It’s time for a little self-reflection.
Take a look in the mirror and ask yourself these three highly important questions:
If you’ve found viable answers to these questions, then, CONGRATULATIONS! You’ve undergone a thorough self-investigation, self-assessment, and self-evaluation. Fancy terms, I know.
In other words, you’ve just had a pep-talk with yourself and found out the easiest means to reduce your bills, i.e. by altering your consumption habits. Yes.
Change begins at home, after all.
The cable and internet companies create these ‘lettered in gold’ service plans to entice the customers. It’s only a textbook business tactic. Most of these packages include blazing fast 100 Mbps internet speeds and more than 125 TV channels plus live streaming options if you bundle. A proper billboard for the passersby to look at and feel influenced from, right?
You’ve been a user of such services for a long time now, as have I.
But, you might have felt what Greg McBride of Bankrate.com says that the "juice” is oftentimes not “worth the squeeze."
Or, in other words, what you get in the end is actually not worth the trouble. Do you agree?
So, what are you to do?
Yes! It’s time to take a knife to your current cable and internet bills and see what you can cut down. You can survive on much little than what you pay for at the end of the month. Trust me.
Like, a minimum 20 to 25 Mbps internet connection will be good enough for you, if you don’t play a lot of online games (requiring 3 Mbps min.) or stream a lot of Netflix (requiring 5 Mbps min.) or even live in a household of multiple users.
Other than that, your TV habits can be tuned down too. Tell me this: How much do you actually watch TV in a day? Do you see all the shows on HBO and other premium channels 24/7? If not, then why pay for them?
Thus, with a conscious prioritizing, you can cut back on your digital services usage and actually save a lot of bucks in the process. Cool, right?
It’s a mistake if you’re leaving the service provider out of the money-saving equation. Yup.
This sole entity can make or break your entire budget. Yup.
So, you have to be absolutely careful when you subscribe to such an organization for your connectivity services. Yup.
How am I so sure?
Because my wife and I suffered the long end of it.
We moved into a new neighborhood. And I’ll be honest with you, we had no idea about the providers and the kind of cable/internet services we’d get in this new area. Everything had happened so fast, and the change itself was terrifying. I’m sure you can relate to that.
So, we went ahead with what our neighbors recommended (opted for the worst deal by the worst provider btw) and ended up digging a sizeable hole in our savings. That left us crestfallen.
What we should have done is what I’m going to tell you now. That is, followed the steps mentioned below. I’m sure you will succeed where we failed and save where we lost.
Being a buyer, and being an informed buyer are two different things. You have to admit. Knowledge is power. So, the more information you have about what you want and what’s out there, the better you’ll be able to cut a beneficial deal. Thus, set criteria for the services you’d be requiring beforehand like the smarty pants you are. Like:
Once you have set criteria about the type of cable TV and/or internet services you’ll be needing, the next step is to dive headfirst into the research mode.
Don’t be afraid to explore different channels. Your goal is to hunt for that one perfect provider in your area. Nothing else matters. You can:
If you’re a new customer, the ISPs and cable companies will offer you glittering introductory deals, which regular customers might not be able to see. If you’re a regular one, go incognito on your browser, so you don’t miss out on any of the new stuff.
Covert, I know. :3
One of the best ways to check out the most reliable service providers and the coolest deals being offered in your area is by using the zip search tools that are available online. Like, the ‘In My Area’ one. Yes, I was intentionally saving this for the last, because it’s a ready solution that cuts down your effort, which is not something I’d recommend.
You should leave no stone unturned until you find an ideal cable/internet service provider for yourself.
Once you do, hold on to them. That is what my wife and I are doing now. It’s our success story. Adversity brought this wisdom to us, which we’re sharing with you.
Hope you benefit from it and prevent thousands of bucks from going down the drain.
Let me introduce you to Sheila.
Sheila is a makeup novice, who is well on her way to becoming an Instagram influencer. A few weeks ago, she was looking for new makeup products to modify her collection. In the flow, she stumbled upon a popular online marketplace, which had all the product types she needed. But, there were so many varieties and brands that she had trouble choosing. What do you think she did?
Started the gladiator games, that’s what! I’m not even kidding.
She strictly compared and contrasted the products.
Put the contenders in a battle and saw which ones survived.
Then, she handpicked the winners and clicked the ‘buy’ button.
