Financial Challenge – Day 13

save money on cable

Today we’re going to stick with painless saving, but we’re going to move away from insurance for a short while (don’t worry, we’ll get back to other insurance policies in a short time) and work on some other areas where you can save money without changing your lifestyle. One of the easiest places to lower the price that you’re currently paying (without changing the service you’re currently receiving) is on cable TV or satellite TV.

The key to keeping your cable TV (satellite TV) monthly subscription charge at introductory rates is to keep your eyes open for competing offers. Your junk mail is an excellent place to find these, but also keep your eyes open in your local newspaper and local TV commercials.

Just like with the credit card company, all you need to do is ask for a better rate. It’s extremely helpful to have a specific advertisement in front of you (because your local cable TV (satellite TV) will know what the competitors are offering) so that you can show that you have been considering another offer.

find cable competing offers

When you make the call, you don’t want to be demanding or set limits that force you into cancelling if you don’t want to. Therefore, when you call, say something along the following lines:

“Hello, I came across this advertisement for XX Satellite TV that is offering a monthly subscription for $XX. Although I like my current TV, this offer is making me seriously consider switching. I was wondering if you can offer a similar price.”

This approach should work if this is the first time you are trying to lower your cable monthly rate. For those that have done it a number of times, some cable companies are becoming a bit stricter. I have one friend who insist on the way to continue to get the best price is to say you are going to cancel and if they won’t offer you a better price, cancel. Most of the time they will relent before actually cancelling and the few times they haven’t (he’s been doing this for years) he simply calls up the next day and says he’s changed his mind and wants to continue the service.

lower cable TV costs

The hardest part is actually making the call and you’ll likely feel a bit uneasy the first time (much like you did when calling the credit card companies). The plain truth is learning to make these calls will save you thousands of dollars a year and they become much easier once you’ve made a few (we will be doing more of this in future Financial Challenges too). In fact, you shouldn’t feel bad about making the call at all because the person on the other end may very well be ecstatic that you did call and even more so that they could convince you to stay. Why? Because these “last line of defense” customer service agents may receive extra bonus money if they can convince you to stay subscribed to their service. You asking for a better deal is helping put more money into their pocket, so don’t be shy and go for it.

When you do get a lower rate, it will likely only be for a few months similar to a promotional offer. If this is so, make sure to mark down on your calendar when the rate is set to go back to the standard rate so you can call again and go through the getting a discount process again.

In the time that you have set aside for today’s Financial Challenge make a call to your cable company (satellite TV company) sometime this week. If you already know of a competing offer, give the call right now. If you don’t, make sure to keep your eyes open this week and you’re likely to come across one. Once you do, make the call.

In most cases you can knock $20 or more off the monthly cost. Multiply that by 12 months and you’ve saved $240 or more that can go toward your debt reduction or simple investing plan. In fact, I did this with my mom the last time I was back in the US and we shaved $25 a month off her cable bill (from $64.95 to $39.95).

Don’t forget to check out all the other Financial Challenges to help get your finances in order.

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13 Responses to Financial Challenge – Day 13

  1. mjrube94 says:

    I recently did this with DirectTv. They knocked $10 off for 6 months, plus an extra $5 off for 3 months because I subscribe to HBO/Cinemax. In return, I had to agree to a one-year commitment, which means I’ll need to wait 12 months before having the leverage to try this again.

    Also, if you refer a friend to DirectTv, you can get a $50 credit to your account, unlimited as to the number of referrals you make. So if any of your friends/family decide to switch to get a better deal, have them go through you.

  2. Gloria says:

    This is a great idea unfortuanetly I’m too poor to have cable or anything like that, but I have done this with the internet. I saved five dollars a month and got a faster speed. Very nice:) I just wish there was a way to do this with the electricity. Is there?

  3. Hi Gloria, actually there is a way you can save money on electricity, atleast in the Bay Area. PG&E usually runs a promotion (in Summer for electricity savings and in Winter for gas) where they will give you 20% off of your next month’s bill if your usage (for 3 months during Summer and 3 during Winter) is 10% less than your usage in the same 3 months of last year.

