In a recent infographic we outlined the surprising fact that Americans spend a lot of money on subscriptions and that a large chunk of this comes from media subscriptions such as TV and film packages. These things don’t seem to cost a lot on the surface, but when you have several of them taking money out of your account every month it all quickly adds up.

You can see this enlightening infographic here, but with that in mind we’re going to show you ways that you can reduce one of the biggest debts on that list: cable TV. If you have a soaring cable TV bill then this article can help you to reduce it and to save yourself a small fortune.

And it’s all legal!

Reduce Your TV Bill

1. Tweak Your Plan

Cable TV companies are fighting the streaming age. They can’t be seen charging high prices when cheap services like Netflix exist, so they use hidden fees and optional extras to increase their income instead. You could be paying $5 to $10 extra a month for services that you didn’t even know you were paying for.

Phone your cable company up and talk through your plan with them. Find out exactly what you are paying for and get rid of the things that you do not use, or think you could do without. If you threaten to leave then they may even reduce the cost of the things that you do use. This works more often than not, and if they don’t offer you anything and start going through the cancellation process, you can just hangup.

2. Drop Premium Packages

Take a look at all of the TV subscriptions that you have, including cable, NetFlix, Hulu, Amazon Prime, etc., Write it all down alongside the cost and the benefits, and then start getting rid of the ones that have too much of the former and not enough of the latter.

Do you really need HBO and Showtime, or are you paying up to $20 extra a month just for a single show? If so, then it could be time to get rid of it. You can’t justify spending $240 a year just to watch a single show, not when there is only 1 season a year. It’s much cheaper just to buy the boxset on DVD, or to pay to download it from iTunes!

It’s a similar story with the “Cheaper” packages. Don’t think that you have to keep Netflix just because it costs you $10 a month. That still adds up to $120 a year, and if you only use it to watch the occasional film then you’ve gone from a cheap service available for a throwaway fee, to spending over $100 to watch a couple films.

This “cost per season/film” is a good way of looking at your premium packages and determining if you’re getting value out of them or not.

Reduce Your Cable Bill

3. Lose the Antiques

Do you still have a DVD player or recorder? Do you have TVs that you don’t use? It’s time to sell up. There is no need for any of this when you consider that on-demand services make it easy to watch and re-watch all of the shows that are available.

You can put the money that you save towards something more useful. It’s important not to delay either, because this technology is already outdated and the longer you leave it, the more outdated it will become.

4. Reduce Your Package

In 2016 a report by Nielsen found that Americans have over 200 TV channels on average, but that they only watch an average of 20. That means that they are paying for 90% of the channels that they don’t even watch.

Most of these channels will be bundled in with services that they can’t get rid of, but some of them include premium channels and it’s worth reviewing these to see which ones you watch and which ones you can afford to lose. The biggest offenders are sports and premium movie channels, which we tend to watch in spurts and never get complete value from.

5. Manipulate Your Cable Package

We have already discussed how you can get a reduced price by dropping shows, services, and even threatening to quit, but there are other ways that you can manipulate your cable package to reduce the price. You just need to be a little proactive.

Sports channels are a good example. If you’re someone who only really watches football then by all means get the sports channels during football season, but make sure you remove them from your package for the rest of the year. If you have watched all good movies available in on-demand packages (streaming packages included) then you should also cancel for a short time.

Not only will you save yourself up to 50% on your subscription, but when you return you’ll find that there is an abundance of new content waiting for you. The more you watch, the more effective this technique will be.

Reduce Your Phone Bill

6. Get a Bundle

If your cable company also offers broadband and other services, as many of them do, then contact them to see if they can offer you cheaper rates when you bundle these services together. They want all of their customers to be using all of their services and they will do whatever it takes to make this happen.

You can even negotiate with them to bring those prices down further. You are a customer who has been loyal to one side of their business, and that makes you a valuable commodity that they want to appease.

7. Get Rid

The cheapest way to save money on your cable bill is to sever the lead completely and to go TV free. You can simply get rid of your cable package and stick with streaming services, which will save you a lot, or you can get rid of everything and stick to free services like Youtube.

This will do one of several things. Firstly, it will ensure that you have a wealth of content to view if you do return, secondly it will cause all those companies to clamber over themselves as they try and get your custom back, and finally it will give you a chance to catch up on some reading and work!