Your cable bill may be downright outrageous depending on your package. The amount you pay monthly can cut deep into your budget and create financial hardship. Is being able to watch cable really worth the headache?
Fortunately, there are options for dealing with a high cable bill, such as cutting the cord altogether and streaming your favorite programs and movies. While this is an option, you might not be ready to say goodbye to cable—and least not yet.
If you prefer the convenience of cable, but hate the cost, here are a few tips that could help you negotiate a lower monthly cable bill.
1. Research current cable promotions and rates.
Cable provider rates can vary from year to year. And sometimes, cable companies offer lower rates and promotions to new customers as an incentive for signing up. What you probably don’t know is that some cable companies will also extend these lower rates to existing customers—but only if they ask.
To negotiate a lower cable bill, do your due diligence and research current promotional rates. You can find these rates online, or contact your cable company and ask about new customer rates. If you inform your cable company that you’re thinking about canceling and signing up with a competitor, the company might offer you a lower rate to keep your business.
2. Ask for the cancellation department.
If you can’t find information on promotions, you might still be able to get a lower bill. In this case, skip the middleman and ask to speak directly with the company’s cancellation department. Once you’re on the phone with a representative, explain that you’re seriously considering canceling your service due to higher bills.
In an effort to keep you as a paying customer, the representative might offer you a discount on services. This trick doesn’t always work on the first try because some representatives have more leeway than others. But don’t give up. If you’re not offered a discount on the first go around, call back another day and speak with a different representative.
3. Be calm during the call.
Getting mad or being difficult isn’t the way to get what you want. If you don’t keep your cool, your efforts to negotiate a lower cable bill might fail. When a representative won’t budge, politely hang up. But don’t give up on your search for a lower rate. Go back to the above tip, give it a few days and then call back. Cable promotions change quickly. So while the company might be unable to offer a deal today, they may be able to offer a deal in a few weeks. The key is persistence.
4. Don’t get fooled by freebies.
If you ask for a discount or a lower rate, the company may offer you a freebie instead, so that it feels like you’re getting your money’s worth. This might include free HBO or another premium service for a limited time.
This is tempting and it might seem like a fair trade off. Just know that if you accept this freebie in lieu of a lower cable bill, your bill will eventually go up. When the promotional period for a free premium service ends, the cable company doesn’t take away this service—they start charging you for it.
If you agree to a freebie, realize it’s only temporary and then make a mental note of when the free service expires. This way, you can cancel before you’re charged.
Negotiating a cheaper cable bill can save you money and add some wiggle room into your budget. But if you lower your bill and still experience hardship, seriously consider the benefits of streaming. Between Netflix, Hulu and other on-demand services, you can save money without missing out on your favorite shows.