It’s as simple as that. Most importantly, she had a clear idea of what she basically wanted to support her through all this.
You can make Sheila your inspiration when you go out and search for the perfect deal on your chosen provider’s page. Browse through the cable TV and internet options, and select the ones of your liking. The ones that suit your budget and needs.
A la carte is a French term, which literally means ‘choosing separately’. Like when you go to a restaurant and order individual dishes instead of a full course meal. That’s what it is. ‘Bundle’, on the other hand, is a preset meal.
So, you can either order individual digital services, usually referred to as single play plans, like internet-only or cable-only, which admittedly cost more if you don’t haggle carefully. Or, you can bundle the services together and save more, which doesn’t work unless you NEED both the services in an equal ratio.
There’s a catch to both. Make your decision wisely. If it were up to me, I’d go for a la carte, depending on my usage. You can go for bundles if you live in a big household.
This is the point of coverage.
In a basic TV package, you’ll get a smaller channel selection and a few elementary features, which will be able to satisfy you if you’re going on a budget.
Premium, however, refers to those high-priced, on-demand, pay-per-view and exclusive channels, like Starz, Showtime or HBO, which are not covered by your local broadcast, and which obviously cost much more.
Internet-wise, a basic package would offer relatively less Mbps speed than a premium one.
So, if you’re trying to save, I’d say go for the basic. The rest is up to you.
One thing about freebies: They’re only free FOR A TIME, after which they resume their regular pricing and put a sneaky toll on your monthly bills, without you even knowing. These can be anything from the FREE DVR boxes (ranging up to $10.95 a box a month!) to the FREE Wi-Fi options ($15 or more per month!).
You have to be especially wary of these.
Then, there are the free service upgrades. My cousin Bob did this trick. He asked for an increase in the internet speed instead of the freebie that was offered to him. And he was all for the better.
Some people say that you should learn to love lock-ins as they’ll protect you from unpredictable (and often inevitable) price surges. Others disagree by saying that a closed contract binds you to one thing, which you might not even like after a time, and carries an early termination fee (the dreaded ETF!) which is enough to blow your mind, so you should stay flexible.
I, however, prefer a moderate approach.
Staying locked in a contract for six months to one-year is acceptable. Longer than that, and you’ll miss out on new promotions and packages. The middle way’s the best way, after all.
So, be clever and know your power.
Create a deal where you find none. Do all of this before you actually contact the provider(s).
Get ready for an analogy.
Horse-riding. It’s not for the weak-hearted, they say. And for the better too. One minute, you’re soaring through the green fields with the wind rushing through your hair. The next minute, you touch a wrong spot and (WHAM!) you are on the ground with your face covered in dirt.
Extended services are like that risky ride. To be precise. They’re offered in all smiles, and go on well for a time, until they turn out to bite you in the behind, all of a sudden. What does it teach you? That it’s better that you steer clear of them.
How? Check out these three easy ways.
When you subscribe to an internet package, a modem will be included in that. Now, that modem is not given out to you for free. It may be free of charge for a time. But not indefinitely. Usually, it is RENTED to you for around $10.95 per month. This is a rough estimate.
Multiply this small-seeming price by twelve and you have around $130 or more for a year which you waste away in bills. Imagine the preposterousness!
Remedy this, dear reader.
Buy your own modem beforehand, which will cost you $150 or so. A one-time price is way better than what the cable/internet company will charge you on a regular basis.
You will come across a clause mentioning an ‘activation fee’ when you check out the contract for your desired cable and/or internet service. It’ll be mentioned in a small font. Look at it carefully and then reject it.
Install your own equipment instead of having the professionals do it for an extra charge. Follow the DIY tutorials online and save money!
Time puts a rust on everything. Unless you’re super careful.
Keep your equipment tidy, well-oiled and clean, and you will not have to change it. Changing costs money, and money is what we’re essentially trying to save.
So, by following these methods, you can avoid any extended costs and lower your cable and/or internet bills.
Peter Anderson of ‘Bible Money Matters’ has a lesson for us all:
“Promotions and deals always exist, you just have to know when, how and whom to ask.”
Yes, the way you make the first contact with the provider of your choice lays the groundwork for what’s going to follow. If you keep on digging in one place, you might end up with nothing but more piles of dirt. So, multitask and dig at different sites. By a stroke of luck, you’ll land upon something solid. By that I mean, the most amazing deal to ever suit your budget.
Let’s see what worked for Peter.
