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Five Steps to Reduce Your Costly Cable Television Bill



Tame your budget cable bill with these money saving tips!

USA TODAY Launches a Weekly Series on How to Lower Your Monthly Bills and reduce your costs so that you can keep your money at work for you. Each week we will review one of your monthly bills and offer tips on how to reduce that bill. at the waist and save you money. In this week's edition of Mastering Your Budget Bills, we are looking to lower your cable bill.

There may be no bill capable of generating more frustration than that of cable television.

Cable companies report average subscriber expenditures of approximately $ 85 per month. According to Leichtman Research Group, satellite TV providers reach $ 100 a month.

For more information: How to start taming your budget bills

But there is hope. If you think your cable TV bill is too high, there are several ways to counter it.

"Most people think, like an electricity bill, if it comes up to $ 200, it's your bill, end of the story," Phillip Swann said. , publisher of the television site "This is not the end of history."

Here are five things you can do to lower this cable bill:

1. Evaluate what you are looking at: Get rid of extras, reduce your budget

Before To make changes, check your current wiring plan and the channels you have. "Do you really need everything on this list," said Swann. "Let's say you have HBO, do you look at it often?" Cut premium chains and sports packages is an easy way to reduce your bill and save money.

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Make a list of channels that are essential to help you narrow down what you really need or want. There is a good chance that you can use a smaller and cheaper cable while retaining most of the channels you need.

2. Examine these additional charges

Look at your cable bill and examine each of the charges. Some fees and taxes are required, but some could be reduced

Do you have one or more decoders to watch TV throughout the house? These rental fees for the boxes can be added up. "If you have multiple DVRs in different rooms, do you need them in each room," Swann said.

If you bundle your cable with the Internet, consider buying a compatible modem instead of paying the monthly rental fee. You will end up recovering the money you have spent on the long term modem. When buying make sure to confirm with your operator that it works for your provider and is certified for the speeds you want to get. Most of the major vendors have a list of approved modems: Comcast / Xfinity, Time Warner Cable / Spectrum, Cox and Cablevision / Optimum

3. Two-Year Contracts

Yes , prices can be very attractive. However, you are better off staying with a monthly commitment, says Swann. "When you do, you are tied to this company," he said. "You have no leverage during this two-year period."

Swann said that consumers will generally pay as much or more for a plan without a contract. Also, if your service is poor, most cable companies will charge you an early cancellation fee.

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4. Call your cable dealer and negotiate

If your bill is still not what you want, contact a customer service representative of your cable provider. Check out the latest offers that they offer to new subscribers and compare them to what you are currently paying.

When you call, be friendly and explain your concern about the cost of your current plan and ask for a better offer. "Reducing the price is as simple as taking the time to call and ask – politely," says personal finance writer Andrea Woroch

Where there is a competitor , threaten to cancel your service and change provider. Cable companies will usually find a way to close a deal if it means you will stay in place.

Negotiation requires perseverance. If at first you do not succeed, remember and talk to someone else. Woroch suggests asking for a supervisor or manager if necessary.

5. Consider a jump to streaming services

If phoning and negotiating with your cable provider does not produce the results you want, consider cutting the cord and checking the services of streaming.

Sling TV, DirecTV Now, PlayStation View, Hulu and YouTube all offer slim packs with a solid base channel lineup that could save you extra money. The cheapest option available in the group is the Orange Sling TV package for $ 20 a month, and includes channels like ESPN, CNN, Disney and Food Network

For more information: ? How to choose your streaming services

Streaming allows users to watch on smartphones and tablets, but if you prefer the traditional TV experience, you can get a set-top box like Apple TV or Fire TV , or a streaming stick such as devices manufactured by Roku and Amazon. A disadvantage is limited availability to your local channels.

Contribution: Eli Blumenthal

Follow Brett Molina on Twitter: @ brettmolina23

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