Households in the U.S. spend an average of $109.60 per month on TV, according to a recent survey from the Leichtman Research Group (LRG).
If you’re paying anywhere near that, or more, it’s time to cut your cable bill. And while you’re at it, make 2020 the year you slash other monthly expenses from your budget as well.
In fact, a little bill trimming here and there could put an extra $1,000 in your pocket this year. The following tips will get you started.
1. Cable or satellite TV
Cable and satellite TV are becoming increasingly expensive at a time when the number of alternatives to traditional TV services is increasing. So, if you’re still paying for cable or satellite TV, consider cutting that cord.
Giving up TV entirely will take your costs down to $0. But if that’s not for you, consider one or both of these generally cheaper alternatives to cable and satellite TV:
- Over-the-air TV: You can watch digital broadcast TV for free if you have a digital antenna and broadcast TV stations are available in your area. (The Federal Communications Commission’s digital TV reception maps can help you with the latter.)
- Streaming TV: If you have a decent internet connection, you have the option to stream television, both on-demand content and live TV. And it’s not just Netflix: Streaming TV services like Hulu, Sling TV and Philo offer subscription plans that start at less than $25 a month. There are also free streaming services — see “13 Ways to Stream Movies and TV Shows for Free.”
If none of those options work for you, start by shopping around to see what other providers currently charge and trying to negotiate with your current provider. Third-party services like BillCutterz, Trim and Truebill will do the negotiating on your behalf if you don’t have the time or stress tolerance.
If shopping around and negotiating fail, check out “8 Ways to Cut Your Internet Costs Every Month” for more tips.
3. Cellphone service
Offers from cellphone providers are ever-changing, so shopping around and negotiating should be your first moves when trying to cut costs.
Fortunately, shopping around for cell service is easier than for internet service. Free online tools like Money Talks News’ “Compare Cell Phones & Plans” search tool effectively enable you to do one-stop comparison shopping.
For more options, check out our latest coverage of cellular deals and other savings tactics.
4. Credit monitoring
There’s no reason to pay a company every month to monitor your credit.
First, know that credit monitoring doesn’t prevent identity theft. It simply notifies you after the fact. As Money Talks News founder Stacy Johnson has put it:
“Monitoring your credit is marketed as if it’s a burglar alarm that keeps bad guys out. But what it more closely resembles is an alarm that’s tripped as the bad guys are leaving. By definition, credit monitoring can only monitor transactions that have already occurred. What you want is to prevent them from happening in the first place.”
Second, you can monitor your credit yourself. By law, you are entitled to a free copy of your credit report from each of the three major credit reporting companies — Equifax, Experian and TransUnion — every 12 months.
For additional peace of mind, you can add a fraud alert to or put a credit freeze on your file, although these options have drawbacks.
5. Anti-virus programs
There are plenty of well-rated anti-virus programs available for free — start with “The 9 Best Free Antivirus Programs for Windows and Mac.”
6. Cloud storage
Free cloud storage is also easy to find. Microsoft account holders have access to free options through Microsoft’s OneDrive service, while Google account holders have Google Drive. Then, you also have Dropbox, iCloud and MediaFire, and the list goes on and on.
7. Magazine subscriptions
There is no reason to pay anywhere near retail price for magazines these days.
For example, your library card likely gives you free access to print and even digital magazines, and Amazon Prime memberships come with free access to digital magazines through a perk called Prime Reading.
Even without a Prime membership, though, you can buy magazine subscriptions on Amazon for as little as $5 a year if you time the purchase right.
For more options check out “4 Ways to Read Magazines for Free or Cheap.”
8. Gym memberships
Last but not least, that gym membership you’ve been clinging to in the hope you really will begin working out any day now.
If you really want to belong to a gym, check out the free and low-cost options in “8 Ways to Save on a Gym Membership.”
Otherwise, consider simply investing a little money in a good pair of sneakers and maybe some basic home exercise equipment.
How have you cut back on your monthly subscription expenses? Tell us more about it in the comments or on our Facebook page.
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