3 Ways to Save Money on Your Cable, Phone and Internet Bills

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triple play TV phone and cableThe New Year is only a few weeks old, but already many people have started giving up on their resolutions for 2013. To keep you on track with your financial resolutions, let's take a crack at accomplishing one we suggested earlier this month: saving money on cable, phone and Internet bills.

The companies that sell landline and mobile phone contracts as well as cable TV and broadband Internet know the appeal of the package deal. By luring you in with promotional pricing on high-end premium services, these companies count on your continuing to pay up long after regular pricing takes effect.

Yet all too often, consumers don't take full advantage of these packages. Whether it's unlimited long distance, mobile-phone minutes, text messages, or data plans, millions of people are signed up for contracts that provide much more service than they actually need. And with cable TV, consumers often accept huge swaths of unwanted and unwatched channels in order to get the ones they do plan to watch.

If you've been caught in the web of the triple-play "deal," don't despair. Most companies offer less extensive service packages that fit better with what you actually use. Of course, those companies don't always make it easy to find out about these cheaper packages, but with a little digging, you can save some serious money.

Here are three ways to save money on your phone, cable and internet services:

1. Get a bare-bones landline. The rise of mobile phones has led many people to drop their landlines entirely. But even those who've come to rely on their cellphones often don't feel comfortable disconnecting all together. Rather than paying for packages that include unlimited long distance that you never use, look into what's usually called "measured service." This low-tier offering offers a much lower monthly rate in exchange for paying a modest amount for each call you make. Even if you use your landline as your primary calling method, measured service can be cheaper. And if you use your cell for most of your calls, the savings is even more pronounced.

2. Go back to basics on cable. With more content available online through Netflix and other services, cable has become much less a necessity than it was in past years. But even with standard packages costing $60 or more per month, you may feel like there's little savings to be had. Little-known "broadcast basic" packages, however, can give you better reception on network channels as well as a small group of other offerings at ridiculously low prices of $10 per month or less.

3. Don't pay for more Internet speed than you need. Broadband Internet companies want you to subscribe for high-end Internet service with lightning-fast connection speeds, but they won't hesitate to charge up for the privilege. If you use your connection for business or other high-volume purposes like frequent video streaming, then premium packages make sense. But for email, light Internet browsing, and other low-impact use, you really don't need to pay an extra $20 to $50 per month for whatever name your provider puts on the fastest tiers of Internet service available. Check out standard or "lite" Internet offerings. You may find that the performance loss is much less significant than you'd imagine.

With all three of these ideas, you may get an unexpected benefit when you call your customer service rep to downgrade. Companies don't want to lose customers, and in the current ultra-competitive environment, they may give you added enticements to stay on board. As a result, you may get an offer to keep your current service at a lower price, leaving you with two winning alternatives to choose from.

Motley Fool contributor Dan Caplinger cut back years ago and never looked back. You can follow him on Twitter @DanCaplinger. The Motley Fool recommends Netflix. The Motley Fool owns shares of Netflix.

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19 Comments

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steve.batterton

I recently started sharing internet with my neighbor. We automated the whole password transmittal, payment, and communication process using www.5050wifi.com. It's been great so far and I haven't noticed any slowing of my internet. Also, I'm kind of a hippy and believe in the best of people. I figure if my neighbor is some kind of super hacker, then he could find a way into my network anyway. It's worth saving almost $30 per month to me.

July 19 2014 at 2:58 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Steve Stunning

I've had the fastest speed, and the slowest speed internet and for normal usage like email, news, weather, downloading movies, Music, You Tube, etc I can not see any difference, so don't buy into "high speed" internet service. I have used both Verizon, and Time Warner Cable for "Triple Play" service and both companies are a nightmare to deal with. Now I am writing this with the cheapest internet service from Time Warner at $14.99 a month+tax and I use Magic Jack and Net Talk on two different phone lines each of which have 4 wireless phones on them. Magic Jack and Net Talk each cost me only $29.99+tax a year for phone service after you buy their phone device. Everything works perfectly for the cheapest possible phone and internet services. Most people don't need two lines with different numbers so you can choose either one for phone service. I use one for personal and the other for a home business. For television I have "Smart TV" which goes to the internet and I watch everything on Netflix. That's the cheapest and most functional combination of all of the services possible. I hope this helps people who need to save money and want all of these services.

