Sick of paying $200 a month on cable and internet? There are ways to save without dropping your favorite premium channels or sacrificing internet speed!

Last year alone, Americans spent 31 billion hours watching sports on TV — a 40% increase from a decade ago. With this rise in viewership, most cable providers are increasing their monthly costs as well.

Why? Mostly due to programming costs sky-rocketing across the board.

Most cable TV and internet providers have announced modest price hikes in both 2016 and 2017. But for a handful of companies, there are also add-on charges, such as “broadcast TV fees” and “regional sports fees” that are further inflating your cable bill each month. Possibly without you even knowing!

According a recent report by the Federal Communications Commission, TV providers are adding the fees to cover rising costs while holding down the prices they promote in their advertising. And according to some analyst estimates, these costs have climbed up to 10 percent over each of the past four years!

If you are a Comcast customer, the add-ons for many total $13 a month, which represents a hefty 50 percent increase from last year.

How to Escape These Costs

The simple solution that many people fail to do? Threaten to leave their cable company.

By simply calling your provider and asking to be disconnected will force them to lower their prices drastically (or do whatever it takes) to keep you as a customer.

Many customers have not only gotten their bills cut in half, but they have gotten extra channels and perks thrown in, too!

Next? Comparison shop. Competition has risen drastically in past years meaning lower rates for higher internet speeds and more of your favorite channels from alternative companies.

Most people see the big-box cable company ads and assume those are the only options.

But the truth is that there are smaller companies that offer much better deals in order to compete with large cable companies.

But the best deals won’t be found in direct mail ads or through TV commercials. Those deals are offered to the masses in order to get potential customers hooked. They use lost leader marketing methods by offering a free trial or your first payment at half price.

This method initially creates very little revenue and they try to make up for it later by increasing your bill to unaffordable amounts.

Do not fall for this!

They start as great deals but they do not last. Some will even lock you into a 2-year contract with high cancellation fees that will force you to continue use.

Where to Look

There is no quick way to get the best deal, but you simply have to know where to look. You must explore the smaller name companies that don’t tack on additional charges. Layer3 TV, Cablevision, and Suddenlink are three popular options that, rather than upping your bill, decrease package prices when there are increases in add-ons. But each area has different cable company offerings so you must do your research!

Do the smart thing and start a search today.