There is a lot of financial uncertainty in 2020 surrounding the Coronavirus. This has caused many consumers to take a second look at reducing their monthly expenditures especially the cable bill. So how can you reduce your cable bill in 2020?
A survey recently conducted by Consumer Reports indicated 77% of us still pay for cable or a satellite service. However, the average cable bill in the USA is up to $217 per month. This bill is higher than all other utilities combined. If you want to keep your cable, here are 8 hacks you can do right now to lower your cable bill in 2020. In no particular order, let’s go.
1) Cut Out Premium Channels
If you want to reduce your cable bill in 2020 and aren’t ready to completely cut the cord, there is a middle ground. It’s called “cord shaving”. According to a September 2016 report by Nielsen, on average, American adults get around 205 channels but only consistently watch about 20 channels. The cable companies have come to the realization consumers don’t want to spend money on 200 channels.
If you audit your TV viewing habits over time, you will probably find out you don’t need 300 channels. Trimming your cable package can save you as much as $40 per month with some providers — and you may be surprised to find out, you don’t miss the extra channels. Removing HBO could save as much as $20 off your monthly bill and getting rid of Showtime another $5 to $15 per month. If you can’t live without an epic drama like “Game of Thrones”, “Homeland” or “Jack Ryan”, remove the service, once the season concludes.
Providers such as Comcast and Verizon now give you the opportunity to lower your monthly bill by offering new skinny bundles without the premium channels costing around $50. If you switch to one of those skinny bundles, you could save over $600 a year, which is a cruise vacation. You could even use the savings to subscribe to one of the streaming services like Hulu, Netflix or Sling TV.
If you want to find alternative ways to watch TV without cable, read an earlier blog titled, how to watch TV without cable or satellite here.
2) Cut Down Cable Boxes
If you want cable in every room, it’s going to cost you. Additional cable boxes will often cost anywhere between $3 – $15 per month. Maybe you don’t want to deny your guests in the spare room the opportunity to watch TV. Lower your monthly bill by removing the cable and providing your guests a TV antenna. The best outdoor antennas will be capable of supporting 2 or more TV’s, will get the networks and give you a better picture quality than your cable or satellite provider.
3) Get Rid Of The DVR
If you missed your favorite show, watch it on-demand the next day. Getting rid of the DVR could cut $10 or more of your monthly cable bill. You could also use a standard digital receiver to record shows.
4) Bundle Cable & Internet
If you live in an area where your cable company also provides the internet service, then bundling could save you as much as $500 a year. If you do bundle, try to keep it simple. Adding premium channels or extra fast internet could defeat your initial savings.
However, the company providing your internet and cable could make it difficult for you later on when you try splitting your service. For instance, if you decide to switch your internet to a new competitor but want keep your cable subscription.
5) Negotiate A Lower Rate
Do you ever wonder why cable companies will send you all kinds of special offers as soon as you cancel your subscription? I haven’t had cable in 5 years, yet they continue to send me promotional offers. It takes quite a bit of money to send those marketing materials so it doesn’t make good business sense. If they had provided me with a more competitive subscription rate, I might still be on cable.
So what’s the bottom line? They do have the ability to offer you a lower rate but they won’t hand it to you. If you don’t ask, you won’t get. Call your cable provider’s customer service and try to negotiate a better deal. Ask to see, if there are any discounts available.
For instance, if you are a senior citizen on a fixed income, let them know your current payment is too high and they may reduce your monthly cable payments. You may not be aware, they have a lower rate for seniors.
Consumer Reports own research has found when enough customers complain, the customer service reps are given more latitude to cut deals. These deals could be in the form of fee waivers, credit or lower monthly promotional packages.
If you are given promotional monthly rate for a certain length of time, remember to mark your calendar. The rate won’t last forever so you need to know how long it will last. There is nothing worse to see your monthly bill go from $50 to over $130 with no apparent warning. Timing is critical. It’s also a good idea to call within 7 days of when your promotional pricing will end to see if there are any new deals. The only thing better than a deal, is another deal. Setting a reminder to call before it expires could save you lots of money.
6) Compare The Competitors
In large metropolitan areas, you may have multiple providers. You should be able to get a good deal when a competitor moves into your neighborhood. If so, compare their packages and rates with your current provider. Give your current provider the opportunity to match the competitor’s deal.
When I had cable, I often changed providers every year. This was also the minimum amount of time to be considered a brand new customer. There’s nothing like competition to get your cable provider in the mood to reduce your monthly bill. But be prepared to walk away if your provider refuses to match any competitor’s initial promotions.
7) Threaten To Quit
Call your cable TV company and threaten to quit. But have a backup plan. They will most likely transfer you to a customer retention department where they will want the reasons for quitting. If you tell them it’s because of the price, they may offer a special deal to retain you, especially if their switchboard is overwhelmed with unhappy customers. But then again, they may not. Are you willing to quit?
8) Cut The Cord And Stream
A very effective way to lower your monthly cable bill is to do what many others are doing and is quit it. If you cancel your cable subscription, also known as “cutting the cord” you can utilize other options.
One option, is to use an antenna for watching broadcast channels like CBS, NBC, ABC and local FOX. You could enhance the antenna option with a paid streaming service like Netflix or Hulu + Live TV. Add a free service like Tubi or Pluto to the previous options and you will wonder why you ever had cable in the first place.
The sample combination above will not only give you hundreds of channels but thousands of on-demand content. Moreover, there would be no hidden fees, equipment rentals, installation appointments or long-term contracts and the ability to cancel anytime.
Reducing your cable bill in 2020 means being your own advocate. With determination and work, you can lower your cable bill. As a consumer, always remember, you do have options.
Do you still have cable? Have you been successful in lowering your monthly bill? Let us know below.
What’s the best antenna for free TV can be watched below:
The 4 things cable companies don’t want you to know about TV antennas can be read here
If you want to buy the best outdoor antenna with a 30 day money back guarantee, you can buy it here.
How to watch TV without cable or satellite can be read here