July 11 2014 at 7:15 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
joepaul512

It's really smart that you brought up lowering the Internet speed but when I was going to do that Verizon wanted to charge me more! I found out about this company BillCutterz and I don't know how they did but they got Verizon to give me $20 off a month without a new contract (I will never go back under contract with them). I'm really glad I used them now because I don't have to lower my speed or loose HBO.

August 08 2013 at 2:34 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Sexy Beast

Here is another way to save money on your bills, Swagbucks. You can earn paypal giftcards that you can use on anything you'd like, including those pesky bills that add up. This site is free and rewards you for using their search engine as well as a lot of other things. I am so passionate about it, I made a youtube video. This is a legit way to make money online. You won't get rich, but it can help with making a bill a little cheaper.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=g6BI3Uvpuaw&feature=youtu.be

Tiffany

February 16 2013 at 3:58 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Mary King

I decided to follow the recommendations in the article to see if I could cut back on my phone, Internet and satellite packages. A couple of phone calls later and I'd cut at least 60.00 off my bundled bill. Even Directv gave me a new monthly discount without changing the Choice Extra package I've had for years. I cut down to bare bones on my landline phone, plus I opted for basic Internet instead of the costly program I was paying for (with features I didn't use). I've seen no difference in performance on my computer.

Once more, because I don't use my cell phone that much (I don't text at all), I enjoy my economical Tracfone (that offers triple minutes) at 19.99 for a 3-month period. I always have minutes to spare and they carry over to the next month. It comes out to just over 7.00 per month (including tax). Can't beat that.

This article was just the push I needed to take action. Thank you!

Mary King

January 24 2013 at 10:43 AM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
hman570

Verizon is the biggest rip off of them all. Started out with their 99.00 package that ended up after two year cost me now $189.00 monthly. Will find companies that don't have contracts for anything and will never take or get involved in a company offering a service for a low price only to end up paying thur the nose. If I have to take a contract I don't need their services. Its the right way to go.

January 21 2013 at 7:26 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
JSISTAJANET

Yes you are right it is a ripoff I talk to them every month it is of no use they say they cut it down for the one month and the next its back where it started and more ir continues to climb Im seriously thinking about going back the way it was before with basiccable and pay for my internet separate it was much less they fast talk us and it sounds good until 2-3 bills laterbasicly we really don,t get that much for channels if you pay close attention you will see how many not much Jsistajanet@aol.com

January 19 2013 at 2:02 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
kntkrn

verizon wireless,the way to go ,,,home phone 20.00 internet,,10.00 2 gb 20.00 for 4 g hot spot,,, dish net work 55.00 ,,,,,now thats saving,,,,,,,,240 channels,,,,,,,,,

January 18 2013 at 10:00 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
k9spencer1

Comcast just seemed fit again to raise my bill by another $ 6.32 monthly with nothing added to my services. When I checked it out, they stooped low enough to start charging for my two (FREE) DIGITAL ADAPTERS $ 3.98 even raised the cost on my DVR. $ 1.70 and a little in taxes. Not long ago I was being charged for a DVR (HD) now $ 17.95, and an additional (HD) converter box $ 9.95 then the GREED set in with a new B/S charge of $ 9.95 monthly for, again, no new added services. HD TECHNOLOGY FEE. at least then when you had to convert to digital they allowed you two free digital adaptors with charges starting on the third digital adaptor. OK lets recap thier billing policies as of lately. Added $ 9.95 (HD TECHNOLOGY FEE), raised the cost on the DVR box $ 1.70 (DVR BOX), another $ .70 on my (HD BOX), and now charge $ 3.98 for the two (FREE DIGITAL ADAPTERS) a new total raise for them of $ 16.33 MONTHLY with NO NEW SERVICES. Mutiply that by number of customers they have. alot of money going to them, with no new services to us. Guess it's time to start shopping around.

January 18 2013 at 9:48 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
ectullis

They can raise prices faster than you can think of ways to save. Just got a letter stating a ten percent increase.

January 18 2013 at 5:46 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply