ABC News’ Paula Faris reports:
The Boston-area Seldon family are wired but stressed out because they’re paying nearly $2,500 a year for cable, phone and Internet.
“That number is a little horrifying,” mom Annemarie Seldon said. “I’m like, ‘Why? Why are we paying so much?’”
To add insult to injury, there are a bunch of cable channels that family doesn’t even watch. The Seldons, with daughters Sophia, 12, and Isabella, 9, say they have tried to take advantage of offers on television, to no avail.
“They told me that it’s only available to new customers,” dad Michael Seldon said. “So I said, ‘OK, I’ve been with you for 15 years but you’re not going to give it to me. You’re going to give it to someone else?’”
Joanna Stern, ABC News’ Technology Editor, said the family’s bill didn’t have to be sky high.
“They are paying a lot,” she said.
Stern suggested the following tips for the Seldons and they were able to find ways to save $1,005 a year:
1. Shop around every year for plans using websites like Yahoo’s Digital Quote. Plug in your Zip code and the site will tell you the rates of other providers in your area.
“Look at the competition, see what they offer and come back to them [current provider] and say, ‘I can get this here. What can you do for me?’” Stern said.
Michael Seldon made a quick call to several cable providers and with a few key phrases – “I’m calling to get some prices on a new service,” “I’m thinking of switching providers” and “I’m looking to try and save some money” – he was able to save the family $420 a year by signing up with a new company.
2. Don’t get charged monthly to rent DVRs, modems and routers.
“You are paying basically to lease a cable modem from this company,” Stern said. “You can buy it for less.”
She helped the Seldon family find one for sale online, slashing the family cable package deal by $120 a year.
3. Lower your Internet speed. Unless you’re streaming a lot of video, Stern said, you don’t need the highest speed. A simple switch can save close to $360 yearly.
4. Go back to basics with your landline. Cancel extra services including call waiting and caller ID because a growing number of people use cell phones. That move can save $105 a year.