How to Cut Costs on Cable/internet and Cell Phone Bills?

Updated on April 17, 2010
C.F. asks from Fort Worth, TX
15 answers

Due to a decrease in income, I am tryin gto come up with ways to cut our expenses. We currently have a package with ATT U-verse for tv and internet service. In addition our cell phones (I-Phone) are also serviced with ATT.

How do I lower these costs. I have looked at the cell phone and did drop my rate plan but that is only $8 a month. I can't cancel the service and save ($60 due to data plan) because there is a cancellation penalty due to contract.

As for the U-Verse, I have looked at lower priced categories of service but it doesn't appear to be lower in cost.

The one thing about U-Verse that I really like is the DVR ability since I am busy alot in the evenings.

Does anyone have any great suggestions as how to lower these items?

I thank you in advance!

****EDIT: I left out the fact that we do not have a landline at our house as someone mentioned in one of the responses all we ever got were telemarketers****

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So What Happened?

Thank you guys for all the wonderful advice. I am going to contact AT&T and talk to them about the cable/internet package and how they can help lower costs. As for the I-Phone, I have already lowered the minutes as much as I possibly can and I do have the family plan so I guess I will give it another month and see how it goes. Thanks again for all the responses!

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answers from Dallas on

I have almost the same setup as you: ATT Uverse for TV and Internet and ATT for cell with iPhone. For ATT Uverse, I only have the 100 channels (Family plan), no DVR and I just dropped one of the receivers in a bedroom (saving another $7/month). We don't watch much TV anyway, don't need to record anything because of that either. We spend time together, doing educational things, reading, games, activities, etc. For Internet, we don't download anything big, so a lower speed is fine. For cell phone, we just have the 350 min. package with 5000 on w/e's (plus the data plan) and that is plenty since we mostly call family and friends that are on ATT as well, so it's free. There are free text apps out there, so you shouldn't need to pay additional for text (use Yahoo - it's free or email). I hope this helps.

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answers from Detroit on

I know that my response is probably odd but, have you ever considered getting rid of your cable completly? We got rid of our cable a while ago, and yes it sounds barbaric, but its great. We can rent a movie or the kids and get a movie, we aren't vegging out in front of it anymore and we are spending more time doing productive things. I don't think your teenagers will like it but they will adjust. There is so much garbage on the tv these days, when I watch it know I am shocked. Also you can watch things online from ABC, NBC, FOX, CBS, and my husband can watch sports online as well, so if there is a show that you love then you can watch the whole episode for free online, you just have to wait a day so if its on Wednesday nights you can watch it Thursday.
As far as the cell phones because of those stupid fees it might be worth it to keep it, or call and see if you can downgrade to a lesser plan. My husband and I got the cheapest land line from ATT and then we use Google Voice and it allows us to call anywhere in the US for free we get voicemail, texting, and you can screen your calls, its on your computer so you can read your voicemail. Its really awesome and its totally free. We give out the google voice number to everyone so that way if we get a call that doesn't have the google voice prompt we hang up cause we dont want to talk to anyone who doesn't have the google voice number. We have prepaid phones for emergencies only. I know that with a teenager I would want to be able to call them when ever I wanted so that might not be a good option for you
I hope this helps....

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Washington DC on

Have you checked the ATT website to see if there are any bundling specials going on? I've had a bundle package with my cable for a year. I just checked and they have a special going on that's $20 cheaper. I called and they said sure!

Do you have any bonus channels like HBO or Shotime that are extra on the bill? You could cancel those without a penalty.


answers from Austin on

Here's what works for us: U-verse for TV and internet, landline phone(actually VOIP through lingo), and pre-paid type cell phones.
We tried cable and satellite, then when we got a nicer HDTV we switched to U-verse and my husband loves it so much he's willing to pay the higher price.
For phones, we signed up for the Do Not Call list which cuts out most telemarketing except charities. My husband found a website that sells older cell phones with prepaid minutes for as little as $10. When possible, we ask the companies to turn off the voicemail and text on the phones to save minutes, and we don't answer the cell phones at home. If we see a call coming in, we call back on the regular phone. With the lingo phone service(similar to vonage) it works through the internet connection and we got a cheaper rate by asking for a smaller number of minutes per month. Most of the time we're just calling each other.....



answers from Dallas on

I have cut our expenses as well. We got rid of our landline too since we all have a cell phone. We have had satallite service for years and even checked out U-Verse, but it does cost more than what we currently have, which is DirecTV and it would not have benefited us at all. We have an HD TV and the HD/DVR service w/ around 200 channels and only pay $93/mo. You may want to check out ATT's DSL internet with NO home phone. I think it runs about $25-35/mo depending on the speed, but they probably have specials for new customers. We actually have a neighbor that allows us to share her internet thru the wireless connection (until we move). Then on the other side, think about how bad to you need to cut your expenses. Do you need to cut out the cable/internet all together? My husband will not go without the TV, so I tried to cut as much as I could everywhere else. I also monitor how much electricity we use as well during the winter. I can't even remember the last time I turned on the heat (I think before the last freeze we had), but our apartment is pretty well insulated, so we weren't freezing.

