31 Ways to Save in 2011: Cutting cable costs!


The easiest way to cut cable costs is to cut out cable completely. If you’re not ready to do that yet, make sure that you contact your cable provider once every six months to see what promotional packaging may be available (they will usually offer you promotional rates if you threaten to cancel your service).Also consider bundling services you use (phone, internet, and cable) to see if you can get a better rate.

If you’re considering Dish or DirecTV service, make sure you read the “fine print.” These companies often offer hot promotional rates (sometimes as low as $20 per month), but what isn’t usually clearly spelled out is that you will need a receiver for each room where you want to have TV service (which is usually $5 each and adds up quickly when you’re paying for this month after month) and that your promotional rate will only be good for 6-12 months and then your rate will double or triple! Plus, their contracts are usually two years long and you end up paying high penalties if you decide to cancel.

If you’re looking for alternatives to cable, here are a few options:

Netflix – One of the things we love most about Netflix is their “Netflix Streaming”  Basically, with Netflix Streaming, you can instantly watch TV episodes and movies on your TV via Netflix ready devices like game consoles (currently Wii, XBox 360 and Playstation 3) and Blu Ray players.  Our service is only $8.99 per month (it’s $2 extra if you want Blu Rays instead of regular DVDs) which includes unlimited instant streaming and one DVD at a time (unlimited “rentals” per month).  Even if you’re not ready to cut your cable yet, if you rent at least two DVDs a month, this plan would pay for itself.  It’s been really great for us because I always have a hard time remembering to return DVDs on time, so even though I usually use a free code or coupon to rent DVDs, I end up paying late fees which is not a bargain!

Here are some more details about the plan if you’re not familiar with it:
*There are no due dates or late fees
*There are no per-movie rental fees
*Membership fees cover your shipping and handling
*You may cancel at any time!

To sweeten the deal, there are several places where you can earn incentives for signing up with Netflix!

*Ebates is currently offering $8 cash back
*Swagbucks is currently offering 400 Swagbucks (this is on the “Special Offers” wall under “Trialpay”)

*Hulu – Hulu allows you to watch episodes of various TV shows for free online.  If you subscribe to Hulu Plus (currently $7.99/month), you can “stream” these episodes to various devices included your Smartphone (iPhone or Android), your iPad, your Roku, or your Playstation 3 (you can see the full list of devices here)

*Antenna – You can also get an antenna and access HD channels for free.  Check out Antennaweb.org to find out what the best antenna for you would be.  If your TV is analog, you will also need a converter box.

*This post may contain affiliate links. Please refer to my disclosure policy for more information.