As I mentioned in my guide to budgeting, most of us have recurring costs month over month that are hard to avoid. Things like rent or mortgage payments, parking, utilities, and more can really add up and take a serious chunk of change off our take home pay. Add to that things like cell phone and internet bills, and it can feel like there’s little left to actually enjoy.
But what if we could cut back on those regular expenses and save ourselves money month after month? Today we’ll cover how to save money on cable, internet, and phone bills to put more cash back in your pocket.
A Word on Bundling
One of the best ways to save on these services is to bundle them with the same provider. Many will offer greater discounts the more services you add, and the savings can really add up. Before going this route, be sure to evaluate your options and cost things out so that you’re not overpaying. For example, you may save $50 per month by bundling the services, but if you can save $60 per month on one service alone by using a different provider, bundling may not be worth it.
Now on to the other hacks!
How to Save Money on Cable
Switch to Netflix
For about five years, I didn’t had cable TV and I barely missed it! While I watched “TV” often enough, most of the time I wanted to watch shows on my own schedule or just have TV on in the background, neither requiring cable.
My main source of content was Netflix which I still use all the time. For $8.99/month, I get to watch as many of the TV shows and movies as I want, and I’ve discovered a lot of great shows – so many that I wrote an entire blog post about my my Netflix favourites! I’ll often put on shows for background noise too, which is nice when I’m cleaning, cleaning or baking.
Steam Shows Online
Depending on the show and network, you can sometimes watch TV shows the day after they air on the network’s websites. This is what I did for shows that were in season, and almost all of them could be watched this way for free. The only exception was Nashville which I watched on iTunes for only $2.99 per episode or $29.99 for the season (netting out to $1.36 per episode). This was still cheaper than getting cable!
How to Save Money on Internet
Use a Smaller Provider
For internet, I’ve found cost savings by using a smaller internet provider versus one of the later players. In Canada, these include TekSavvy (which I used and loved!), VMedia, and Primus. Find more about them in this helpful article from blogTO. I saved over $240 per year when I was with TekSavvy versus the Rogers equivalent plan.
If you live in the U.S., this article and handy comparison chart are worth a look.
Relook Your Plan
Take a look at your plan to see how much is included (speed and bandwidth) and how much you’re actually using. If there’s a discrepancy, consider switching plans to one that will better suit your needs. For example, if you’re overusing your plan and paying top-up fees, a larger plan may save you more money. And if you’re underusing your plan, you may be able to downgrade.
How to Save Money on Phone
Skip the Landline
If you don’t need a landline, don’t subscribe to the service. For the majority of the last decade, I didn’t have one and never missed it. Given my cell phone is with me wherever I am, I didn’t really have a need for a secondary line. I also liked the fact that I don’t ever worry about missing calls when not at home.
Take Advantage of Corporate Plans for your Cell Phone
If you work for a large company, look into their corporate discounts. You can often get these plans even if your phone is for personal use only. Even though I left my corporate job last year, I’m still on my old corporate mobile phone plan and it’s definitely cheaper than publicly available plans.
Use Prepaid Calling Cards
If long distance calls are costly with your provider, use a cheaper option like a prepaid calling card. I’ve been doing this for years and use Just Dial. While I believe they are only available in Canada, a quick Google search can provide options in your country. With Just Dial, you just sign up on their website, pre pay a given amount of your choosing, then dial the Just Dial activation number before each long distance call. Your account balance will naturally decline over time, but you’ll be notified at the start of each call how many minutes you have left based on your call destination. Another provide I would recommend is Call Zone – I used them for calls within Ontario before they were included in my plan.
Use Wifi Wherever Possible
My last hack for cheaper mobile phone bills is to use wifi wherever possible. This will lower your data usage and help you stay within your monthly allowance. Just keep your phone’s wifi connection on, and it will automatically detect hotspots near you wherever you are, so you can also conserve data when you’re out and about.
Those are my tips for saving money on your cable, internet, and phone bills. Looking for more money saving hacks? My post on 4 memberships you can share to easily save money has you covered!
Let me know below if you have any additional tips to offer. How else do you save on monthly expenses?