To Bundle or Not To Bundle: Home Services
Home services like TV, internet and phone can often be bundled to save money. But these bundles aren’t necessarily worth the cost. It depends on what you’ll use.
April 29, 2022
Home services providers and internet service providers (ISPs) are famous for “bundling” services together. Instead of just subscribing to an internet plan, providers encourage customers to subscribe to the internet, TV and home phone all in one.
These bundled services are almost always cheaper than their individual pieces. But are they actually a good deal?
And if so, who has the best TV and internet bundle?
The problem with bundles — will you actually use them?
It’s always attractive to score a great deal. And many bundles are, indeed, great deals. But a deal is only a good price if you will actually usethe services included in the bundle.
For example, you could sign up for an internet plan that’s bundled with 100+ channels, plus a home phone (landline) service. But if you prefer Netflix™ over cable, you’ll likely rarely use the TV you’re now paying for. On top of that, you may not even want a landline.
Service providers understand the psychology of deal seeking, so they make each bundle feel like too good a deal to pass up.
For example, here are package options that one regional provider offered recently:
Internet only: $65 per month
Internet + basic cable: $75 per month
Internet + premium cable: $85 per month
Internet + premium cable + home phone: $95 per month
With each upgrade you’re paying just $10 per month more and getting substantially more for your money. But again, if you don’t actually use the bundled services you’re paying for, you might just be wasting money.
Who has the best TV and internet bundle?
The best bundle deals for TV, internet and phone vary depending on your location.
Providers of these services are regional, meaning what’s available in Washington State might not be available in Texas.
With that said, some of the largest ISPs who tend to have the best deals include:
Xfinity™ (formerly Comcast)
You can search the internet to find the ISPs in your area, then do some price comparisons on their websites.
Many providers offer special deals for new customers, often with discounted rates for the first 12 to 24 months. After that initial period, the monthly bill often increases.
Keep in mind that you may be able to negotiate cable bills. This is particularly true after the initial promotional period has expired. If you find your bill has gone up, it’s worth calling your provider to ask for a better deal.
Average home services costs
To see if bundles in your area are a good value, it’s helpful to compare them to average costs. Here are the basics.
The nationwide average internet cost is $64 per month
The average cable-only bill ranges from $45 to $130 per month (varies significantly)
The average cable and internet bill (combined) is $116 per month
The nationwide average home phone (landline) cost is $42 per month
Note that costs can vary dramatically depending on location and the specific services provided. Basic internet will be much cheaper than high-speed fiber optic, while basic cable will be much cheaper than premium packages with 100+ channels.
Using these averages, we can see that bundling cable + internet is often a good deal (if you will use both services).
The average bill for internet (separately) is $64
The average bill for cable (separately) is $45 to $130
The average cable + internet bill combined is $116
That means that paying separately for both services would cost, on average, $109 to $194. Paying together would cost, on average, $116. This would suggest that it’s typically worthwhile to bundle internet and cable together.
Bundles vs. internet + streaming services
Asking who has the best TV and internet bundle is only relevant if you actually watch cable TV.
Increasingly, Americans are getting their entertainment from streaming services instead of cable TV.
In 2015, 76% of Americans reported watching cable TV. In 2021, that figure was only 56%.
When deciding whether to commit to a bundle or not, it’s worth considering the alternative: Building your own bundle with high-speed internet and various streaming services.
If you prefer streaming services like Netflix, Amazon Prime Video™ or Hulu™, you can simply find high-speed internet service in your area, then subscribe to the streaming services you enjoy the most.
One nice thing about this approach is that streaming services don’t have contracts. This means you can cancel them at any time (unlike cable, which often comes with a 12-month contract, sometimes longer).
Other bundles to consider
Are bundles just for cable and internet? ISPs are the most famous bundlers, but they’re not the only ones offering bundled services.
Home security companies may partner with ISPs to bundle internet, phone and cable with home alarm systems
Landscaping companies may offer bundles for yard maintenance, mowing, weeding, and other horticultural services
Cleaning companies may offer bundled home services, such as regular weekly cleaning plus seasonal deep cleaning
Insurance companies often offer multi-line discounts for bundling home insurance, car insurance or other lines of insurance
It’s worth exploring bundle options for any services that you pay for. However, it’s always important to weigh the pros and cons of bundles and to ensure that you’ll actually use all the services you get. You don’t want to be paying for services that you won’t actually use. And paying for unnecessary extras may overwhelm your budget and lead to unwanted debt.
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