How to cut your cable bill down to size

Every few months, the cable bill seems to grow a little bigger. A penny here. Ten cents there. Before you know it, it's topping $150. To help us tame that beast,'s CEO Peter Pham offers five tips in an interview with WalletPop:

Be realistic...
...about your needs. Does that guest room really need HDTV and DVR? All these little extras add up, warned Pham, sometimes adding $6 or more to each monthly bill.

Also don't be afraid to cancel that premium channel once you're done with it for the season. Re-up when your favorite show is back on. If you do that, you could be saving about $100 over the course of the year, he explained.

Drop that triple play

It sounds great: $99 for cable, high speed Internet and telephone. But if you're not a landline lover, but rather a mobile fan, then this is not the best deal for you.

Don't be seduced by the introduction

That promise of the first year being $29.99 sounds too good to be true, and it probably will be once those 12 months are up. So don't be afraid to ask what the bill is going to be once that offer expires. After all, it will take a bigger bite out of your wallet than you've budgeted.

The same goes for those promotions for premium channels such as HBO or Showtime. Cancel once the free period is up if you're not watching it.

Revisit your package

You may have signed up for the best deal when you moved in to your place two years ago, but chances are you can do better today. Competition is fierce, says Pham. In many markets, there are usually two satellite providers, one cable outfit and perhaps even a FIOS or FIOS-like competitor. And with each provider offering three to four packages, "There will absolutely be a way to save money," he said.

Pham recommended reassessing your cable package as often as every six months.

Get BillShrink to do your homework for you

Frankly, the site does all the research for you. It allows you to personalize your search down to the shows you can't live without. It then posts all the possible packages available at your address and breaks down the bill, from introductory offer to what it will cost you two years down the line and why.

Better yet -- the service, which launched last week, is free.
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