    You may want to check this out with your utility company! There is an incentive for them to offer such savings!


  4. Linda says:

    I called my Direct Tv. They said I was only saving $3.00. But, they took off $5.00 and gave me Showtime for 6 months free.

  5. lexi says:

    What if you have basic cable, but there are no other cable companies in the area? We didn’t have cable for years and years (and got ZERO stations without it). We found we were spending money on movie rentals (still cheaper than the movies) as something to do on the weekends. I figured, if we take that movie money and pay for cable, it works out cheaper. We also got a six month introductory rate, plus, got a six month free cable internet and now have cable internet through them at about the same price as our old dial up. That was about a year ago, we are paying regular price now but that is about $50 a month for both services. Not really a bad deal, but I would love to save more! Anyone have any ideas?

  6. Heather says:

    I found that the cheapest and best option for me was to take my cable service to the most basic of basic levels (it’s $13.50/mo including tax…and I wouldn’t even do that if I got any sort of reception with an antenna in my condo) and sign up for monthly DVD mail rentals (Netflix or similar). The total cost is less than any other cable package I could find, and I can rent TV shows as well as movies on DVD and watch them at my leisure. Everyone always complains that there is nothing on their 500 channels, so why bother with full service cable at all?

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  8. anna says:

    Or you could do the unthinkable and just get rid of it. TV, I mean. Satellite, Cable… the works. When my husband and I moved to our first home, there wasn’t even an antenna hooked up (and my husband, God love ‘im, was too lazy to climb up and fix the one dangling on the roof). I suggested that we *didn’t* get TV. Oh, believe you me – the man PROTESTED. But after a few weeks, he found that we actually spent evenings talking to each other, working on projects together (it was a fixer-upper), reading Robert Fulgham books and laughing our hineys off… the savings per year were great, and you can get VHS movies for a penny on e-bay, at garage sales, and at Goodwill for evenings when you want to just watch something.

    We’ve been TV-free for almost 10 years now. ((That makes me sound old, but we started at age 23.)) We have cocoa and play cards, get in a lot more reading (if you’re a Christian or a student and complain about not having time to study, well, there it is!). I get my news off the internet… which is dial-up but works GREAT.

    I want to be a silly ad for a moment and let you know about Blockbuster on-line, too. Most people just do the in-store dealie, where you pay $15 a month and get unlimited movies with no late fees. It’s not the best deal they have. I’m a mom of three kids under 5, and zipping back and forth doesn’t save me time or gas or stress. But the on-line deal is $15, too, and you get unlimited rentals and two free in-store movies a month… and there are over 5o,000 movies to choose from (way more than the average store). You recieve them at your door, with a free mailer to send it back whenever you’re ready (no late fees) and you get them three at a time (so they’re in rotation and you’re rarely without something to watch). This is an incredible thing for us – and if you like your TV shows, you can get them thru this deal, too. ((Right now we’re doing the entire run of Alias.)) We watch over 12 movies/shows a month for $15. No gas cost, no postage cost, no late fees… And can you imagine the savings if you went in with someone on this?

    Whoops. This is one of my soapboxes, and I can’t say enough about the savings not having TV can bring – on time, on money, on brain matter… okay. Stopping now.

  9. Joy says:

    Hi! I came the site from the Carnival of Personal Finance on The Dividend Guy’s blog.
    There’s only one cable provider in my area, Cox Communications. I was paying $141 a month for bundled digital cable, digital phone and cable Internet. I called to cancel once, telling them it was just too expensive, and the guy gave me an out of sight promotional rate — I paid $58 the following month. I called again, but the next few people I spoke to didn’t seem to care about my threat to cancel. I eventually canceled digital cable and the phone, because I’m trying to pay off cc debt and just couldn’t justify that enormous cable bill.

  10. davis says:

    I find the best way to make this work is to find cable promotions if you have satellite TV and satellite TV promotions if you have cable. I swear the two hate each other with a passion and they will do almost anything to keep you from going to the other side.

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