Lower Your Cable and Internet Bills Through Negotiation and Other Tricks

Many of us have been there, you sign up with a cable provider and you get a great price. Then one to two years later your bill doubles or even more. Here are some tips I’ve picked up over the years that you can put to work to save yourself money!

Don’t Rent Equipment from Your Provider

Did your ISP give you a cable modem or other equipment? You’re probably paying for it! In my specific situation my provider charges $5 a month for cable modem rental. I purchased a like new cable modem on Ebay for $90 in September of 2021. My return on investment is 18 months, or in other words, two months from now. After that it’s all savings in my pocket!

When buying a modem I highly recommend separating out the wireless router portion. WiFi technology evolves much more quickly than modem technology and you’ll find yourself replacing your WiFi router far more often than your modem. If you do buy a combo device and the WiFi becomes insufficient you can always just buy a new wireless router and connect it to the modem, and shut off the WiFi portion of the combo device (lowers interference issues).

Right-size Your Bandwidth

Everyone wants a fast connection, right? But you don’t want to burn money for no reason either. This is why it’s important to right-size your bandwidth. I know too many of my friends that are paying big bucks for a gigabit connection that they simply don’t need.

A general rule is that you need 5 mbp/s for every HD stream and 25 mbp/s for every 4K stream you want to do simultaneously.

The other number you need to look out for are data caps, especially if you do a lot of video streaming in your household. Data caps are a limit as to how much data you can download during your monthly billing cycle. ISP have very harsh punishments for going over data caps. My current ISP allows me to view my monthly data usage and I’ve found that most months I’m under 1 terabyte.

My household has three televisions, only one is 4K capable. That means our peak streaming needs are going to be around 35 mbp/s. That means I could survive easily on a 100 mbp/s connection, however, my provider has a 1 terabyte data cap at that level, which pushes me to 200 mbp/s service level with a 1.5 terabyte data cap. I still save a HUGE amount of money over my friends that get the gigabit connection that they most certainly do not need. My ISP charges over THREE TIMES as much as what I currently pay for a gigabit connection.

Cut Unneeded Services

Don’t use that home phone? Get rid of it!

Just hanging onto your home phone for the telephone number that you’ve had for 20 years? Get it over to Google Voice or another low-cost provider. With Google Voice you’ll be able to hang onto your old number and only pay a one-time fee of $20. There is no monthly charge for Google Voice. Google Voice only allows port-ins from a cellular service, so you do have to go through the intermediary step of getting your landline number ported over to a cellular service first, so this might be harder for the less adventurous.

Not using your cable video services? Cut them! Become a streaming only household. Carefully pick some streaming services to replace your cable video services. Rotate different streaming services in and out as you find them more useful\less useful. Share accounts with a friend and split the cost if the service will allow it. Just be sure to carefully monitor these services to make sure they’re worth paying for. You don’t want to end up paying more than a cable subscription.

My family shares streaming services with my parents. Netflix and the Disney Bundle (Disney+, Hulu, ESPN), and an Amazon Prime Membership. The means that my share of those services is Netflix $7.50 per month, Disney Bundle $6 per month, and Amazon Prime $5.80 per month. So my share for having all those services is only $19.30 a month, far less than cable video services. It’s also important to note that you don’t have to be able to watch everything. I love Red Wings games, but the cost to get the Bally Sports Network is simply too high. So instead I’ll take the dog on a walk or play a board game with the kids. Being able to watch all the things is NOT a requirement for life and your life might actually be better if you step away from the TV from time to time.

Know Your Deal/Contract

Every time you sign up for cable or Internet you should be taking lots of notes!

  • Date and time you called
  • Person you spoke to (representative number, operator ID, etc…)
  • The deal that was offered to you, speeds, all costs, etc…
  • When the deal is supposed to expire

I take all of this information and I store it in a calendar item for the day AFTER my deal is supposed to expire. I then monitor my bill every month to make sure it doesn’t change. If it does change you should immediately call and demand they honor the deal that you were promised. If the don’t honor it you can contact the state-level agency responsible for regulating utilities. This will often get in touch with local representatives from your ISP.

Negotiate a New Deal When Your Price Goes Up!

As I noted previously, I monitor my bill monthly and note in my calendar when my current deal expires. When my deal expires I don’t even wait to get the new, higher bill. I immediately call up my ISP and ask how much I’m paying and ask for promotional pricing. Here are some tricks I use when negotiating:

  • Come armed to the table with what they’re offering new customers and demand a similar deal
  • Don’t enter into a contract unless you love the pricing
  • Is the representative not giving you what you want? Then hang up and try again with another representative

When All Else Fails, Use a Negotiation Service!

(Disclosure: The company I work for and Rocket Money are both owned by Rocket Companies. I also own Rocket Companies stock. I don't receive any kind of bonus for recommending this company, but I am financially motivated through my employment and stock ownership.)

I tried multiple times to negotiate down my bill with my ISP. They were holding firm. None of my tricks were working. As a Rocket Money (formerly TrueBill) member I got an alert email saying my cable bill had gone up from $30 a month to $50 a month. The email also said that Rocket Money had a negotiation service that would negotiate my bill on my behalf.

The only catch is that you give some of the negotiated savings from the first year to Rocket Money. You actually get to choose a percentage between 30% and 60% to pay for the service. This is why I would recommend attempting to negotiate yourself first. However, I had given up on that so I didn’t mind letting Rocket Money have a try, I had nothing to lose. The result for me was my bill going from $50 a month to $35 a month, a savings of $180! I had to pay a fee of $54 for the service, so ultimately I saved $126. All for just pushing a couple of buttons. No changes to my service at all, just paying less for it.


Please feel free to discuss and add onto what I’ve done here. I’d love to hear how your finding savings. Does anyone have any good negotiation tips I don’t know about?

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