At first, Peter went on the selected provider’s site (Comcast, in his case).
He sifted through the promotions and the discounts available there and found out that the best deal they had to offer on the website was a cable TV subscription amounting to $49.99 per month for the first six months, including the price for the DVR rental. After the closing of the said period, the price would revert to the usual $69.99.
NOT GOOD ENOUGH AT ALL!
Time to try a different approach.
Next, Peter called the company directly and had a talk with the phone agents. Like the rest of us, he was hoping to get some more out of the deal. Push harder.
The phone agents only repeated what he had seen on the website. On further persistence, they melted enough to offer him a half-off the DVR rental, which would bring his total down to $36.99 per month for the first six months.
So, he called another agent, but to no avail.
He decided to try a different channel.
With a little disappointment settling in, Peter tried the third method of contact.
He went on the provider’s page and clicked on the support section. Immediately, he was transferred to the ‘sales chat’.
He told the agent what he wanted, and what he knew others had managed to get:
A started deal on cable TV amounting to $29.99 per month for a whole year with a half-off on DVR.
To his surprise, the support agent agreed. Yay!
Once he saw the flexible leverage, he decided to ask for more release. The agent finally gave him HBO, a premium channel costing $15 per month, for FREE until the end of the deal. Double yay!
So, Peter finally signed up.
And what did he tell me?
Keep digging, son. You’ll hit upon the right mark one way or another. Save a thousand bucks on your monthly cable and/or internet bills!
I know I will get hopelessly broke in the near future given the rising prices of the digital services. I’d have to sell my kidney to pay those formidable bills. I have a feeling that you sense the same dread too. That’s why we’re in this together.
But, I don’t worry. Do you know why?
Because I’ve got it covered.
For starters, I KNOW what I’m good at.
Playing hardball. And I play it so well and so tactfully, that no force can stop me from haggling down a bill to the bare minimum.
I get what I want by striking up a conversation with the chat representative.
Years of grueling practice, countless failures, waiting on hold for hours on end, dealing with the agents bent on upselling, navigating through a multitude of offers and side-promotions, and whatnot have made me a master of the art of negotiation. I’m not bragging. Simply, stating the truth.
And lucky for you, I have a few tips in store, which I promise will get you that perfect deal and reduce your overall cable and/or internet bills.
So, get your notes ready, as I’m going to give you a lesson in ‘Negotiating 101’, based on what NOT to do.
Prepare Thoroughly Beforehand.
Prepare for what? An elaborate debate where you’re pitted against a trained, silver-tongued agent of the provider company, and where you must come out as a winner. And how can you win? If you have adequate research by your side to support your arguments.
So, do your homework. Know what your current statements are, what discounts are currently being offered by the target provider, and what specific deals you’re aiming for etc. If you’re not well-informed, you will probably get overwhelmed by the agent, who will then gain the control of the conversation.
Listen First, then Speak.
Use the leverage carefully. What’s your leverage? The elaborate offers you’ve been given by the competitive providers, which you could go for, but will not if your target provider concedes in giving you what you want. See how it will play out towards your benefit if you use the card carefully?
Maintain a Proper Mode of Convo.
I mean it. These calls can get super-frustrating, especially when you’re mercilessly juggled from one agent to another. But you have to remember to retain your chill. Do NOT lose your patience.
Be courteous and civil, and the chat agents will listen to you.
Be loud and abusive, and you will never get them to agree to what you want.
Successfully Dodge the Upselling Shots.
Remember who you’re talking to. These are properly trained individuals, who’re super-skilled at upselling to a wavering customer. So, they’ll try their best to look for a weakness in your argument and use that to get you to sign up for freebies and short-timed promotions as ‘concession.’
Do not be taken in so easily. Be firm and politely reject the side-offers. You don’t want to pay for stuff you don’t even need. You’re here to reduce your expenses, not add to them.
Last but not the least, be persistent.
If one agent doesn’t negotiate with you on a cable and/or internet deal the way you’d want them to, then call another one. Don’t stop calling until you get what you want. The key is not in giving up.
So, if you follow these pieces of advice while chatting with the representatives, you can definitely seize the latest, most-beneficial deal and take a load off of your bills.
P.S. Once you get the deal, don’t forget to renegotiate as it ends
Ding, ding, ding.
It is time for a bonus tip.
The Retention Bid.
