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Consider These Hidden Costs Before You Cut Your Cable

Cable is one of those bills that is completely optional, yet many people have it. If you’ve been diligently trying to cut your household costs, get out of debt, or save more money every month, you’ve probably thought about canceling cable [1]. A market research group, The NDP Group, estimates that the average family will be paying $123 every single month for cable. That is $1,476 per year just to have cable. That may make you want to cut the cord, but before you go ahead and cancel [2], you might want to consider these hidden costs before you cancel.

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Consider These Hidden Costs Before You Cut Your Cable

  • Are you in a contract? If you’re already in a contract with your cable company, you may not simply be able to call and cancel your account. In your contract, you may have agreed to a cancellation fee to get out of your contract. Factor this into your decision to cancel cable.
  • Do you have a bundle package? Besides a cancellation fee, you may also have to deal with other costs of canceling cable. If you’re in a bundle package with your internet, home phone, or cell phone, these may increase. Find out what the new charge for these services will cost before you cancel your cable.
  • Have you factored in the cost of new technology? Many people plan on canceling cable and purchasing a device, such as Apple TV [3], Roku [4], Google Chromecast [5], or the new Amazon Fire TV Stick [6] that streams TV through your internet. Before you cut the cable cord, determine how much this device will cost as well as any installation, maintenance, and internet upgrades you’ll have to make.
  • Will your entertainment costs will go up? In an ideal situation, giving up cable will increase family game nights, physical activity outside, and reading along with other stimulating activity. However, if you think that going without TV is going to increase your entertainment costs, it might be better to hang onto it. If you’re a huge sports fan and now plan on constantly heading out to the sports bar to watch the game, it might not save you too much money. The same is true if you’re heading out to the pricey movie theater to check out movies.

Alternatives to Canceling Cable

Before you completely cancel, if the reasons above have swayed you, there are other alternatives to completely canceling. Try to lower your bill instead of completely canceling it. Call your provider to find out how you can save and lower your bill every month. Can you downgrade your services or cancel certain channels? Instead of completely canceling, maybe you can cancel additional services such as premium channels or a digital recording service. If your cable service provider has cable boxes, there’s a chance that you’re paying for each box separately. Consider downgrading and canceling any boxes you don’t need. The same is true for your DVR. You may be able to cancel the DVR on one or more of your boxes to save money.

What are reasons to give up cable? What are reasons to hang onto it? If you’ve given up cable to save money, tell us how it went and if it was worth it for you.

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