How I lowered my cable bill by $50 a month

I’ve been on something of subscription cancellation spree lately when it comes to my monthly bills.

Last week, I cancelled my gym membership — and it was so easy. I didn't even have to send a certified letter!

Then just yesterday, I cancelled a Netflix subscription that was still in its free trial period. I wanted to be sure I got out before they started billing me, so I marked it on my calendar as a to-do item!

Now, just today, I called Xfinity — the monopoly cable and Internet provider formerly known as Comcast — to downgrade my TV package and keep the savings going.

RELATED: The best live TV streaming plans and deals in 2018

Don’t let monthly subscriptions run (or ruin) your financial life

Downgrading your pay TV package doesn’t exactly fall under the category of canceling a subscription. But it can have the same effect by helping to keep more money in your pocket every month.

Waterstone Management Group recently released a highly publicized study that found the average American spends $237 per month on mobile service, pay TV and a variety of subscriptions to services like Netflix, Spotify, Match, Amazon Prime and more.

So I decided to figure out what I was paying for the monthly subscriptions in my life:

Service Monthly
Cell phone $40
TV & Internet $113.47
Netflix $7.99 (basic subscription going into effect August 9)
Gym membership $19
Total $180.46

I don’t find any value in Amazon Prime, so I don’t subscribe that. I don’t have a streaming music subscription of any kind. I don’t pay for cloud storage, beauty subscription boxes, premium dating apps, meal-kit services or digital newspaper subscriptions. Heck, I’m not even a Costco member!

So $180 for subscriptions was my starting point. I wanted to get that a lot lower.

As I mentioned, I cancelled Netflix before the free trial ended and gave my gym membership the boot. Those two moves added $27 back to my life each month.

But that $113 going to Xfinity (Comcast) really got my goat!

In my house, we don’t watch anything beyond two channels — one is a classic TV channel (think Laugh-In and I Love Lucy!) and the other is a PBS affiliate with DIY craft/arts/cooking/travel shows.

So when I noticed Xfinity had a “Limited Basic” package of channels that was two tiers below the package I currently have, I knew I had to downgrade and save some money. (I had already made my up mind not to downgrade my existing home Internet speed.)

I tried downgrading via online chat at the Xfinity website, but ended up being told I would have to call in. In just a few minutes on the phone, I dropped the price of my TV/Internet bundle down from $113.49 to $60.04 (including a $5/month discount for paperless billing, which I signed up for.)

So now my monthly subscription expenses look like this…

New monthly subscription expenses

Service Monthly
Cell phone $40
TV & Internet $60.04
Netflix N/A
Gym membership N/A
Total $100.04

That’s $80/month less than what I’d previously been paying.

Now, I know it's easy to stay put doing what you're already doing with the monthly subscriptions in your life. Until I read the Waterstone Management Group report about monthly subscription costs, I wanted to stay put doing what I was doing, too.

But I recently figured out the "Big Why" of my financial life. I want to pay off my mortgage in 36 months. And every extra dollar — or every extra $80 — helps me get closer to that goal.

My next move will be to take a closer look at Xfinity's $12/month mobile service that's only available to customers. I potentially have the opportunity to lower the forty bucks I pay now to Cricket Wireless down to just a dozen bucks.

Remember, as I once heard somebody say on The Clark Howard Show, “If your outflow exceeds your income, your upkeep will be your downfall!”

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