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How I Lower Our Cable and Internet Bill Regularly

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My husband and I like our cable, DVR, and high speed internet.  Yes, I know, half of you think cable is a stupid expense and are mocking me in your head.  That’s okay.  I don’t mind.  We use our services daily, so it is an extra expense we absorb voluntarily.  :-)

But AT&T believes the two services together are worth $130 a month, but I rather never pay more than $110.  This means that every 6 months, I call AT&T to get my U-Verse cable and internet bill lowered.  I don’t lie, but I do explain that I am willing to look elsewhere for a good deal if I can’t get a better rate.  And I am willing to look elsewhere…I just rather not if I can get a better rate with them.

Here is how I keep our bill below $110 a month including fees and taxes for their best internet plan and the U200 package with 2 DVR’s:

  • FIRST STEP, I find something to fill in my time while on hold.  Seriously, cable companies are the WORST with hold times.
  • I call their 1-800 number, answer all the silly automated questions, and get put on hold for the Billing Department.
  • Once I finally get a real person (this last time it took 27 minutes of holding…), I ask to speak to the Retention Department.
  • I then get put on hold again (another 25 minutes this last time) and get a real person again.
  • I politely explain that I don’t think the service is worth $130 and would like a discount so I don’t have to start looking elsewhere.
  • I receive a $15-$25 credit for 6 months and thank them profusely.

It has worked every time for more than 3 years.  I even have a cheat sheet with the 1-800 number, my account number, and my phone password ready to use each time.  I also mark my calendar 6 months in advance to remind myself to call again, although I sometimes still put it off and have to deal with one bigger bill than I like.

The biggest drawback is I hate how long they put me on hold (although they aren’t as bad as Comcast), but have learned to do other things and leave them on speaker phone until they pick up.  This last time, I answered 3 emails and replied to Yakezie forum threads while holding, so they didn’t waste my time completely.

I would highly suggest that everybody try getting reoccuring bills lowered regularly.  Companies want to make easy money and retain the customers that pay on time.  It just take a little organization to stay on top of it.

Do you call in like I do to get lower rates?  What has worked for you?

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47 comments to How I Lower Our Cable and Internet Bill Regularly

  • My cable company Tme Warner Cable didn’t fall for that trick. IT took canceling the cable service for 3 months before I got offered a deal to come back. There is 0 competition in my area, so I think that’s part of the reason they have a hard line with that stuff.

  • I like your system for receiving your discount. It makes sense that they would knock a little off your price though. After all, you are a regular paying customer and they don’t want to lose you.

    My wife currently works virtually for a company near Washington D.C.. In order to get her work uploaded in time, we need extremely fast internet. Rather than shelling out the extra cash, we felt that since it was the need of the company, they should pay for it. They gladly accepted this, and we now have internet for $0. We don’t value TV too much these days either, so we just do without it. That means our bill totals $0.00! I like that number a lot better.

  • Michelle

    FYI, U-verse does have another number (its a 1-866 number) that you can call that directs you directly to their “new promotions” people…that way you dont have to be put on hold multiple times while they transfer you. When I call every 6 months I just ask for the new promotions (which are for all customers not just for new ones) I have never had to threaten to cancel.

  • Our FIOS introductory rate is up at the end of August so I guess we’ll be following your advice then.

    A buddy of mine couldn’t get a discount through his provider (Cablevision I think) so he canceled and then his wife called and ordered it as a new service. Ridiculous that we have to play these games to get a decent price.

  • I have the exact same system! I just threaten to run to the next company that has an introductory waiting for me. A few times I patiently explain that I am not an idiot and that I realize they still have to make money on clients even in the introductory period, so that is the real price of the service. The funny thing is that I have to call back every 6 months and do it, but it’s worth the 30 bucks a month I save (internet and cell phone). As for TV, my house is technically classified as my parent’s “cottage” as far the satellite bill is concerned, so I get it for free (my folks said the extra 5 dollar fee they pay monthly is a Bday gift haha).

  • Brian

    I have had Comcast for years (no a huge fan but they negotiate). I usually have to do this song and dance once a year, but it has kept my cable/internet bill around $100 a month for HD, DVRs, and HBO, so I will continue to do it.

    I do the same thing with SiriusXM and pay around $77/year.

    I learned a while ago, a lot of companies will give you a discount if you ask. It’s cheaper to keep you as a customer than to find a new one.

  • We’ve done that in the past, which has definitely worked. You’re right though; the holding times are horrendous.

  • This is the inspiration I need! We’ve been with Sky for six months now. They’ve been utterly useless and much costlier than our original contract agreement suggested. We’ve been toying with the idea of switching to Virgin Media for a while but I think now’s the time to threaten Sky with leaving!

    Another tip I’ve found incidentally- whenever I’ve tweeted about my dissatisfaction with Sky, their online customer services team have got hot under the collar and asked me to explain the problem. A few DMs later and they’re calling ME, getting around those horrendous holding times. I’m not sure how Time Warner Cable or Comcast feel about this, or whether they’re Twitter savvy but it might be worth a shot!

  • Great plan! We are currently in contract with Direct TV with their introduction rate. So it’s farily cheap right now. But I know my brother in law calls them once a year and gets his rate lowered. It’s amazing how much you can save by just asking.

  • We have tried with verizon internet and nothing works. They will not give us a lower rate. Sadly though, they are the cheapest.

  • Great tip! We don’t have cable, but our internet bill is up to $60 a month now. That seems awfully high, so I’ll be trying this tactic soon.

  • I do the same thing Crystal, the retention dept is key!

    I also play a little game with 3 months free of HBO. I love a few of their series (True Blood, Entourage, Game of Thrones) but think its way too expensive. So I get the 3 month free deal when I call in and then cancel after 3 months….it’s usually available again within a year and if I miss any shows I watch them On Demand.

