Gone are the days when you could sneeze at internet, phone and cable TV bills. These subscriptions, considered as necessities by the average American in the information age, can easily add up in monthly expenses and make you struggle to keep down utility bills.
Pew Research Center’s report reveals that the regular household expenses reported by homeowners include internet services (65%), phone services (74%) and cable TV services (78%), and all of them come right after housing costs.
David Cay Johnston, prize winning reporter, said that in the 1970’s, when a single company had a monopoly in phone subscription services, homeowners were told that the increase in competition would bring down the prices, but the reality turned out to be quite the opposite.
Web television content is also creating confusion among consumers. Their initial subscription cost is quite low, but subscribers are then presented with add-on costs later on.
Senior analyst at SNL, Kagan Robin Flynn, says that nobody generally wants prices to increase, but consumers don’t think about the investment companies make in their plans to get HD quality in households. And companies do offer incentives to retain and attract new customers.
Despite the trends, it’s possible for you to keep the bill of all these services on the low with these tips:
1. Negotiate with the company
Sometimes being a long-term customer of a particular company can get you a discount (just like banks give out a better interest rate to their loyal customers). Editor of MoneyCrashers, David Bakke got a discount on his cable bill for 6 months only after being with AT&T U-verse for a year.
You can also try talking it out with the company to see if you can get a discount for a few months. Also, companies like AT&T, Verizon etc. also offer other ways to save money as ATT U-verse coupon codes are still out on the Internet. Apart from searching online, you may find such offers and promos in local magazines and newspapers.
2. Ask the neighborhood
Internet, phone and television cable providers have a variety of plans, and they vary from customer to customer. It can turn out that your neighbor is paying half of what you currently pay for the same subscriptions, just because he/she opted for a slightly lower internet speed or cable channel.
You can do a bit of research and collect the figures to see if you can cut down on the bill. However, make sure that you compare the subscription charges in packages rather than between different companies.
3. Go for bundled services
Usually, taking each of the subscriptions from a different service is going to cost you more because companies normally don’t offer reasonable rates on single service packages. But if you go for all of the subscriptions all together from a single company, it can get you good rates.
Going all together translates into searching for a company that provides cable, internet and phone services in a single package/bundle. Bundles may also include other money-saving benefits such as free phone minutes, internet bandwidth, etc.
How do you save on these bills? Feel free to share your own tips in the comments section below.