This is the story of how I saved $11.95 a month on my cable. I also mention how to get cable for about $12 a month (depeding on your company) and how I only pay $28.85 for cable internet. It’s kind of a long story, but you could save some bucks on your cable or internet so it’s worth the read if you want to try to save some money. If not, just be happy that I saved money :)
So while I like watching TV, movies and music in home theater style (105 inches baby!) I also try not to blow too much money doing it. It’s those recurring bills that kill your budget, that’s the stuf that people don’t notice (that and interest) but really adds up. I generally have econo-basic cable, it’s $12.00 a month it gets me the first 23(?) channels on my cable system and doesn’t require a cable box (which makes the integration with TiVo seamless). Generally when you get internet through your cable you end up getting a few extra channels since the filter that stops you from getting the other channels also stops the internet so they loosen it up a little.
So last year they were doing some promos and I saw I could try digital cable pretty cheap, well it turns out digital cable just gets me more stations (in the 100-199 range) but doesn’t make my other stations better so I returned that box. But while I was there I found out I could get a HD digital box for $5 plus $5.95 a month (and I know they promised this price for 2 years). This got me my normal networks, the above digital range, pbs, 2 espn channels, 2 inHD channels (which was a plus older movies, some documentaries and some IMAX movies in HD) and a science channel (maybe TNT too) in HD (my TV isn’t HD so this was more like DVD quality for these channels). The downside is the TiVo reacts a little slower when connected via a cable box.
Well, the two year promotion just ended (after 1 year) and now they want the $5 plus $11.95. So I call and give her the quiz (and I’m ruthless but not an ass) I finally determine the $11.95 is really for the 100-199 digital range (the only channel I even know was there was a weather station) and a few of the HD channels so I dumped it. It really amazes my how they can’t give you a definitive list of the channels that will go away (or are included). I just checked and I lost the 100-199 range, maybe one of the HD ESPN channels, the inHD channels, the science channel and that’s about it (mostly stuff I don’t watch). So it really turns out that I lost $75 last year since I didn’t need that part of the cable, but at least I now know I’m not missing out.
This goes with my money motto of “It never hurts to ask!”
My mother just told me a similar story when they raised her bill last month (I’ve been teaching her my motto) she found out she wasn’t watching some of the blocks of programming she was paying for. She dumped those and also got them to add a promo for her package for a year. I couldn’t get them to add me a promo but since I’ve got such a limited package it’s kinda hard (how do you promote your cheapest package).
Forgetting all of the above, I also get a $15 discount for the Internet for having the $12 cable package (since I’m a customer) so keep that in mind if you want satellite but still want internet cable, it’s cheaper to have the TV with the internet than not. Many cable companies are this way, they just don’t advertise the econo-limited-basic option (sometimes you really have to quiz and twist their arm for this limited option). Plus every so often I’ll call them and tell them I’ll leave if I don’t get a better price on the internet since I can get DSL cheaper, I know that cable internet is generally faster, but I can live without the speed. Right now I’m getting an extra $15 a month off my internet (usually I only get $10, I got lucky with that one) so I really only pay $28.95 for my high speed internet (which is really a lot when you look at all the $14-$20 DSL promotions out there).
It might sound cheap, but I like to think of it as frugal. We’re not talking about saving $10-$30 one time, we’re talking about saving this much money a month for the rest of your life! You can do similar bargaining with your phone and cell phone bills. If you can save $10-$15 a bill just by changing or updating your plan that’s $360-$540 a year (that’s an round trip-airline flight!).
Here’s more info from my other Comcast dealings from the past.