What to Do If Your Cable TV Bill is Too High

by AJ Pettersen · 337 comments

cable tv

Cable companies are a supreme example of a natural monopoly. They’re the easiest example for economics professors to use, because, due to structural conditions, only a few competitors can exist in any cable market. Often, there is only one option that consumers can choose. The consumer has no leverage and is thus at the mercy of the cable company.

Over the years, the price of cable has increased significantly. Luckily, other forms of technology and media have grown as well, leading to a shift in favor of the consumer.

If your cable bill is too high, you now have options. 

how to cut your tv billNetflix and Hulu Plus

The internet age has opened the door to new companies, such as Netflix streaming and Hulu Plus, to compete with cable companies.

Netflix offers a wide selection of movies and TV shows, while keeping their price low ($7.99/month). They offer full seasons of TV shows, movies, and HD quality video. While Netflix doesn’t offer a lot of newer shows, they make up for it with quality streaming and a huge array of movies. One account can have up to six devices, with up to four running at once. You can even split the cost among friends and family, which will reduce the price even more. I have had Netflix for over a year now and have been very satisfied.

For the same price as Netflix, Hulu Plus offers a similar platform with a different approach. Hulu Plus puts new episodes of shows on their site the day after they’re aired. My future sister-in-law and her husband have recently dropped cable in favor of Hulu Plus. They can now watch their favorite shows the day after they’re aired, for a fraction of the cost of cable and DVR.

Dish Network

The likes of Dish Network and DirecTV have been competing with the cable companies for a while, and they generally offer lower prices. My fiancé and I currently pay $50 a month for her cable bill, while Dish Network and DirecTV offer yearly contracts for $35/month and $30/month, respectively. For us, getting a dish is out of the question, because she lives in an apartment.

It could be a good option for homeowners, though, as they’ll get a full set of channels and could save a couple hundred dollars per year.

Call Customer Service

Sometimes, a call to customer service is enough to drop your monthly bill. If you look at the current Verizon FiOS promotion codes or AT&T U-Verse coupon codes, you’ll see that the bundle prices are usually guaranteed for one to two years. After that, the cable companies are free to raise their rates considerably.

If you call and say you’re considering switching companies, however, they’ll frequently offer you a “one-time” special offer. This may seem like a backwards approach, but I’ve seen it work numerous times.

What Will You Do?

Is cable best for you? Spending $600 a year on cable is less than ideal, but it’s what my fiancé and I decided was right for us in our current situation. In the future, when we’re both working longer hours, we may consider switching to something different.

Thanks to advances in technology, we now have the ability to make choices about the way we consume our entertainment.

Use your free market power and shop for what is best for you.

How have you cut your cable TV costs? 

Money Saving Tip: An incredibly effective way to save more is to reduce your monthly Internet and TV costs. Click here for the current AT&T DSL and U-VERSE promotion codes and promos and see if you can save more money every month from now on.

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  • Rita Meloy says:

    Working with your Cable TV does not work, they may through you a bone by giving you the current promotion which ends in a year and then you are back to square one and may even have added services you did not really need all because it was a promotion. At least for me there is no other options available other than Optimum. I have Verizon behind me and across the street but no on my block. In article you mention, $600 a year on cable which would be great, cable prices are at a record high, It costs me $1,700 a year and that is with cable, internet and phone for the last five plus years. Much more than my yearly electric or even heating bill. No one of from the FLA has ever set guidelines. Consumer has no rights. Seems that when the cable companies can’t hike up prices (which they do almost every year) they then include fees, i.e. Network Enhancing Fee, TV broadcast Fee, Regional Sports Fee, (I don’t even watch sports), Premium Service Fee, but still have to pay for it. Then there is the Rental Fee for their boxes and remotes and don’t forget the Modem Rental Fee. When they started, there was nothing like this, all these costs were in the Package Price. But not anymore. I am surprised people are not fed up and telling them to go to hell, but in this day and age, most people cannot do without, especially internet and believe me the cable companies know this. I just don’t understand why the NY Public Service Commission, FLA and FCC do not help the consumer. Really makes me think that the Cable companies have them in the POCKETS.

  • Anthony Kelker says:

    The trick to keeping your cable TV or satellite bill low is to try and work with your provider to adjust your price. If multiple attempts fail, search for a more affordable provider.

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