Save Money on Your Television Bill

December 1, 2008

Watching TV is a favorite past time of many people in the US, the problem is your television bill can get expensive quickly if you’re not careful about managing your TV costs.  Here are some tips to help you save money on TV:

Bundle Your Cable Services

Many companies run $99 dollar promotions to bundle your cable, broadband internet, and voice-over IP phone.  This is usually a better deal than just buying the cable and internet separately from the cable company.  However, make sure you ask how long the promotion lasts for, because at the end of the promotion, the price will revert back to the full amount for all three services.

Call the Sales Department

I have found that with cable companies, the opposite is true when it comes to getting a deal.  Most companies offer their best promotions if you sign up online, but some cable companies offer better promotions if you call their customer service line.  Ask for the sales or promotions department, and these service reps usually have a great deal outo offer for new customers.

Check on Promotions

Many companies will offer their promotions to existing customers, but you need to call and request it.  They won’t offer it to you, but the power of ASKING is a beautiful thing.  Ben recently saved quite a bit on his Comcast cable bill with the Double Play promotion.

Consider The Dish

I am not a big fan of satellite dishes, because their service is spotty during rain storms.  Living in Florida, we get a ton of rain and lightning, so I have always sided with traditional wired cable, but satellite dish companies are desperate to convert traditional cable users to dish users.  You can really wheel and deal with these companies, and their monthly prices are cheaper.  Make sure you get a free dish to use.  You shouldn’t have to buy or rent one.  Remember, they’re desperate to gain market share from cable companies.

Say No to Extras

Cable companies can really nickle and dime you.  Stay away from the expensive premium cable packages that include movie channels you’ll hardly ever watch.  I have DVR and I love it, so I’d be a hypocrite to tell you to cut down on that, but it’s only $9 extra a month with Brighthouse.  Some cable companies charge much more. 

If you are computer savvy, you can skip on can the cable company’s DVR and set up your own on your computer.  For about $50 dollars, you can buy a TV tuner for your PC, hook a cable line up to it, and watch/record television on your computer.  If you have a DVD burner already in your PC, then you can record shows and burn a DVD to watch on your big screen.  It’s a great way to save the $10 a month renting one from your cable company.  Tivo is also an option, but it’s a much higher upfront cost of about $300.

What other strategies do you use for saving money on TV?

Ben

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Ben

Ben Edwards, the founder of Money Smart Life, saved up enough to buy a Nintendo back when he was 12 years old. When he used the money to buy shares of Wal-Mart stock instead, he knew he wasn’t like the other kids… His addiction to personal finance has paid off for his family and now he’s helping you to afford the life that you want. Check him out on the web at Google Plus, Twitter and Facebook.


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Comments

10 Responses to Save Money on Your Television Bill

  • Rod Potter

    I got sick of paying over $200 a month on my cable bill. As a owner of a small video production company, I decided to look for some solutions that help me save money on Tv, Internet, home phone and Dvr services using the latest technology on the market. Thanks, Rod

  • Dan

    My wife and I dropped our premium channels and just have basic cable and internet service via Comcast. We’re saving $100 a month and not missing a thing. The kids can watch their favorite shows on PBS and Netflix and I can get ESPN on my Xbox 360. Why don’t more people take advantage of this?

  • marci

    My strategy is not to have tv at all – 18 yrs now.
    That has really saved a bundle!

  • Joshua @ AccountableLiving

    I priced out our cable company in a bundled package versus independent vendors for each service……. and the independent vendors won. So, even though there are more bills, we have Dish ( which actually has been fabulous with little to no down time in 2 years ), Communist Cast ( the monopoly at large ) for cable internet, and a great little VOiP provider, ViaTalk, for our phone lines. All in all, it costs me about $10 less this way than by going bundled. Has anyone else found this to be the case?

  • sara l

    We do everything listed in your article except for the computer DVR. I’d love to cut the $10 a month but the DVR is so worth it. I love watching things on my schedule and saving time (and likely money) by fast forwarding through commercials.

    @MoneySavingLawyer, I’d be very interested in the PVR info

  • MoneyGrubbingLawyer

    You can do quite well by watching what specials and packages competitors are offering, and then calling your own provider to see if they’ll match, sort of a combination of your second and third point. Very often, they’ll meet or beat the other offers.

    The PVR has been my biggest way of saving money, as it allowed me to cut back on my cable package while making sure I always have something good to watch. I did a “homebrew” PVR using an old laptop and a tuner card. It allows me to watch programs on my TV with full DVR functionality, without having to pay any subscription fees. I had done a write-up about this previously on my blog- if you’re interested, let me know and I’ll share the link.

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