As much as you may love settling in to watch "The Americans" or "House of Cards" each week, you don't want to pay more money than you have to for your satellite TV subscription. Here are 12 easy ways to save money and make sure you're getting the most out of your subscription without having to resort to a TV antenna for local programming.
1. Ensure Proper Installation
You're not getting your money's worth out of your satellite TV subscription if you get a signal only half the time. Install your satellite dish so it has a clear line-of-sight to the southern sky, where it won't be obscured by trees or neighboring homes. If possible, opt for professional installation; a satellite TV installer will know how to properly mount your satellite dish in the best position for a clear signal and consistent service.
2. Keep the Satellite's Line-of-Sight Clear
Even after your dish is installed in the right position, snow or overgrown trees may obscure its line-of-sight in the future. Make sure to brush snow, fallen leaves, or other debris off your satellite dish promptly and trim back any trees that could interfere with its positioning relative to the southern sky.
3. Read Your Bill Each Month
Look over your satellite TV bill monthly. Are there any pay-per-view charges you don't recognize? Has your low introductory rate expired? Immediately report any charges that don't seem right. If you wait too long, your provider may not honor your claim.
4. Take Advantage of Loyalty Rewards
Your satellite TV provider may offer loyalty reward points for paying your bills on time, ordering movies on demand, or upgrading your service. Sometimes, you can cash in points for discounts on special events, use the points to pay for on-demand movies or TV shows, or get gift cards.
5. Refer Friends
Some satellite TV providers offer gift cards or statement credits when you refer friends to their service. Take advantage of your social media networks, or use old-fashioned word-of-mouth, to refer friends to your favorite satellite TV provider and get paid for watching TV — or at least for talking about it.
6. Take Your Connection With You On the Road
Your satellite TV provider may have an option that lets you carry your satellite TV programming with you anywhere for a monthly fee. Rather than using your smartphone data bandwidth to stream movies while you're vacationing, use the self-aiming portable satellite antenna to watch shows on the road, while camping, or in your own backyard.
7. Pick Your Channels and Packages Wisely
Think about the channels you watch regularly. Before you switch packages or providers, hold a family meeting to see what your family is willing to give up and what shows they don't want to live without. You might be surprised by their answers, which could result in a less expensive satellite TV package.
8. Consider Other Options
There are certain programs, including your favorite sporting events, which you may only be able to get through satellite TV. For anything else, there's Netflix, Hulu, or a host of other streaming television services. If you have a fast Internet connection, you might be able to reduce your satellite TV service to the bare essentials and watch the rest of your favorite shows online.
9. Bundle Services
Satellite TV providers often forge partnerships with Internet service providers, resulting in lower overall monthly rates if you bundle your Internet or Voice Over IP home phone service through your satellite TV provider. Purchasing a bundle may also result in hefty sign-up rewards, such as gift cards or low introductory rates for the first year.
10. Reduce the Number of Receivers or Boxes in Your Home
Although you'll save only a few dollars per month, the savings can add up over the year if you cut the number of receivers or DVRs on your satellite TV plan. How many TVs in your home do you use for satellite programming on a regular basis? If you tend to use bedroom, basement, or playroom TVs for video games, Blu-rays, or streaming Internet television, it doesn't make sense to pay for a receiver or DVR for that TV.
11. Shop Around for the Best Prices
Once you've assessed your family's needs and determined what channels you want and how many receivers and DVRs you require, shop around for the lowest prices. When you compare rates, take into account any additional taxes and fees. You might also factor in gift cards offered as a sign-on bonus, but be sure it's a gift card you'll actually use. Read the fine print carefully to find out your rate after the initial introductory discounts expire, but don't let that be a deciding factor. You can always cancel when the year is up or call to negotiate a lower price.
12. Be Ready to Haggle
Whether you're a first-time satellite TV subscriber or are negotiating a new rate, it's important to make a strong case. When you call your provider, be prepared with competitors' pricing for similar packages and your monthly budget for TV service in mind.
Insider tip: Ask to speak with the cancellations department, rather than customer service, to get the absolute lowest price your satellite TV provider can offer. Even if you are happy with your service, threatening to cancel because another provider offered you a lower rate can often get your current provider to reduce your bill substantially.
Get Ready to Save Money
Websites and blogs about saving money often point to lowering your TV bills as an easy way to reduce your monthly household budget. Whether you're looking for big savings or just want to make sure you're getting the best value, we hope these tips help.
How have you snagged a great deal for satellite TV? Please share in the comments section below.