available for one of your strategies for debt reduction, another important factor is finding ways to reduce how much you spend as that also directly effects your disposable income. I wasn’t aware of this Dish Network offer…I’m going to have to look at what those 60 channels include!
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