11 Ways to Save on Cable, Internet, and Phone
If you're searching for ways to cut that moving budget, your digital service bundles are a great place to start. Fees add up quickly, so make sure to do some research in advance. Updater users can use our Moving Concierge to help with this or simply check out our top list of pointers for cutting back:
1. Reduce what you actually need.
If you only want main network television, skip the full cable package from a provider and purchase an indoor TV antenna or your own cable modem.
Modern day "rabbit ears" will give you free access to basic cable, cost under $10, and will at least get you the major TV can't-miss events (like the Super Bowl or the Grammys).
Or, if you rent a modem every month (probably around $10/month), it may be worth it to purchase your own modem, call your cable company to activate and start using it immediately. By eliminating the rental fee, you can recover the cost of the modem within a year or even less.
2. Cut TV altogether.
It's gutsy if you love your couch, but it can be done. What you want to do is make a list of your favorite movies and shows, and then figure out how you can watch which ones without an actual cable package. Options include Hulu, Wii, Xbox, Roku, AppleTV, Netflix and more.
You can also try Sling. If you currently have 300 channels, but only watch about 20 of them, Sling TV is for you. With Sling, you can live stream 20 channels (including CNN, The Food Network and ESPN) and movies for only $20/month.
3. "I only need Netflix."
If you've ever said this, then drop everything else and only keep Netflix! It's only $8-12/month and you can binge watch all the new series as well as thousands of movies.
4. Cancel your extras.
If you're paying for the most internet bandwidth and speed, consider whether you really need it. Do you work from home? If so, maybe you do need it. If you only casually browse the web for an hour a day, you probably don't. If you frequently stream movies, maybe you need it.
You can measure your internet speed as part of "doing your homework" to prepare for the cancellation conversation on Speedtest.net.
5. Switch providers.
Probably the most logical tip on this list, simply switch providers and ask if there are any first-time customer rates or view current promotions on the provider's website. It's tough to estimate the bill after taxes and setup fees, so be sure to ask!
6. Hang out at the library.
Most public libraries allow you to browse the internet for free and check out free full-length movies/DVDs. If you want to call the library home, you could probably get away with nixing your digital package altogether.
A more healthy alternative to spending your life in the library would be to trade library time for other popular locations that offer complimentary high-speed internet. Think about coffee shops, libraries, airports, restaurants, and more.
7. Put your tablet to work.
It's not outrageous to think that you could possibly trade your TV bill for a tablet with Wi-Fi access. Why not watch/stream TV through your tablet instead of paying for a full cable package? Many of your favorite channels even offer iPad and Android apps to check out the lineups and stream live.
Put that iPad retina screen to work with your favorite apps including Netflix, Hulu, Crackle, Amazon Prime Video, HBO GO, Plex, Aereo, Elgato EyeTV and Sling.
8. Switch your landline to VoIP.
Nix your landline from your digital bundle once and for all by switching to a VoIP number that allows you to make and receive calls through your internet connection. Most phone and cable companies offer unlimited local and long distance packages starting at $9.95/month.
Remember to ask your rep if your VoIP number will call 911 and keep in mind, your phone won't work during a power outage.
9. Ditch your landline altogether.
You're likely already paying for a cell phone plan, is it fully necessary to have two numbers? You'll have one less bill to pay and can answer all calls (including your home phone calls) on the go. Be careful to check your minute restrictions before choosing this path.
The first step to negotiating your bill down is to "do your homework," says Christopher Voss, a 24-year hostage negotiation veteran of the FBI.
Have a recent bill in front of you so you know what you're talking about. Voss recommends knowing how your current package is priced compared to the price your company offers new customers. Be kind to your customer service representative and cite the other providers and packages by name to see what you can get.
11. Negotiate often.
Let's say that you successfully reduce your bill by a few bucks per month. Set a calendar reminder for your future self to do this again in 6 to 9 months. Even if the company only ends up reducing your bill by a few more dollars, every penny counts.
Reducing your digital bills can be easy, you just have to know where to start!