How to Lower Your Cable or Satellite TV Bill

DisableMyCable.com is mainly devoted to alternatives to cable TV and satellite.  However, even I have to admit that for some people, cable and satellite are the only options.  You might live far from TV transmitters.  Or, you might be a sports fan who wants to see teams other than the home teams broadcast on your local stations.  In these cases, you probably need cable or satellite.

But, all is not lost.  You can still negotiate to lower your monthly cable/satellite/Internet/phone bill, sometimes with no decrease in channels or services!

1. Cut the Extras

First, scan your bill and look for any premium services that you don’t need like movie channels, DVR, and so forth.  If you can live without these, cut ‘em.  Are you paying to get cable on additional TVs in your home that could be using an antenna?

Do you really still need a landline when you are also paying for a cell phone?  See if eliminating it will lower your bill (on the other hand, sometimes keeping services will actually result in a lower bill, see below).

With Internet access, there are often unpublicized cheaper plans if you can accept slower download speeds.  I know that doesn’t sound appealing, but going from 30Mbps to 20Mbps is not really noticeable for people doing normal things like normal web surfing and watching online videos.

2. Eliminate Rental Fees

Some cable companies charge you to rent a cable TV box, remote control, or Internet modem.  Check your bill for any rental fees.  If you don’t have premium channels, and you own a modern flat-screen TV, you can often just plug your cable directly into your TV with no cable TV box, eliminating the rental fee for the box and remote.  Just try it out to be sure before turning in your cable TV box.

I was able to purchase a cable modem for my Internet access from Amazon for $70, thus avoiding a $6 monthly rental fee!  Other companies may charge even more.

3. Bundle

If there are services like land line, Internet, and cable TV that you really do need, but are getting from different companies, you can often save big if you get all of these services from the same company. 

One reader reported that her cable company was giving her basic cable TV for free with purchase of cable Internet.

Here is one ludicrous example.  I called Verizon to try to lower my DSL bill.  They said I could lower it by bundling a landline with it.  I didn’t need the land line, but it was cheaper to get it and just not use it!  The catch is that the rate could go up later to more than what you are paying now, so be sure to ask about the “fine print” and any future cost increases before doing this option.

4. Ask for Promotional Deals and Discounts

I know people who’ve gotten special discounts simply by calling the cable company and asking for them.  The only catch was that the rate was “promotional” and would only last six months.  But, the salesman said all they would have to do is call again to re-activate the rate.  Yes, calling every six months is a pain, but the savings add up!

5. Look at the Competition

Take note of competitors’ rates before calling your cable/satellite company and ask them to match it.

6. Threaten to Leave

I saved the most effective tactic for last.  When I told my cable company that I wanted to cancel my service, they offered me a $15 discount on my monthly bill if I would stay with them for another year.  You can simply call and say “I need to find a way to lower my cable TV bill or else I’ll have to cancel it.”  This doesn’t always work, but it doesn’t hurt to ask.  If no dice, you can simply say “ok, I’ll think about this”, and hang up without actually canceling.  Wait a month and try again.

Hope these ideas will help you save on your next cable or satellite bill!  Give us your ideas, or tell us about your experiences below! – Brian

7. Become a Seasonal Customer

One of my readers told me that all he needs cable TV for is sports. Therefore, he signs up at the beginning of each season, and drops it at the end of the season. Each time, he gets a low promotional rate. There may be a limit to how many times you can do this, but it might work for a while!

What ideas do you have to cut the cost of cable TV? – Brian

  • Lori

    Tried the option of plugging the cable right into our TV, which really works! However, we can’t figure out how to select channels. The keypad on the TV remote won’t bring up a channel. We can access a “channel list” but the numbers don’t correspond to the channel numbers we’re used to through our cable company (increments of decimals – 2.1, 2.2, 2.3, etc). And it looks like there are only the broadcast stations, not all the cable channels we’re currently paying for. Is that what happens when you plug the cable straight into the TV?

    • Hi Lori,

      It sounds like the cable you plugged into your TV is from a broadcast TV antenna, not the cable company. Are you sure it is the cable from the cable company?

      Best,
      Brian

  • james

    great stuff

  • Sammyp245

    I’m a long-term customer of Direct TV. All the features. For at least 9 years. NFL season pass – the whole nine yards. Recently, DirecTV has updated firmware in their Genie receivers. While there are multiple variants of what is called a Genie, the HR34 is out there in considerable numbers. AND – the bottom line is – it is a pig. This latest software update has made the HR34 near useless. Tens of seconds to do a simple channel change.

    DOnt take my word for it. There is an entire discussion group on it back on the DTV web site. You’ll see the problems that really good customers of DTV are going thru to simply change channels. Oh – and that protection plan??? – is useless.

    This is NOT a bitch session – – this is simply a warning to anyone thinking about purchasing Direct TV.

    Details here –

    http://forums.directv.com/message/11320422?et=watches.email.thread#11320422

    • Hi Sammyp245,

      Thanks for the info!

      Brian

  • Elizabeth

    I can help lower your bill with DirecTV or Dish. I can also help with Charter, Time Warner, AT&T, Hughes Net etc. Email me at 1stchoicesolutions2015@gmail.com.

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