Yes, this gambit has been tried and tested by many individuals since time immemorial to haggle down the prices of their cable and/or internet bills.
How does it work exactly?
Simple. You call the company’s toll-free number and tell them in the most dramatic manner you can summon up that you’re leaving them. I know. Sounds like a scene right out of an emotional sitcom, right?
And they’ll respond equally emotionally. Trust me.
Because, in today’s world, the power still resides with the consumers. There are so many service providers out there, each joined together in a tough competition, that a loss of one would mean the gain of another. You current ISP or cable company CANNOT and WILL NOT let that happen. So, they’ll transfer your call to the specially made ‘retention’ department.
The agents of this department are super serious retainers. They’ll concede to your downgrading the deals and will give you many free benefits, just so you can STAY.
I know a guy named Jester, who’d gotten a full $25 off his current deal, a free HD DVR and a free HBO for a whole year simply by chatting with Comcast’s ‘Retention’ agents.
But remember not to get carried away with this card. Play it carefully, and only when you have no other move left.
Not a talker, are you?
Then, worry not.
Because you can hire people to talk for you!
Yes, there are many professional negotiating firms out there, like Bill Fixers, Trim, Billshark etc. which offer their ‘bill reducing’ services to consumers having a hard time with their cable and/or internet companies.
These firms (online/physical):
And what do they charge? Around 30% of your yearly savings which is nothing as compared to what they help you save.
You’ve made the calls. Chatted endlessly with the stubborn reps time and again. Banged your head against the phone receiver to get the deal of your choice. But all in vain.
So, you lightly threaten the provider that you’d switch.
Most of the times, this works.
But not with you.
The provider doesn’t even show concern.
What are you to do?
Follow your words to the end.
Yes, perhaps it’s time that you made the move. Carried out the transition from cable to satellite.
And don’t worry, where there’s much to lose, there’s a hell lot to gain too. Check out these awesome benefits of the satellite services below.
Satellite is a more favorable option. Why? Because the satellite-based TV and internet companies are not bound to pay the heavy taxes levied by the local governments as the cable companies have to. Other than that, their transmission is way more digitally advanced than the old-school underground cables, subjected to wear and tear. So, their mode of streaming signals to each and every one of your rooms come way cheaper. There is a greater chance of saving money here.
Satellite DOES come through. It catches channel streams from both the east and the west coasts and directs them to your TV sets along with the local programs. So, you won’t be losing much content-wise by foregoing your cable.
When it comes to reaching remote subscribers, satellite wins. People who live in rural regions have a really difficult time getting a cable-based TV and/or internet connection. But, with satellite, they can get a faster and a smoother stream without much trouble. All they have to do is install a dish.
You’ll reap many more advantages by switching to satellite. For now, these will suffice.
And if you’re looking for one of the topmost satellite providers, consider DISH TV network, which has been deemed as the best pocket-friendly service in 2018. DirectTV’s got a 4.2 out of 5 rating in its wonderful sports transmission.
Wires are a thing of the past. Do you agree?
Because I can see more and more people hopping on the notorious ‘cutting the cord’ trend. Canceling their cable or satellite subscriptions and fulfilling their infotainment needs via the channel of internet only (costing around $30 to $60 per month). Even the stats prove it. Check them out:
So, you cannot deny the outreach of this trend. Not only does it promise to save you from those soul-crushing bills you’re forced to squeeze out of your pocket each month, but it also gives you these quirky alternatives to quench your digital thirst.
What will you need?
> A streaming device, like a Smart TV ($179.99 or so), or a Chromecast ($35 or above), or a Roku box ($53.99 or so), or a Firestick ($39.99 or so) or an antenna ($30 or so) if you’re into local programming only etc.
> A sturdy internet connection ($29.99 or less if you bargain it down)
> Subscription to streaming services like Netflix ($11 per month), HULU TV ($8 per month), PlayStation Vue ($35 per month), and the best of all, SlingTV ($20 per month) with a wonderful coverage of the premium channels too.
And that’s about it!
Stream away your content and be free of any cable hassle.
Finally, you’ve made it to the end of the long post. BRAVO!
I’m so proud of you!
Breathe a sigh of relief, and look back at what you’ve learned.
I’m certain that if you implement any of aforementioned pointers, you’ll surely succeed in slashing your cable TV and/or internet bills this very fall!
Give them a go.
And if you have any comments or suggestions, I’d love to hear about them!