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When consumers create their budgets, they often include the cost of their cable subscriptions. However, with cable costs continuing to increase year over year, is this a cost that consumers can continue to pay?
Federal Communications Commission reports, cited in the New York Times, said that the cost of basic cable increased at double the rate of inflation over the last seventeen years and, for the twelve months ending January 1, 2013, the cost of basic cable quadrupled the rate of inflation, rising 6.5 percent in calendar year 2013, an increase of nearly two percent over the prior year.
With the rising cost of cable, some consumers want to cut the cord but can't bring themselves to part with their favorite shows. However, some budget adjustments coupled with these tips may make cable bills more manageable:
As cable providers increase the number of channels in packages, they might also bump up their cable prices. But some consumers might find that they do not watch all of these channels and would rather opt for smaller, cheaper packages. Although cable companies might advertise a certain price for their services, it might not be the lowest price offered. To get the cheapest TV service, consumers should research the packages listed on the cable providers' websites, looking for keywords like "basic cable" or "starter packages," according to Consumer Reports.
Consumers can also consider calling the cable company and requesting a better bundle that could include basic TV as well as Internet in the package.
Although this is one of the hardest things for consumers who have memorized the weekly TV schedules of their favorite shows, it could pay to cut off TV entirely. According to Fox Business, cable costs for typical consumer may exceed $120 per month. However, shutting down these services for five years could save consumers nearly $8,000 over this time, according to digital media firm PlayOn.
As an alternative to basic cable service, consumers can also choose to sign up for streaming services for TV shows and movies, which may be a cheaper subscription than monthly cable costs. Another alternative to lower costs is to reduce the number of channels in the cable subscription and to supplement that with streaming services.
However, consumers should keep an eye on the number and costs of these digital media subscriptions.
According to LearnVest, too many subscriptions is one unexpected money waster for budgets in 2015. When putting together a budget, consumers should tally up how much they pay for cable and digital media subscriptions and see whether they use these services enough to justify the cost. If they are not using these services frequently, then it might be time to end these subscriptions. Ending a monthly subscription streaming service is generally an easy way to reduce costs.
For more information on keeping a budget to keep track of cable expenses, visit Cash Central.