What if I told you I saved $720 this year on my cable bill, kept the same channels, increased my internet speed and wait for it…
stayed with the same cable company!!
If that doesn’t sound good enough, it gets better; all of it took me just an hour of work. It took 15 minutes of research, 20 minutes in the car and 25 minutes in the store.
Whenever you read about cutting your budget you inevitably read how we should drop our overrated cable package and save hundreds. Seems a bit drastic, doesn’t it?
Here is a little secret that may apply to many of you. When services get more expensive the cable company will have no trouble letting you know and increase your bill. When services get cheaper however, they gladly keep you at the high rate you are now. Clearly they’re not in the business of giving money away. If you know what to ask however, they seem to offer you very little resistance. As a matter of fact the cable company representative was very happy helping me get my bill down. He did it with a smile.
So how did I do it? Well it discovered this by accident. When I was looking at cutting cost, we considered dropping the cable altogether and switch to an entirely online buffet of Netflix, Amazon prime and whatever else was available for free. We even installed one of those HD antennas to get the basic channels really for free (mixed results). There were however some shows we really couldn’t (or wouldn’t want to) do without. Like many sports fans can’t do without ESPN (the one channel that drives up cable prices up the most) we are very fond of the Daily show and (may it rest in peace) the Colbert Report. Then of course there is some of the Syfy content I personally really can’t do without.
So instead of dropping cable altogether I looked into how I could lower my bill. You’re bill, hmm, when was the last time you actually look at the details of that. Haven’t we all gone green? I still actually received the paper bill but since I’m on auto pay didn’t look at it much. All I noticed was how my automatic payments slowly kept creeping up.
We got our cable package the day we moved into our house in Wisconsin, which happened to be some 7 years ago. Our bill was comprised of the following:
Basic Service: 24.50
Standard Service: 51.49
HD Plus: 6.95
HD DVR converter: 10.00
DVR Service: 12.99
Cable Card: 2.50
1 Cable Card: 2.50
Standard Internet: 49.99
Turbo Boost Internet 15mbps: 10.00
Along with taxes and fees that ended up a little over $183 per month for onscreen entertainment. I’m an avid Tivo™ fan so that explains the two cable cards. The DVR was for the basement (in case of storm and tornado emergencies).
Now this is where the dirty little secret comes into play. When I looked online to see what the cable company had to offer, I could not help but notice that none of the packages on my bill still existed.
I was paying $6.95 for an HD plus package that has long since become part of the standard offering.
Basic and Standard service no longer existed and were rolled into a much cheaper package, offering the same channels for less.
I was paying a $10 boost fee to get my internet up to 15mbps (that is megabytes per second) when the standard internet service now started at 15mbps. The boost package now went up to 20Mbps.
Oh and that DVR in the basement for emergency services in case of a tornado hadn’t been turned on for some time and when I did turn it on I was given the message that it had been disconnected due to lack of use.
Did the cable company provide me the 20Mbps? No, they left my service at 15Mbps and gladly kept charging me the $10 booster fee. Did they stop charging me for the DVR service when they did turn it off? You can guess the answer. Is that wrong? Probably. Can you blame them? We probably should.
The Cable Company is in the business of making money and although customer loyalty means a lot to many other businesses, we all know we have few other places to go when it comes to cable (other than dropping it altogether).
So with my dusty disabled DVR under the arm I went off to the Cable store, stood in line 5 minutes and was subsequently greeted with a smile and was offered all the assistance one could need.
“Sir, I see you’re still on the old channel packages. We can offer you our new cable package for $59.95. It offers the same channels you already have”. That is $22.95 less then what I was paying.
“We’ll be happy to take the DVR back from you. There is no point in paying for it if you don’t use it”. HD DVR Converter, gone. DVR Service, gone. Another $22.99 I no longer have to pay.
“Basic Internet is $39.99 nowadays, so let’s switch your $49.99 standard Internet to the $39.99”. Another $10 per month saved.
I ask him about the turbo boost fee of $10 per month that provides me the same speed as their standard internet. “Hmm, interesting, it looks like you’ll have to call technical support on this one. Would you like to keep your turbo boost?”.. Well yeah, if you actually boost it.
I did keep the boost as we stream quite a bit. A 15 minute call with support got me on the 20Mbps stream (matter of flipping a switch somewhere).
So here we are. I went from a monthly cable bill of $184 to a new cable bill of $124 a month, and in the process I actually managed to boost my internet from 15Mbps to 20Mbps.
I realize not all of us can do without the DVR but most of my saving did not come from handing in equipment. If you need emergency reception in your basement, don’t get a second DVR, just get one of those HD antenna and if need be a $20 tuner.
Here is where you can start. If you haven’t changed your cable package in more than a couple of years I strongly recommend you take a closer look. Look at the offerings on your bill and compare them to what is available today on your cable providers website. You might be surprised at what you find.
It saved me $60 per month which is $720 per year. All it took was about an hour of effort.
I call that easy money.
In my book I talk about how we cut over $20,000 from our expenses annually, this was just one of them.
Good luck reaching your financial goals.