Activity Idea: Lower That Cable Bill!

Mar 22, 2016
Activity, Research, Teaching Strategies, Purchase Decisions, Current Events, Article, Parent Conversations


How about asking your students to bring in a cable/satellite TV bill from home and asking them to decipher it first and then develop strategies to save money? You will be introducing them to a world of product bundles, channel packages, regulatory recovery fees, equipment rentals, universal service fees…and there’s more! This activity also provides an opportunity for a conversation with a parent (a rare opportunity during the teenage years).

The good news is that Consumerist blog has a special section dedicated to dissecting line by line the bills of major cable/satellite providers including Verizon, Charter, DirectTV, Time Warner Cable and Comcast.

A few questions you might want to have your students answer:

  1. How long have you/your family been a subscriber to your cable/satellite provider?
  2. How does the price of your cable package compare to what they are currently offering new subscribers (a simple google search should yield current new subscriber offers)?
  3. Name at least three items on the bill that make it confusing/deceptive?
  4. Do cable companies charge ahead of time for cable programming or at the end of the month?
  5. What opportunities do you see to reduce you/your family’s bill?
    1. Here’s a Consumer Reports article to help you negotiate a better deal.

About the Author

Tim Ranzetta

Tim's saving habits started at seven when a neighbor with a broken hip gave him a dog walking job. Her recovery, which took almost a year, resulted in Tim getting to know the bank tellers quite well (and accumulating a savings account balance of over $300!). His recent entrepreneurial adventures have included driving a shredding truck, analyzing executive compensation packages for Fortune 500 companies and helping families make better college financing decisions. After volunteering in 2010 to create and teach a personal finance program at Eastside College Prep in East Palo Alto, Tim saw firsthand the impact of an engaging and activity-based curriculum, which inspired him to start a new non-profit, Next Gen Personal Finance.