One of the biggest annual expenses we pay for on a regular basis is on entertainment. From movies to TV shows and everything in between, we as consumers shell out hundreds, even thousands of dollars a year on just television alone. While cable is one of the easiest ways to make television available to us, it is also costly. But it doesn’t have to be.
Here are a few ways you can have a cheaper and more affordable cable bill each and every month while still being able to soak up all of your favorite shows and programming.
Why is cable so costly?
Before we dive in, it’s important to have a basic understanding of why your bill is the way that it is – one large fee for a lump service. Cable providers are –more than anything– middlemen for the television studios that produce the content that is available on your screens. The studios produce content then sell that content to the providers of your cable service. The cable services then sell that content to those who subscribe to them.
The reason cable bills are so high is due to cable companies are paying high studio costs while also trying to make a profit. Every television studio and content producer has varying costs that they charge to cable companies, with ESPN and other sports channels being at the highest cost to cable providers.
These individual cable channel cost differences are what lead to the different packages that are available to you as the cable subscriber. From packages that are basic with just regular programming channels, to the deluxe packages that include movie channels and/or sports channels, the prices you will be looking at are widespread.
The package that includes sports channels like ESPN and other official team sports channels (such as dedicated channels for the Lakers or Dodgers) cost more than a basic cable package because of the original cost to the cable provider. They need to buy the channels and sell them to you while also making a profit.
How do I get a cheaper cable bill?
And now we cut back to the matter at hand: how to reduce your standing cable bill. There are several ways in which you can make this happen, but you should know now that it will take patience, a calm temperament, and an eye on the prize of a reduced monthly bill.
Here are some tips to get that cost down:
- Research their competition.
Before you get on the phone with your provider, do your research on pricing elsewhere. Hunt around for deals that are being offered by competitors, and have those numbers ready for when you are on the phone with them. Explain that you’d like similar or better prices.
You will build more credibility with the research you present. Their job is to keep you as a client, so they will hopefully try to be helpful in making you satisfied.
- Know that they want to keep you.
The principle that “it is cheaper to keep a customer than to sign on a new one” is held fast in the realm of cable. Knowing that cable companies want to retain your business is a mindset that you can take advantage of.
NOTE: This maneuvering will require you to speak to a live person. If speaking on the phone makes you nervous, be sure to do a bit of a pep talk before you dial. You will need to put your negotiating hat on.
- Making the Call.
Call your cable provider. When the automated service asks why you’re calling, select the “cancelation” option. There is a high chance that you will be connected with a live operator whose purpose is to convince you to stay with them. This is the person you will be negotiating with.
Once connected, tell them that your bill is just too high. You may ask them to consider your history with them (hopefully one of on-time payments and longevity). Explain that you want a lower monthly rate or you will take your business elsewhere.
They may try to throw some “deals” at you like 6 months of free movie channels or a new cable box. But keep your eyes on the long-term prize: you want a lowered monthly rate.
If the person is not willing to help you and won’t budge, all is not lost. Call again until you get on the phone with somebody who is willing to hear you out. Be cordial on the phone. You will be surprised as to how much the tide can turn in your favor.
- Consider replacing cable altogether.
If all else fails after speaking to a representative, maybe it’s time to go all in and cancel. Canceling does not mean that you will be missing out on your favorite shows and programming. With streaming services being mostly up to date, you would be hard-pressed to miss an episode.
Streaming services like Hulu and Netflix are in popular demand for a good reason: they are affordable and entertaining. As for the sports channels, you can find your favorite teams playing online through streaming apps. This may be a viable option for seasonal sports fans.
Taking your viewing habits into consideration may also help when determining what services you need. Many programs are now offered on streaming services and may be more convenient for you. A little research may save you time and money.