CHICAGO -- Is your cable bill killing your bank account? You're not alone.
With some persistence, you could cut your cable bill by 30 percent. Brian Delaney, a budget expert, has some tips to help you save some cash.
In this example, Delaney worked with Laura and the Hammes family. They were paying $170 a month for cable and needed to cut costs.
Call your provider
Just call your provider and say: I want to pay less each month, says Delaney. Some cost cutting veterans say you should tell the cable company you actually want to cancel your service because your bills are too high. Either way, define your goal before you call.
The cable company may try to add additional services with lower upfront fees, but those services often require a contract. If your goal is to reduce costs, you need to stick to your plan.
Make sure you're talking to the right person
“The first person will try to persuade you a bit. If they can't, they'll transfer you to the retention department. Those people are trained and they have the flexibility and authorization to offer you sweeteners to get you to stay,” says Delaney.
When Laura called, she was transferred to the loyalty department. With a decision maker on the other end, it's time to convince them why you should be paying less.
Do your homework
Make sure you know the deals being offered by competitors. If the other company can offer similar services at a lower price, it's likely your provider will match -- or even beat -- that price.
After discussing competing offers and 20 minutes on the phone, Laura was able to reduce her cable bill by $30 a month without changing or adding anything to her current cable bundle.
YMMV (your mileage may vary)
Of course, there are no guarantees, but for any family drowning in bills, this may be a decent time to wheel and deal when cable bills can often spin out of control.
The Hammes family was able to save $30 a month, but if you have a current promotion with your provider the savings might be less. Just remember -- even if you can only save $5 a month, that's $60 a year back in your bank account!
Keep it friendly
If you're nice, they're more likely to be nice. It seems like common sense, but many people are angry when calling their cable provider. Remember you're talking to another person -- be nice!
Try chatting online
Some people say chatting online with a cable customer service agent is an even better way to go. If it doesn't work, you can always call.
Make sure you look at your bill and add up the monthly fees you're paying. If you have cable internet through your provider, you may be paying a "modem fee." You can opt to purchase a modem instead of renting a modem from the cable company. It's also good to know the fees you're paying when you ask for your monthly bill to be lowered.