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How to Lower Your Cable Bill

In my article Retiring on just Social Security alone, I talked in general about setting up a budget between the folks doing the retiring. I stated that “You need to go through your budget one item at a time to decide which things you need and which things you want”.

These articles are not designed to as a “be all to end all”, but just alternatives in helping to keep your budget down. I’m a Senior myself, and I speak only about my Spouse and I.

In this article I’m going to talk a little more in depth about the Entertainment part of your budget, specifically the TV part of your Cable Bill and Satellite TV Bill, but in the reference of things you need to watch and which things you want to watch. I’ll also talk a little bit about your cell phone service.

Options about TV on the Internet won’t be talked about in this article but will certainly be in a later article.


Cable or Satellite TV

I don’t know about you, but Cable programming pricing is way out of line in our area. Do you really need all the cable channels and extras you’re paying for? This should depend on what you really need to watch vs. what you want to watch on TV.

Now if you’re not mobile and have to stay home, that’s a different story, but the basic premises can still apply.

What do you need to watch? Reality shows, like The Voice, American Idol, Survivor, etc.? If these are part of the need to watch, you’re already ahead of the game, because these shows are part of the “Over the air” shows that you don’t even need Cable to watch! At the very least you can get Basic cable and still enjoy these shows.

Basic cable only costs a fraction of what full programming costs and as Xfinity declares:

“Our Limited Basic package offers you a range of basic channels. These include:

  • Local broadcast stations (ABC, CBS, NBC, FOX, PBS, etc.)
  • Local government channels
  • Education channels

Our Expanded Basic package includes 30-50 channels.* These include:

  • Disney
  • ESPN
  • MTV
  • Fox News”

The average cable will vary according to what market you’re in, but it’s certainly worth calling your Cable or Satellite company and asking to compare the costs with you. From my experience, they’re more than happy to do so. To them, it’s better than losing a customer completely. You may even get some programming that’s great for you!

What do you want to watch? Is it sports, adult entertainment, documentaries? Talk to your Cable or Satellite provider about other programs you’d like to watch. If you are addicted to sports, try alternatives that are more affordable Usually segment-oriented TV programming costs a lot more than normal programming.

Call the local high school or college and find out the schedule for their games of whatever type. Schools play for the fun and honor of playing and not specifically for money. They’re fun to watch and you’ll probably meet some Grandmas and Grandpas there you don’t know yet. And they can be free, if not, low cost. If you get to talking to people at these events you’ll probably find out when the school plays, marching team competitions etc., are. These events can be enjoyable.

As you can see, it’s all about fitting things into your budget as you both see fit and can afford, so you can still be able to enjoy your “social life” on a budget.

A Cable TV alternative:

Totally over the air TV is just what it sounds like – free over the air programming, just like it used to be in the “old days”. I discuss this in the another article, Living Within Your Budget on Social Security – With Over-the-air TV


I’m finding that the biggest segment of new Smartphone users is Seniors – from Baby Boomers on up. Just a short mention about that in this article, ‘cause I’ve already talked a lot. One of the best buys for Smartphone service is Walmart – almost. It’s $40 per month. If you check into their contract though, you’ll find out that after a certain amount of web usage, the web access slows down – “throttling”.

There is another alternative called Solavei. It’s a little more expensive than Walmart, ($49 per month), or it can be for free. The choice is yours, To learn more about Solavei, click here.

by George Aughey

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