  • I get really lazy with this type of stuff. Your recommendation to have some other activities handy to pass the time is a great idea and makes the process less noxious.

  • My 6 months discounted internet bill is about over. I need to call them to ask for a discount.

  • I’ve always tried this before when I had cable though now that I just pay for internet I dont worry too much about it – They usually are pretty stubborn and last time I told them that I was fine with what I had, they asked what I had and told me I couldnt get cheaper elsewhere (I looked) so I was satisfied.

  • did the same thing 3 years ago with our Cell phone provider. Got a great deal as a result!

  • I did the same thing, but took a different approach. I was willing to sign up for a two year contract. It lowered my bill to $98.

  • windyj2301

    Has anyone done this with satellite companies? I have DirecTV and need to get some payments on utilities lower. Thanks!

  • I have done this several times and it works like a charm everytime!

  • Great suggestion. I believe this works for more than just cable bills too!

  • We just signed up for cable and internet last month. It was free at out previous apartment. The cost is $90 which I think is too high but looking at what other people pay I guess it is reasonable. After football season I’d like to cut the cable but I doubt the rest of the household will agree.

  • I would also do a survey of what other offers from the competitors and new customers for the same company are available. Instead of just saying that you are looking, if you throw a solid number usually they will match it. We have kept our internet bill at $30 (12 Mbps) for quite sometime now by doing this. We don’t have cable though.

  • I am now convinced that you are a machine. Between this blog, that blog, your paid posting positions, working full time (til recently) plus now this.

    I actually looked to see what my schedule was for the blogging conference in Chicago since I wanted to actually meet you in person (unless of course, you are really a droid). But alas, I will be on a cruise ship over that weekend so it isn’t meant to be. Maybe some other time.

  • Great tactic! :) I have actually done this before myself… regular customer service can’t help you, you have to speak to the Retention department to get special prices. :)

  • I do the same thing! Except our cable company’s promotional packages last either 1 or two years. But I learned the same trick – asking for the customer retention department is the key. Also, there are times when I’ll get a representative that claims that they can’t do anything for me – I just call back until I get a hold of someone who is willing to help me!

  • I do it with my Sirius Radio and The Wife’s XM account every year. Last time around I got a $77 credit on both accounts!

  • Wow, I didn’t know so many people do the same thing! Woot for us!

    @Michelle, thanks for the info!

    @Harri, I will have to keep Twitter in mind for next time.

    @krantcents, U-Verse doesn’t seem to offer contracts but I will make sure next time.

    @windyj, I think this should work for any type of company as long as you aren’t in a contract. Good luck!

    @Suba, good idea!

    @cashflowmantra, I promise I am not a machine or a conglomerate. It’s all me baby! Hopefully we can meet at a conference next year then. Enjoy your cruise!

  • I had a great experience with them as well when I figured out that over the course of the last year my bill went up by $23! They brought it back down to $115 for high speed internet and U200. Paul’s company reimburses us for internet, so that’s cool. Plus they sent me a free $20 Visa Gift Card! Woohoo!

  • Noah

    It’s even easier to chat with a customer rep over the internet.

    1. You can surf the internet or check email while they respond
    2. You don’t have the awkward feeling that you do over the phone
    3. You can literally use the same exact “script” every time if you have them email you the conversation after the fact

    I’ve done this every time Time Warner tries to raise the rate on our cable internet (we don’t have cable TV since everything is available over the web, especially if you know where to look). They will always give you the promotional rate if you ask. Our bill went from $53/month to $29.99/month and the speed remained the same.

  • We had Cox bundles service for phone, internet, and TV. We droppped the landline, and signed with DirecTV. We cut our bill almost in half.

  • Pam

    I do the same thing as you. I create reminders to let me know when I need to call our Internet provider again to ask them for another deal. I also make a point to ask them how their promotions work – to find out when I would be eligible for the next one. I don’t mind holding because I keep myself busy as well. When I am on the phone I am always doing dishes or some other task so the wait never deters me from making the call.

  • I like you describe how their service isn’t worth it, but I never thought to have a schedule like you do. I recently did this with Direct TV and got a discount for a year! It was awesome! I just have to make a note like you do to do this again!

  • You would be surprised the wonders the retention department can do when you push them hard enough. They will try to just give you free HBO X 3 months but refuse it. Say no! You want $40 off each month.

  • Moore

    Thanks for this post! I just lowered my internet bill from $38 to $23 for the next year!

  • I just wanted to confirm that I also call in regularly to get my rates lowered and normally it works. Century Link is our internet provider and we get a $30 a month discount. Recently, after 5 years of subscribing with Sprint for my cell phone services, they refused to give us a discount any longer. This actually ended up being a blessing in that we found it to be a perfect time to give our teens the responsibility of opening their own cell phone service in their own names and we supplemented them with a monthly payment. In the past it had been the opposite where they paid us a portion of their bill each month. We were experiencing a continual late payment from one teen especially and decided it was time they deal directly with their provider. My husband and I both switched to Cricket and now our bill is approx $65 a month with talk and text. Texting is an additional service that we did not have before and we are paying about the same now as we did before for just talk through Sprint. That was with a monthly discount that Sprint recently decided to deny us. Their loss turned out to be a huge gain for us.

  • I just got off the phone with my internet service provider and they lowered my bill by 15 dollars in about 20 seconds. Good tips thank you so much!

  • Time warner cable and verizon tell me every year they can’t match the new customer offers so I switch every year. They will then call 2 weeks after the switch and beg for me to come back but at that point it is to late cause it isn’t worth the hassle to switch twice in a month. Honestly switching is better for the budget as I’ve gotten awesome please come back offers one year later when it is time to switch again.

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