How to Save Money on Cable Television

TV Shows We Used To Watch - 1955 Television advertising

It wasn’t that along ago that cable television cost maybe $10-15 a month and gave you access to around 50 channels. Then, sometime in the last 20 years, we magically jumped to hundreds of channels and a cable bill that matched that number in dollars! When it comes down to it, how many of those channels do you actually watch? 10? 15? 20? I bet the number is much smaller than you think.

So, how can you save a little bit of cash on your cable television bill? Easy, follow these types.

Ditch Cable Television
Keep a log of how much television you actually watch in terms of hours, shows and channels. This log will help you discover whether or not you can find the same shows for free on the Internet. Hulu has partnerships with many networks and many television networks show their own shows on delay on their own websites. If you can watch it for free, why pay for it?

Look for Promotional Offers
If you can’t cut cable entirely, constantly be on the lookout for promotion codes. Verizon FiOS promo codes are available everywhere, so don’t sign up for service without one! (this applies to almost any cable provider whether it’s Verizon, Comcast, DirecTV or some other service provider) Keep an eye out on the contract length, you don’t want to sign up for something that locks you in for two years.

Cut Excess Programming
If you never watch HBO or Showtime, don’t pay for them! You may have signed up when the channels were free so double check your bill. Many cable providers offer free HBO or Cinemax or one of those premium channels for free for three months with the hopes that you continue paying and “forget” you signed up. They offer great programming if you watch it, and a great profit center for cable providers.

Buy a DVR
Many cable providers charge you a fee to use their DVR, consider buying one of your own if you plan on sticking with the service and if the rental fee is exorbitant. Companies like Verizon will charge around $10-15 a month to rent a DVR, which you can buy “used” on Craigslist for much less. If you sign up for a one year contract and can find a unit for less than $120, you’ll come out ahead. Then, if you switch services, you can always sell it and recoup some of your money.

Negotiate with competing offers
If you aren’t under contract, collect some competing cable provider advertisements and use it to negotiate with your current one. I can’t remember how many times I called Verizon FiOS with the Comcast ad in hand, asking them to match or beat it. Every single time I’ve had them match the offer because keeping me as a customer is more profitable than trying to get a new one.

Don’t ever pay full price for cable, there’s always a better option.

Jim likes to save money by using promo codes and coupon codes whenever possible!

Photo Credit: Brizzle Born & Bred

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  1. 7


    we just ditched our cable and while I thought hubby would go through major withdraw, it hasn’t been a problem at all. We bought an antenna for $50 at best buy and plan to get a Roku box for about $50-$100, which will allow us to stream shows instantly from Hulu Plus ($10/month) and Netflix ($10). The library has also been a good source of DVDs, allowing us to watch True Blood, Mad Men and Dexter. So, all in all, we’ve had the initial investment of the antenna and Roku, but we’ve cut the monthly bill from $70 to $20.

    i got the inspiration from this article…it details all the ways you can still get your favorite programming.

  2. 8

    Dawn says

    Oh my goodness – we just have a really good antenna and deal with just having local channels. We can see things online if we want and we also do a movie-swap with my husband’s brother.

  3. 9

    tessa74 says

    My hubby ditched the cable several months ago after much begging and pleading from me. He was watching mostly reruns anyways!! Now we have netflix and love it so much more for less than 1/10th the price of cable! It is the best thing we did for our wallets last year.

    Off topic (slightly)…. beware of buying dvr boxes. We had bought a Tivo one from BestBuy when they first came out. Paid a pretty penny for it. Well, when we wanted to switch cable company, they wanted the dvr back. We said “excuse me?! We bought this thing with our own cash and no where on the box did it say that it was a rental! ” So just be careful.

  4. 10


    We are in the process of getting rid of cable. We bought a Roku xds which streams netflix and hulu plus and also bought an old style antenna (which my husband is in the process of installing) to mount to the chimney so we can get local stations. It is a little investment to start but in about 3 months we will have made up that money and started saving about 85$ a month. I am hoping to have the cable off by the 16th of january as our free trials of both Netflix and Hulu Plus run out then.

  5. 11

    Mandi says

    These are great tips. I’m really considering cutting our cable completely (maybe put account ‘on hold’) for a few months and see if we really do miss it. We have the streaming-only option for Netflix, and there’s plenty to watch on there. With a new baby coming at the end of March, the DVR would be nice for late-night feedings, but if we could cut it and save money to put towards our debt, I think that’s better. I need to talk to my husband though, it has to be a mutual decision. I’d rather spend our time with each other and outside then in front of a TV.

  6. 12

    Jes says

    We got rid of cable all together. We have cable internet and with Netflix we can watch everything we want to on the computer. I miss watching the local shows, but I am on the couch a lot less now.

  7. 13

    Hope says

    My mother needed to cut expenses and called Comcast to say that she needed to get a less expensive package due to being on a fixed income. They cut the price to $9.99 (basic cable price at the time), and still gave her all the channels she had been watching.

    When you start talking about “cutting the cable” they are usually ready to offer you a better deal, even if you have to say no several times to get the best deal.

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