Get 5 tips for saving on cable and Internet costs

Illustration by Sam Dellinger

Illustration by Sam Dellinger

We’ve all heard the rumors. A second cousin who managed to finagle a premium cable television package for $45 a month.

A friend of a friend who got her unlimited, lightning-fast Internet connection for practically nothing.

But the reality looks different on your monthly bill.

Before you cut the cord, there are a few things to keep in mind, said Lee Gierczynski, a Verizon spokesperson.

Make a list of what services are most important to you. For example, if you’re addicted to watching your alma mater’s rugby team play on ESPNU, a premium cable subscription might be your best option.

But if all you want is the latest episode of “Walking Dead,” going Internet-only might work.

So what options are there for people who want cable and Internet, but don’t want to pay the high price tag?

Here are five ways to get you started

1. Go a la carte.
Why pay $100 a month, if all you really want is the latest season of “Mad Men”?

If you’re not committed to having 150 channels but can’t live without that new hit series, consider buying just the show.

Companies like Apple and Amazon will let you purchase television shows by the episode or season as they are aired on television.

2. Try an HD antenna.
Remember when you were a kid and bunny ears wrapped in tin foil perched on top of the TV?

The good news is that those broadcast channels are free and still available. The bad news is that it might take some legwork to make sure you have the right antenna to get the best signal.

Visit www.dtv.gov for more information.

3. Go Internet only.
Most people subscribe to home Internet access in addition to cable and phone.

With online subscription options like Netflix, HuluPlus and Amazon Instant Video, you can get most current television series and many older shows. Even if you subscribe to more than one, it will still be less expensive than cable.

4. Group the bills.
With Internet access, land lines, cellphones and television, your home is wired for communication.

But if you’re ordering these services from multiple providers, you’re probably paying more than you should, said Jennifer Bilotta, public relations manager for Comcast.

Most companies that used to provide just one service, like cable, are now a triple threat, offering landline, Internet and cable. And some mobile providers are branching out to offer Internet and television.

It is common for major providers to offer a cable, Internet, phone package for about $100 a month. Just be aware that the monthly charge might increase after your introductory offer.

5. Make the most of what you pay for.
These days, computers and television don’t have to stay at home. We can carry them around in our pockets or backpacks.

So, make yourself aware of all the mobile apps available from your cable or Internet providers.

Customers can download video or Wi-Fi apps, said Bilotta.

“If you’re on vacation, you can find a hot spot with the app and use the Internet you already paid for,” she said.

With Comcast’s video app, you can download movies ahead of time and take them with you, she said.

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