[-- Read Time: 2 mins --]

Cable prices are starting to get out of hand.  The average bill is around $100 per month and continuing to rise.  Even if the rate only jumps a small percentage, eventually those increases can start to hurt your wallet.  Luckily, there are things you can do to tame the bill.  Here are 5 tips that can help.

Comparison shop and switch providers if necessary

Depending on where you live, your cable provider may not be the only one in town.  Pick 3 competitors and see what they have to offer.  Pay special attention to what you’ll be getting for the price.  There’s no sense in going somewhere cheaper if the package doesn’t include the channels you want.  Once you have the information handy, call your current provider.  Let them know that one of their competitors is offering a more affordable deal and you’re considering jumping ship.  They may be willing to work with you because they don’t want to lose a good customer.  If they’re not willing to budge, say goodbye and make the switch.

Eliminate the channels you don’t watch

Do you really watch all the channels on your plan?  For most people, the answer is no, not even close.  A Nielsen study revealed that although people have 200+ channels, they only watch around 20.  Spend the next week analyzing the TV habits of you and your family members and eliminate the premium channels you don’t watch.

Ditch the DVR

DVRs come in handy when there are multiple shows you’re interested in but they’re all airing at the same time.  Instead of flipping back and forth, you can watch one live and record the other for later.  Although DVRs are convenient, it comes with an additional fee.  If you’re one of those people who has a TV in every room, the cost can really add up.  A simple solution is to swap the DVR for a regular cable box.  You can also cut corners by keeping the box in the living room but turning in the rest.

Bundle your cable and internet

Are you paying separate bills for your cable and internet?  If so, you can save money by bundling your services.  The exact discount will vary by company, but you can usually save around $10 per month.  In addition to a lower monthly bill, many companies also throw in special incentives.  For instance, you may get faster internet, a free DVR or free installation.

Switch to a streaming service

With so many options for watching your favorite shows and movies, cable isn’t a necessity.  Cut the cord and get a digital antenna or subscribe to a streaming service instead.  Hulu and Netflix offer tons of content and cost less than 10 bucks a month.  Some lesser known services like Sony Crackle, Tubi and PlutoTV even let you stream for free.  That’s right F-R-E-E.  The downside is they don’t have the latest releases and you’ll be forced to sit through ads.  You can’t really complain though because you’re not paying anything.