Your monthly bills may appear to be fixed, but they rarely are. If you’re willing, you can always find ways to reduce your expenses, especially if you’ve got the right motivation. One of these expenses is the internet/cable bill, and you have more leverage than you think in lowering this bill.
5 ways to lower your internet/cable bill
1. Assess your true need
The number of options available to us for entertainment is vast. There are hundreds of channels available, but how many do we really watch? A 2016 Neilsen study revealed that on average people watch 10% of the channels they pay for. Although they had over 200 channels to chose from, they only watch 20 of those channels.
Choosing a lower tier package with fewer channels or opting for a Netflix, Hulu, or Amazon Prime account, can significantly lower your bill. Removing or reducing the number of DVR’s or receivers, which often have a monthly cost, is another way to save. Fast internet speed is great, but you may not need the fastest speed. If you can, choose a lower speed and save.
2. Bundle and save
Combining internet and cable will save you money. Providers bundle services to encourage you to buy more of what they offer. If you’re going to want these services it makes sense to go for the bundle. Just be careful to not buy more than you need. Often these bundles have introductory rates that include premium channels. These plans will go up after a few months and most require a 1 or 2-year contract. Getting more might sound appealing, but not if you’re having to spend more.
3. Negotiate a lower price
No price is fixed. The price for any service is negotiable, and you should always ask for a lower rate, especially if you’ve been a good customer. Cable and internet providers want to keep your business. They know it takes hundreds of dollars to acquire your business and they would rather keep you, even if it’s at a lower rate than to risk losing you. However, they won’t do anything for you unless you ask!
You should negotiate your plan every year. Here are few things to get you ready to negotiate a better price.
- Be prepared. Know your charges and what the competition is offering, so you can use it to negotiate a lower price.
- Be firm, but kind, and willing to make the switch if the provider will not budge.
- Use leverage. You’re a good customer, you have other options, and you’re willing to switch if they won’t help you.
- If you don’t get a yes, ask to speak to their retention department. Yes, they have one, which should tell you how serious they are about not losing you.
- Keep the focus on lowering the bill. If the provider offers you free upgrades or extra features, say “thank you, that’s very kind, but I need to lower my bill not add additional features.”
- If you still can’t get them to lower the bill, and you want to stay, ask for a one-time credit.
4. Remove unnecessary fees
Every provider has fees. They justify them in their own way, but that doesn’t mean you should just accept and pay them. Many of these fees are add-ons that you should challenge and ask to be removed. Remember, the provider doesn’t want to lose you. If they won’t lower the price of the plan, they might be willing to reduce these fees.
Just yesterday I received my monthly electronic bill from my internet provider. It was $2 more than usual so I opened it and noticed an additional surcharge. Curious, I got on a chat with customer service to find out what it was. Before starting the chat I pulled up the last 3 statements and noticed two other charges that I hadn’t noticed before, although I’d been paying them for several months. After a 45 minute chat, I was able to get the exact same service, remove the fees and lower the bill by $14.18 per month. That’s $170.16 less per year!
5. Cut the cable
The best way to lower your internet/cable bill is not to have one. This may seem extreme, and you may not need to do this, but it’s always an option. Even if you just cut the cable and keep the internet, the saving can be significant.
I personally chose to do this 8 years ago when we moved to the house we’re living in now. My reasoning was both to save money and to limit the time we as a family were spending watching TV. I bought a cheap TV antenna and installed it in my attic to get regular channels. Later, I added Netflix. For us, it's been more than enough.
Managing your money more successfully requires a hands-on approach. You should operate on a written budget that you assess and refine at least once a year, or when a life event happens. Part of this process is to look at every expense and ask, “Should I continue spending money on this, and if yes, what can I do to lower the cost or keep it from increasing?” Then, go and refine those negotiation skills by getting a better deal.
If you have a story of how you've been able to cut cost on your monthly bills, share it in a comment. I'd love to read it.