Budgeting is always tough, especially when it looks like you might have to cut some of your favorite activities out of the mix. Before you think about putting the joy of cable television on the chopping block, consider the multiple options you have for getting a discount on your monthly bill. Television is a uniquely useful resource for news and entertainment, so finding a way to manage your bill offers a more rewarding alternative to unplugging your TV outright. Whether you’ve got a silver tongue or a bit of technical savvy, there’s a way to make cable TV work on your budget. The trick is knowing what you want, who to talk to to get it and how to approach conversation.
Dodge monthly fees by buying a modem
More cable packages require a cable modem than ever before and the average American with a cable package pays a rental fee to use the cable company’s equipment. Prices only range from $4 to $8 a month, but add up quickly throughout the year. Plus, these fees are frequently subject to increases when cable companies review their pricing schemes. That’s why Time recommended homeowners invest in their own cable modems and stop renting the devices from the company.
Homeowners who invest in a cable modem of their own will see a full return on their investment in just a few months and then have an opportunity save between $50 and $100 dollars each year as long as they have their bundle. Most providers even host a list of compatible brands and models on their website, making it a breeze to find a third-party cable modem that allows you to watch your favorite shows without interruption. You may need to do a bit of research to ensure you can set up your new modem on your own.
Sit down and negotiate with your provider
At the end of the day, cable companies are in the business of keeping their customers and are often willing to go out of their way rather than see a reduction in their subscription numbers. This creates a bit of leeway for homeowners to negotiate a better deal, especially when a short-term promotion comes to an end or an enticing new offering has just been made available. Achieving a cheaper bill will require a bit of negotiation, but the right attitude and a bit of persistence will go a long way toward helping you get what you want. You must remember, however, that there’s no magical formula to getting a better deal. You’ve got to be willing to try and fail and try again if you want to avoid paying full price for your cable bundle.
MarketWatch warned that coming into the phone call fuming won’t get you any favors. Neither will an extended sob story. Attitude is everything when you ring up the cable company, and getting the person on the other side of the phone on your side will make it considerably easier to find yourself a cheaper deal on your cable bundle. Even when threatening to quit the service, doing so in a conciliatory way or stressing that you could and would stay with the company for a more reasonable price can help you get the lower monthly price you’re seeking. If all else fails, consider switching your service over to enjoy another company’s introductory rate. You can always hit up your initial provider for a better deal somewhere down the line.
Research streamlined skinny bundles
Whether you’re interested in having a bit of extra negotiating leverage when you ring up the cable company or you’re simply interested in lowering the amount of channels you have to flip through, you’re in luck. Cable companies have made “skinny” bundles more available to customers over the past year to deal with the changing needs of their customers.
“TV lovers can tailor their television to seasonal interests.”
CNET pointed out that one leading provider is now offering a combination of a base package, containing popular cable network and local channels, with swappable packs of 10-20 extra channels. By allowing customers the ability to change which channels they have access to throughout the year, TV lovers have the ability to tailor their television subscription to their seasonal interests.
Not all companies are in the business of making their skinny bundle as accessible to customers as possible. You may need to do a bit of research on the company’s current promotions or ask a few neighbors about their experience negotiating for a smaller bill in order to track down the right package. The extra leg work may seem a bit daunting, but knowing the facts will make it much more difficult for cable providers to rebuff your requests for a cheaper monthly bill.