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Cable television can be an expensive line item on your monthly budget, especially if you’re looking at giving your finances a fresh start. You may be paying for a long list of channels when you only watch a handful, or maybe your promotional offer just expired and your rates flew up. But you don’t have to be stuck with such a monumental bill. Here are seven ways you can lower your cable TV bill.

1. Renegotiate Your Bill

Cable providers know you have many other TV options. As a result, they may be willing to negotiate a lower rate for services. You can call and ask about any current promotions or specials your cable provider is running. You can even hunt around for deals other providers are offering and ask them to match.

When you call your cable provider to renegotiate, you can suggest that you’re considering alternatives, which may result in a conversation with a customer retention specialist, who will do anything they can to keep you as a customer.

“Cable companies spend a lot of time and money making sure their valued customers stay with their service,” said Zoe Meeken, Technology and Money-Saving Specialist for Reviews.org. “They have special sales representatives who have valid offers that can be shared with customers on the verge of ‘cutting the cord’ for online streaming sites or switching over to another provider.”

2. Cut Premium Channels

Premium channels can add to your bill in a big way. You can cut costs by chopping those channels from your cable package. Of course, this is ideal for channels you don’t watch, but if you’re intent on cutting costs, you may have to make friends with another Game of Thrones lover who doesn’t mind company on Sunday nights.

3. Do Without the DVR

Many cable and network channels offer on-demand programming that lets you watch your favorite shows the day after they air. Switching your DVR cable box for a standard box with on-demand service might help shave a few bucks off your monthly bill.

4. Use Bundle Promotions

Many cable providers also offer internet and phone services and will give you a discount if you sign up for a bundle package.

“If you’re paying separately for your phone, internet and cable, it may be more cost-effective for you to bundle,” said Meeken. “Take some time to shop around for a complete package. There’s a decent chance you’ll end up with more for less.”

If you go this route, make sure you crunch the numbers before signing up for a bundle deal to make sure it really saves you money.

5. Find a Different Provider

You can always search around for a better deal with another cable provider. In many regions, there are more options than ever, from satellite service to more localized providers. Find out what’s available in your area and start comparing prices.

6. Switch to Streaming

Streaming services host a wide selection of original programming, popular TV shows and movies, often at a fraction of what you’ll pay for cable. Signing up for several of these services could result in a comparable cost, but sticking to one or two could dramatically lower your monthly TV bill.

7. Use a Digital Antenna

If all you really need is network television, you can get your local channels free using a digital antenna, which these days can provide HD quality programming. If you still need more options, you could supplement this with a streaming service or two.

Looking for other ideas on way to add funds to your bank account? Consider these nine ways to lower your monthly mortgage payment or even these ideas on how to earn extra income from your car without playing chauffeur.

Image: stocknroll

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