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Budget Fitness Boot Camp

This is a perfect time to get serious about saving money on your monthly bills. Why? Because the wonderful folks over at The Motley Fool are having their  Fiscal Fitness Boot Camp is in session! Every weekday throughout January ,they are offering a fresh money-saving/money-making task that could save save you money every month.

One such task is  call your cable company and ask for a break on your bill.

 And to help us "nervous- nellies" (I'm talking about me....not you!), there is a 'step by step' game plan given (Thank-you, Motley Fool!!)

  1. Head to competitors' websites to price out current rates or compare packages and availability in your area at Look for signup specials as well as rates for plans that are similar to yours.
  2. Get into "Concerned Customer Mode." (Put on a suit jacket and your "I mean business" shoes if it'll help you get into character.)
  3. When you get a live human on the line, explain (politely!) that you feel your bill is higher than you'd like. Share the details of the various plans you priced out while doing your research. Ask if they can match it, or if there are any special offers -- perhaps for new customers -- that they can extend to you. If not, inquire about ultra-cheap rate plans.
  4. If there's not a lot of competition in your area, let the rep know that you're serious about cutting your service back to just the basics. "They may find a good deal for you after all," Ellen says.
  5. Write down any offer you're given and its expiration date, then make sure you monitor your bill for price increases. When your promotional rate expires (or if your bill goes up for other reasons), call again, repeat your spiel, and ask them to help you find places to save.
Now of course while nothing can be guaranteed, the motley fool drill sergeant for this particular task is Ellen Bowman ( TMFKabellen ), who says that  she has rung up discounts with Comcast every three to six months over a two-year stretch. "Your mileage will vary depending on the customer-service rep you get, your particular provider, and the phases of the moon," she says, "but I've always been able to reduce my bill somewhat just by asking."

So go on. What do you have to lose by trying anyway? And you stand to gain some extra savings every month if you succeed!  Plus, with sites like and many network station websites showing episodes after they air on TV, you might want to go radical here and save big by cutting cable altogether.

For some inspiration, visit the couple over at They have been  posting about their experience of life without cable for the past year. After calculating that they spent $2,000 a year to watch TV, they went cable-less and now watch their favorite shows with a combination of free HD broadcast TV and the Internet. Check out their current setup and see if there are free or lower-cost ways to watch your guilty pleasures with the showfinder tool . 


Dan Robinson said…
My wife and I made the decision to cut our premium channels and keep basic cable with internet service. We are saving $100 a month and can't believe we didn't do it sooner! I watch sports on ESPN via my Xbox 360 and the kids can watch their favorite shows on PBS and Netflix. You can even leverage podcasts to create your own personal network of shows that you can stream to your TV!

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