Cable TV and internet are two of those annoying bills that somehow seemed to have crept into the “necessities” category for many households.  While I don’t consider TV and internet essential, my finances are such that I can afford them.  But, there’s no need to pay full price!  Here’s how you can get cable TV and internet for less.

How much TV?

First, how much cable TV do you need?  I don’t watch a lot of TV, but both the boyfriend and I enjoy watching live sports.  He also follows a few network TV sitcoms.  For us, the basic cable package provides both of these features.  While I do occasionally watch TV series which are broadcast only on specialty channels, I usually end up downloading episodes for ease of viewing.

If you don’t watch a lot of TV and you don’t follow live sports, why the hell do you have cable?!  You could get rid of your TV entirely. Or less drastically, you could get yourself a pair of modern rabbit ears and grab a couple of free channels off the air for idle channel surfing. Many OTA signals are now digital! Download any TV shows that you care to follow.

How much internet?

Secondly, how much internet do you need?  Internet providers in BC offer different tiers of service depending on the speeds you’re looking for.  The boyfriend and I do an average amount of downloading, plus we surf the web and occasionally play online MMORPGs.  We’re quite happy to stick with the “regular” speed internet.  Perhaps if you do a lot of downloading, you’d want a higher tier… or you could schedule your downloads for the night time while you are asleep and speed doesn’t matter!

Again, if you don’t go on the internet regularly… why the hell do you have internet at home?!  If you only use the internet to surf the web and check email once a day, you don’t need to have internet at home.  Just show up to work 15 or 20 minutes early and use your work computer.  I did this for 2 months after a move, and I’m a computer science major!  I use computers A LOT, so if I can live without internet at home, so can you.  Other ideas: Stop by the local library and make the most of your free membership to use their free internet.  Take your laptop to wifi hotspots (coffee shops, universities, etc.) and browse for free.  Options abound!

How to get the best prices?

Finally… prices.  How do you get the best price for cable and internet?

I have ALWAYS found that merely calling up the cable company does not get you the best price.  Frequently, third-party contractors who solicit customers on behalf of cable companies will offer better deals and promotions.  These contractors are often found at kiosks in malls or at special events.  This is where I signed up for cable and internet most recently.  For $19.99, I get basic digital cable and high speed internet for 6 months.  My digital box is free!  When my 6 months is over, I will cancel and then either my boyfriend or my roommate will sign up for the same deal for another 6 months.

If a deal isn’t available, I can cancel my service and go to the competition.  With the competitor, I will probably be able to get another good introductory deal for 6 months.  I may even get bonuses for leaving my current provider!  Conversely, my current provider might offer bonuses for me to stay.  Either way, a win-win situation.

And if you are not concerned with having regular internet and TV service, as is often the case for me, simply cut your service.  Within a few weeks, your cable company will call you up with a “special offer”.  I know a couple who has done this indefinitely and they’ve only ever paid $10 a month for cable.  For a few weeks or months out of the year, they do not have cable.  But in return, they’re saving tons of money!

Cable TV and internet don’t have to be a weighty bill every month.  Know your own needs and know how to play the system.

Advertisements