Good luck in what you decide and I hope it works for you :)



answers from Daytona Beach on

i've looked at the att uverse. it's expensive for the service. it's like $7 per room, so if you have it in any other room besides the main living area you could cut those out. they also have a pretty cheap family plan that you could go down to. i believe they have a cxl fee, so i don't know if that's an option for you. if you don't need highspeed internet you could do this (it's what i was thinking about) get basic home phone service with no added features (abt $22/mo)go to family plan ($30?/mo) and get the cheapest internet ($14/mo) then go to prepaid cells even tho they have a cxl fee. or keep the cells and nix the home phn and go to the lowest high speed. i was going to save about $60 to $70 a mo doing this.


i've looked at the att uverse. it's expensive for the service. it's like $7 per room, so if you have it in any other room besides the main living area you could cut those out. they also have a pretty cheap family plan that you could go down to. i believe they have a cxl fee, so i don't know if that's an option for you. if you don't need highspeed internet you could do this (it's what i was thinking about) get basic home phone service with no added features (abt $22/mo)go to family plan ($30?/mo) and get the cheapest internet ($14/mo) then go to prepaid cells even tho they have a cxl fee. or keep the cells and nix the home phn and go to the lowest high speed. i was going to save about $60 to $70 a mo doing this.



answers from Tyler on

I cut the cost of our cell phones, over $60 on mine and even more on my husband's(he's on a different plan due to his work), by blocking the texting. Teens just don't have restraints and even though the companies advertise an "unlimited texting," you still pay fees for incoming and outgoing texts. There are all sorts of hidden costs in each add-on feature, so examine closely what you are paying for and see where you can trim. Also, be sure you aren't paying for more minutes than you average. When I saw I was using only 2/3 of the minutes I was paying for, I chose a plan that fit that amount. I saved another $60. Like you, our income has dropped---just as it did last year. I don't notice anything dropping in price at the grocery store, though.



answers from Miami on

I have to agree - cut the cable. As far as internet, you can find some really great landline packages with companies if you don't mind reduce uploading/downloading speed. As cell phones go, prepaid is def the best way to save money. I just moved out on my own and the first thing I did was research a dependable and affordable prepaid company and went with Net10. The savings, month to month, are huge for me since I am saving more than $65 a month with Net10 that translates to nearly $800 a year. For a family, the savings are potentially much more and since Net10 is on the dependable TMobile network, it could maybe take the place of a landline. I really wasn't much of a cell talker so Net10's limited minutes but high savings really worked me - not so for everyone.



answers from Detroit on

Drop the cable.
We havn't had cable in 8 years. With an internet connection you can watch ANYTHING that is on tv thru the channels web site or other web sites like Hulu for FREE... And that also cuts out the DVR since you don't have to record it... Its just there all the time.

Look at the phone and cell thing logically. Yes, you will have a penalty for dropping certain costs on the cell. But after taking that ONE penalty you then free up the $ your not paying on it.

If you really want to save $ then turn off the cells and get a prepaid plan. Then use it as an emergency ONLY phone. I have an ATT go phone. $3.- a day for unlimited calls ON THE DAYS I USE IT... Or turn off the house phone and use the cell as your main line...

Really the only way the major companies will allow you to "save" money is to turn it off.
We go without internet for about a month once a year so we can qualify for the "newest and best" deals for the rest of the year. :-)



answers from Minneapolis on

I am not sure about U-verse, but I know we saved about $140 a month by downgrading our internet and cable services. We dropped from high-speed internet to what they call 'economy' internet. We don't download movies or music or anything, so the economy internet is perfect for us. We also when from 'standard cable' to 'basic cable' and it works for us. Like I said, we saved about $140 a month by these two changes.



answers from Augusta on

Drop your home phone servce.
All the calls we ever got on our home phone was calls from bill collectors or telemarketers.



answers from Dallas on

We haven't had cable for over eight years now. Thanks to the internet and all the online television websites we don't miss it at all. We hooked up a laptop to the television. We save money. And our kids are limited to network tv, so they are less tempted to veg out on television all day. My husband and I can watch things whenever we want online. We might have to wait until a day after it airs, but we have always been able to keep up on cable shows we have interest in.



answers from Austin on

I would drop the cable and home phone service. You don't really "need" cable if you are struggling financially.



answers from Sacramento on

I know you didnt ask about this, but have you compared car insurance rates? we saved a ton switching ins. companys.


answers from Dallas on

IF you call ATT uverse and let them know you need to lower your plan so you dont have to cut off your service they will get you a better rate. I was paying $89 for U450 over 600 channels all movie channels, the highest internet (5 diff speeds) and then the phone. I was not paying for extra boxes either. But I just dropped the phone service because I didn't need and they are only charging me $60!!!! For the other two.. And I have 3 recievers... Just call and let them know. I have a Iphone and I know what you mean. I have only 450 min and pay $102 a mo since texting and internet. But I text over 5000 a mo so I dont have to use my min as much. I dropped down from the 900 plan. Are you on a family plan.. .That saves $ ALso sign up for the circle of friends you would get 10 numbers that are not att that you can call and not count towards minutes.

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