10 Ways to Lower Your Cable Bill Right Now

Tips to Stop You from Overpaying for Cable TV

A picture of a mom paying her bill online
Is your cable bill out of control? Lower your cable bill and cut those unnecessary costs. JGI / Jamie Grill / Getty Images

Stop overpaying on cable and reduce your bills. Lower your cable bill with 10 money-saving tips and keep your family's money at home where it belongs.

1. Negotiate a Lower Cable Rate

The Federal Communications Commission reports cable rates have continually risen close to 150% over the past 15+ years. Lower your cable bill with some negotiation tactics.

Competition is fierce now with multiple cable operators to choose from and satellite TV providers and streaming services who would love to have your business.

A simple phone call to your cable company about your cable bill can often lead to you getting more services for less than what you're currently paying.

2. Beware of Hidden Cable Fees

All those little charges that appear on your monthly cable bill add up. Do you know where every dollar is going? Beware of cable fees hiding in plain sight because they can cost you a fortune.

Call your cable operator to talk about the fees. You may be surprised that while you've been trying to stretch your family's paycheck, you've been paying for channel packages and other non-essentials. Eliminate these unnecessary fees to lower your cable bill significantly.

3. Cut Off Channels You're Not Watching

Track your family's viewing habits for one week. Write down every channel they watch and for how long.

You'll often find you've been paying for hundreds of channels every month when your family only watches five. Take this information to your cable company to see if they'll cut you a deal on viewing packages that include your family's favorite channels but without you overpaying for the hundreds of other channels offered.

4. Bundle to Save a Bundle

If you're writing checks to the cable company, phone company and your Internet service provider each month, bundling your services may save hundreds of dollars a year. Gather your bills for cable, phone and Internet and tally them up.

Ask your cable company what bundling deals they're currently offering.

Compare the cable company's bottom line to what you're paying three separate companies to see if you're being offered a good deal. The only downside to bundling is that many cable companies require you to commit to a one-year minimum contract. But if you have no plans on leaving your cable company, bundling services can lower your cable bill to something that's more manageable for your family's budget.

5. Don't Fall for Upgrades

Special offers may promise you more channels at a discounted price but even if that price is currently lower than what your current bill is (and it usually isn't), your bill will likely go up after an introductory period.

That price hike could cost you more than you initially saved. Don't fall for upgrades that promise you more. Think about what you really need out of your cable service and make wise decisions you and your budget can live with.

6. Downsize Your Services

Tiers of service and upgrades to the next level can quickly run your bill up. It's time to downsize.

Get rid of services you're not using. This includes taking a second look at the premium channels that are costing you extra money to the super-fast Internet you're paying extra for when the basic level is nearly as fast for most home users.

7. Inspect Your Bill Each Month

Do a line-by-line inspection of the fees on your bill. Look at what's eating into your wallet with each cable bill.

A DVR in every room is nice but those sets typically cost around $10 a box. Add on taxes and associated fees and your costs are well over $100 a year. Are you renting a cable modem for Internet when you could buy one at a much cheaper rate? Fees plus taxes can make your bill soar each month.

8. Lock in a Lower Rate

When you feel you're getting a good deal, lock it in. Most customer service representatives at the cable company have the power to lock in the rate they're offering you for at least 12 months. Utility companies can sometimes do this too. You'll know exactly what you'll be paying for that term, regardless of how many price hikes the cable company inflicts on its other customers.

Just be sure to ask how much you'll be paying after the term of the deal expires or if it will be possible to renew that locked in rate later. You want to verify your bill isn't going to skyrocket.

9. Threaten to Cancel Service

Cable companies have a department set up just to keep customers from canceling. Threaten to cancel your cable service and you'll usually be transferred to the retention department. These customer service representatives have one mission: to offer you deals so good, you won't be able to go through with canceling your cable service.

Mind your manners on the phone and approach the retention department with a calm request to cancel your service. You can slash your current cable bill and get even more channels added just because the company wants to keep your business.

Another option is to call your cable company's competitors. Ask about their packages and rates. Tell them you're considering switching from your cable provider to theirs. See what deals they can offer you. Take that deal back to your cable company and ask them to beat it. Listen to what they have to say and decide if it's worth it to you to stay with your cable company or make the switch to lower your cable bill.

10. Look at Alternatives to Cable

Flat-out tired of dealing with your cable company? Used to be that cable was your only option for TV or movies.

Now you have satellite TV providers, online streaming through subscription programs and even ways to watch free TV online. With so many options, cable doesn't have to hold you captive anymore.